Aiming to promote cross-selling and increase agent productivity, Safeco (Seattle, $35.8 billion in assets) has launched an online sales platform that enables producers to quote and bind personal and small commercial insurance products, including personal auto, homeowners, business owners policy, commercial auto, workers' compensation and business umbrella coverage. The newly launched Web site, branded Safeco Now (www.safeconow.com), replaces the underwriter's former agent Web site -- www.safecoplaza.com -- with cleaner navigational tools, according to Anne Randall, vice president of automation for personal lines, Safeco.
The newly launched platform leverages Safeco's ESP -- an XML-based system that speeds the underwriting process and allows producers to quote and issue policies online in minutes, claims the carrier. "We saw how well ESP was at increasing sales, which jumped by a sizeable amount," subsequent to its initial implementation in January 2003, relates Randall. Up until this point, ESP has only been used with commercial coverage. For the first time, on Safeco Now, the carrier is incorporating personal coverage with small commercial insurance products on the single ESP platform.
"Safeco Now was designed with a combination of immediacy and ease of use in mind," says Randall. "It's a streamlined workplace where we've introduced personal lines endorsement capabilities [to small commercial lines endorsement capabilities]." Through incorporation of the two product types, Safeco hopes to promote cross-selling opportunities.
"Not only are the products in one place, but if a producer enters [policyholder] information for one product, we can carry that over so that it populates fields for additional products at the same time," explains Randall. "If there is less duplication, producers are more willing to quote multiple products."
Additionally, in order to simplify the quoting and binding processes, Safeco has integrated third-party information sources with its new site. "We are broadly engaging comparative rating engines," explains Randall. Although the site currently draws from these engines for personal lines only, integration of similar commercial lines capabilities are currently in the works.
More than 650 independent agents and brokers played a part in designing Safeco Now. The producers conveyed their interest in a site on which multiple products are presented in a single environment. They also expressed interest in the ability to maneuver simply and immediately, says Randall.