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Plymouth Rock To Release Direct Sales Application for Agents' Sites

The Online Policy Purchase Tool will be incorporated into the auto carrier's corporate site, but will also be made available to its stable of independent agents so that they can add direct sales capability to their homepages.

Plymouth Rock Assurance, a Boston-based P&C carrier writing business in Massachusetts and Connecticut, prides itself on its agent-centric distribution tradition. Searching for a way to answer increased competition in its market while keeping that tradition alive, the company is launching on March 31 the Online Policy Purchase Tool, an application both for its own website and for its agents' sites that allows customers to quote and bind auto policies.

The new capability follows last year's revamp of Plymouth Rock's homepage,, and the company's Agent Web agent portal. Consumers enter the standard data required to receive an auto policy, and the application interfaces with applicable motor vehicle bureaus to come up with a quote. If done on Plymouth Rock's own site, an agent is assigned to close the deal; however, the company is in pilot with several independent agencies that have the tool integrated as an application on their own sites. That particular agent is notified through Agent Web of sales done on its site through the new application.

"Some companies are putting quoting functionality out there for agent websites, but that alone isn't good enough," says Plymouth Rock CMO Keith Jensen. "We think there's a space to play for consumers who want to work online but also work with an agent. There is zero intention to sell directly."

With national players moving in, Plymouth Rock wants to emphasize its local focus, Jensen adds. It also wants to respond to agents who want to learn how to make their businesses more attractive to a modern, online-savvy consumer.

"We want to combine the power and ease of the internet with the local advice and expertise of an independent agency company," he explains. "Most companies are viewed as one or the other, not both.

"Agents also see the trend of continuing increase in internet shopping and social in particular," he continues. "They know they should be playing in that arena, but don't know how to begin."

To that end, Plymouth Rock is also working with its agents to help them use social media to drive traffic to their sites and to the online sales tool, and to keep in touch with policyholders after the relationship begins. The carrier is also continuing an emerging technology strategy that ensures access to the new tool through smartphone and tablet web browsers, and is evaluating whether or not it wants to expand the quoting capability to its existing app so that it can reach out to its preferred audience.

"Overall we view this as complementary to our mobile app," Jensen says. "Because we're much more segmented in terms of mileage, we think someone on a train is a really good target customer for us."

However, the company knows that in order for it to offer the value it is hoping to give its agents, the tool has to do its job well.

"Whether it's quotes, sales or endorsements, the system needs to be accurate and speedy," Jensen says. "We're really trying to take that next step beyond in terms of helping agents succeed."

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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