Looking to update its cost estimator platform while it builds new business quoting software, Civil Service Employees (CSE) Insurance Group ($126.1 million in gross written premium) selected ISO HomeValue to help agents estimate the costs to re-build a property in the event of a total loss."We expected to modernize the replacement [cost estimator] software along with the quoting system," says Keenan Wong, an underwriting project supervisor at CSE who oversaw the testing of different solutions and ultimately recommended ISO HomeValue to upper management. "A key benefit of ISO HomeValue is that it is web-based. The software can be made available to different parties very quickly, which was important because our agency force is comprised of independent agents."
According to Wong, CSE began the selection process in the spring of 2006 and chose ISO HomeValue in August of that year. The new solution went live in October on an interim basis and then was officially implemented in January 2007.
"We wanted to ease our agents into it," explains Wong. "We didn't want to say, 'effective this date, you can no longer use the old software' without giving agents the opportunity to adjust. So, we gave the agents several months of lead time before we turned off the old cost estimator."
The San Francisco-based insurer's previous estimator software required the company to send updates to its agents in the form of CDs and diskettes. "[Now] we're able to have the most up-to-date software available to agents online without requiring them to update their estimators with disks mailed by CSE."
The old system also struggled to provide accurate cost estimations for high-value homes. "Before, we had to use two different programs, one for average homes and one for high value," Wong says, "ISO HomeValue's replacement costs are very comparable to the old system. however, the software can accurately run replacement costs for both average and high valued homes through one program."
After contracts were signed, Wong says the implementation took three weeks. Agents could then access the solution directly from CSE's online agent portal. Wong says the agents particular enjoy a "pushpin database" that automatically populates tax and title information when available online through government sources.
Going forward, CSE plans to further reduce the data input required of agents by integrating ISO HomeValue with the new business software it is developing. "At some point, we intend to have our new business system automatically transfer information to the cost estimator in order to minimize the amount of manual input involved for the agents," he says.