This month Worcester, Mass.-based multiline P&C carrier The Hanover Insurance Group launched what it calls a distinctive new billing system designed to deliver convenience and flexibility, empowering agents to build stronger customer relationships. I&T's Anthony O'Donnell talked to The Hanover's CIO Greg Tranter about the thinking and some of the functionality of the new system.
Anthony O'Donnell: Why did you choose now to develop what you've called an industry leading billing platform?
Greg Tranter: First, The Hanover is committed to providing our agent partners and their customers with innovative solutions and responsive service. This means that we are constantly reevaluating our products, services, systems and procedures so that they evolve with their needs. We decided to transform our billing system because feedback from our agent partners shows that across the board, agents spend a significant amount of time — nearly 50% — of customer calls answering questions about billing. This new system should eliminate a lot of those questions and empower our agent partners to focus more on what they do best — provide valuable advice to customers. And it simultaneously improves our customer's experience, with easy-to-read bills and flexible payment options. It's a win-win.
AOD: How did you go about selecting a suitable platform?
GT: The Hanover surveyed agents and customers and looked at several vendor solutions, which were OK but not leading edge. We then utilized Guidewire's billing platform and then enhanced and integrated into our broader technology capabilities.
AOD: What does the initiative and the functionality provided say about The Hanover's notion of ease-of-doing-business or agent customer experience?
GT: The Hanover's strategy is to build a company around the needs of independent agents and brokers. Our approach is driven by creating value, whether it come from products, capabilities, expertise, or services. So the launch of a new billing system is no different. Everything that we do is with our agent partners and customers in mind.
AOD: Could we interpret the billing system announcement as an affirmation of customer experience focus on the part of the Hanover's business and technology philosophy?
GT: Yes, we believe that great customer experiences, and great agent experiences really matter and are part of our value. So The Hanover's strategy is to build a company around the needs of independent agents and brokers. The launch of a new billing system is no different. Everything that we do is with our agent partners and customers in mind. By delivering an easy-to-use billing system delivers convenience and flexibility, we are empowering agents to build stronger customer relationships.
AOD: Describe briefly what you've rolled out, and for what parts of your business.
Developed with significant input from agents and customers, the versatile billing system is now available for both commercial lines and personal lines customers. It offers easy-to-use online tools, an enhanced online experience that makes the billing process clearer than ever for customers and agents.
AOD: Tell us a little more about the online tools.
GT: From an agent perspective, we've made it very easy to select from our versatile billing offerings through our policy issuance system. It produces billing statements that are clear and concise, and also offer a lot of flexibility. For example, the ability to customize options like payment due dates can be a critically important issue for a personal insurance policyholder who is on a particular pay schedule or a business owner who prefers to pay bills on a certain day of the month. Agents and customers can also access real-time billing information 24/7.
AOD: Does the billing system offer a mobile option?
GT: Customers and agents can easily access billing information from their mobile device — iPhone, iPad and Android are supported — through our website. We will continue to work with our agent partners to understand their needs and their customers' needs and likely the system will evolve with them.
[For more detail, see: The Hanover's New Billing System Adds Value for Agents, Customers.]
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio