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Policy Administration

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Fireman’s Saves Agents

Insurer selects ePolicy Solutions' Web-based RightRisk policy management system to gain efficiency in every stage of the underwriting process.

Although legacy maintenance is notorious for its drain on valuable resources, no time ever seems like the right time to move off these antiquated environments. But when Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. (Novato, CA, $115 billion in assets) started to receive complaints from agents about the inefficiency of its legacy PMSC (Policy Management Systems Corp.) system, enough was enough. "Fireman's was spending an awful lot on technology" and human resources, says Billy McCarter, CIO, Fireman's Fund. "The agents were telling us we weren't effective or efficient. The whole process—from rating, underwriting, quoting and ultimately issuing policies—was very difficult," he says of the labor-intensive procedure.

Embarking on the Search

For help in its search for a cost-effective, Web-based solution that was easy to use, McCarter enlisted the consulting support of Ernst & Young (New York). Additionally, a team composed of business members of Fireman's Fund Interstate Insurance, the carrier's Chicago-based subsidiary, along with representatives from the carrier's IT and finance departments, joined the search effort in the beginning of 2001. The team's due diligence effort included exploration of solutions providedby ASP ePolicy Solutions (Torrance, CA) and MYND (the renamed PMSC, which eventually was acquired by Austin, TX-based CSC). Because it provided the speed-to-market and efficiency for which Fireman's was searching, the carrier awarded a five-year contract to ePolicy for its RightRisk System-a Web-based rating, quoting, policy payment and management and policy renewal tool.

Set with the objective of first rolling out the system—which it internally named iProNet (insurance Professional Network)—to managing general agents of the carrier's professional liability coverages, McCarter embarked on its implementation. At the beginning of this process, the carrier gathered business rules for underwriting and rating for iProNet's rules engine population.

Another step of the iProNet implementation was technology development for the system's Web presentation. Although ePolicy built the Web presentation, members of the Fireman's team assisted in the design of the user experience, as well as workflow. Additionally, Fireman's IT built interfaces from the Web front-end to its financial and reinsurance systems. After this was completed, Fireman's Fund facilitated unit testing by having business members simulate production processing. Additionally, a month-long user acceptance testing phase was conducted.

In June 2001, MGAs were granted access to iProNet, which they reach over the Internet with log-in security. IProNet features fully integrated Docucorp (Dallas) policy publishing functionality (policy documents are populated by iProNet and rendered as PDF documents) and nightly claims data uploads and policy transaction downloads through an XML interface. Last month, the system was rolled out to agents selling Fireman's excess and special risk commercial lines. "Our distribution model requires that our independent agents do a lot of the underwriting and processing work," explains McCarter. "We basically get the premium sent to us for booking, so it's the platform agents use to originate our business and sell our products." As a result of iProNet's implementation the insurer has achieved underwriting consistency among agents, improving Fireman's Fund loss ratios.




Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., Novato, CA, ($11.5 billion in assets).


Property/casualty personal and business lines.


ePolicy Solutions (Torrance, CA), Ernst & Young (New York), Docucorp (Dallas).


Move to a Web-based policy management system to increase agent efficiency.

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