As part of its expansion into the $74 billion small commercial market, The St. Paul Companies (St. Paul) has internally developed SPCXpress, an online tool that enables contracted brokers and agents to qualify, price, issue and endorse policies over the Internet. According to Charlie Coon, SPCXpress' creator and assistant vice president, information technology, The St. Paul Companies, the decision-making process is accelerated because third-party partner information populates the tool's information fields with data such as telephone numbers and addresses. The carrier has developed these third-party relationships with Dun & Bradstreet (Short Hills, NJ) and Choicepoint (Alpharetta, GA).
The Java-based system, which utilizes ACORD's (Pearl River, NY) XML standards, was built utilizing an N-tiered Web platform, explains Coon, who demonstrated the system at an unveiling event for New York City-area agents and brokers in March. The new system, says Coon, will cut what was once a three- or four-day process down to one day.
Coon-who contends that very few of The St. Paul's competitors offer a quote-to-issue platform for commercial lines--decided to build the system in-house because "while there are many good solutions commercially available, none had exactly what we were looking for." Adds Coon, "The St. Paul needed a smart system that was easy to use, and integrated with our billing, inquiry and financial systems."
The process of building the system took six months of programming effort, reports Coon, "but the real effort was working with agents in the design process, and every step of the way we got it right."