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ICW to Launch Improved Web 2.0 Agent New Business Platform

Enhancements to ICW Group's SNAP Web-based workers comp distributor platform include straight through processing for small workers' comp and improved interactive features.

San Diego-based ICW Group ($389 million in gross written premium) is building on a successful launch of its SNAP workers' compensation agent new business tool with a Sept. 26 launch of an enhanced version of the platform. Improvements to the Web-based tool, which enables distributors to automatically upload from their agency management systems, will include straight-through processing of small commercial business on a non-exception basis.

The SNAP platform went live in pilot with two agencies in Sept. 2007 and internally to all ICW underwriting staff in Nov. 2007. The platform enables push-button upload from Applied and AMS agency management systems and serves as a collaboration platform through which agents/brokers can interact with ICW's underwriters, including through real-time text messaging. The platform was created as the result of a co-development proposal by underwriting management systems vendor FirstBest Systems (Lexington, Mass.), according to David Hoppen, chief operating officer, ICW. SNAP, which the carrier describes as a Web 2.0 application, is built with Java server technology on the back end, Adobe Flex on the front end and runs on a MySQL database. The platform incorporates ICW's predictive analytics, including new technology from Denver-based Valen Technologies.

SNAP's provides a level of automation otherwise unavailable in the commercial insurance space, according to David Hoppen, chief operating officer, ICW Group. "With SNAP, we have the ability to populate approximately 60 to 70 percent of the information we need to process a workers' compensation application with the touch of a button," Hoppen comments. "That kind of time savings, from an agency's perspective, has to be worth money."

Enhancements available on the 1.2 version of SNAP include a homepage that displays detailed information about a distributor's book of business with ICW; the ability to print an application in standard ACORD format; a pre-qualification tool that provides agents and brokers with information on ICW's risk appetite; the ability to reassign an application to another individual within the agency or brokerage; and straight-through processing of small workers' compensation, a line of business ICW has not been known for in the past.

"SNAP will provide all the same capabilities for small workers' comp, except that this will be non-exception based underwriting," Hoppen explains. "When an agent is looking to place, say a $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 piece of business, it will either hit our sweet spot or not, and we're not going to waste either the agent's time or ours."

Hoppen says that version 1.2 will also speed the renewal of existing workers' compensation business. "We just take the information from the expiring policy, populate a new template within SNAP and put it through our rating algorithm with the new loss and payroll information," he says. "We estimate that it will shorten that process by 150 man hours per week."

ICW will accept applications for its earthquake line of business on the SNAP platform in the first quarter of 2009. "We are leveraging this technology to our other lines of business because we believe that this is a truly compelling platform from an ease-of-use perspective," Hoppen says.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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