In an effort to hone its competitive edge by processing policy documents for agents in real time, Alberta, Canada-based Western Life Assurance Company ($57 million in assets), a subsidiary of Western Financial Group (Winnipeg, Manitoba) is using MFX's (Parsippany, N.J.) Web-based policy writing platform WriteNow on an outsourced basis for the carrier's suite of @pprove online, term life products.
"This is an effective way of handling the life insurance application process that was previously slow and expensive," explains Bruce Ratzlaff, president and CEO of Western Life Assurance.
Western Life Assurance's prior application process was completely manual and paper-based in late 2000. Western Life Assurance, then the Federated Life Insurance Company of Canada, began the search for an end-to-end policy platform that would allow agents to qualify, rate, quote, bind and deliver policy documents in real time. Since Federated Life Insurance Company was a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, Ratzlaff chose MFX, also a Fairfax Financial Holding subsidiary and service provider.
"We felt this would help us gain a competitive advantage," explains Ratzlaff. "We are focused on e-commerce and with MFX we are scalable to produce 10 times more through our captive channels."
In late 2000 MFX implemented WriteNow, a Web-based Java application developed with a service-oriented architecture on behalf of Western Life Assurance. WriteNow interfaces with the carrier's UNIX server and a proprietary policy administration system.
"Agents can log onto the system via the Internet and are able to accept an application, quote, bind, collect premium and underwrite it in six to 10 minutes instead of 14 business days," says Ratzlaff.
Federated Life went live with MFX's WriteNow in 2002 and when Western Financial Group acquired the carrier in 2004 (and changed Federated's name to Western Life Assurance); executives decided the benefits were extensive enough to sustain the relationship with MFX.
"It has reduced our handling costs by 70 percent and has opened up the independent managing general agent life channels that we could not previously support," says Ratzlaff. (The carrier will continue using the product indefinitely.)