With the launch of Safeco Now - an Internet-based agent workplace - in December 2005, Seattle-based property and casualty insurer Safeco ($15 billion in assets) has become one of the first insurance companies to automate the sale of commercial insurance packages. According to the carrier, Safeco Now is an online sales-and-service platform through which independent agents and brokers can write up to 12 personal, commercial and surety products in minutes and receive quotes in real time.
"We have built the system because of our commitment to the agent distribution products," says Ann Randall, vice president of partner integration at Safeco. "We want the tools to complement the full range of products we offer to an agent's customer." Because the system is automated, an agent only needs to enter data into the system once, allowing for fewer errors and more time for cross-selling, notes Randall, who asserts that Safeco Now has reduced the claims and underwriting process from weeks to 10 minutes.
Safeco Now also employs a multivariant solution analysis called the Market Appetite Guide that sits on top of Safeco Now's quote-and-issue system. The tool quickly assesses risk by prompting independent agents to answer four questions and then directs agents to the most appropriate products. According to Safeco, agents are alerted immediately if Safeco is not a market for a particular risk, thus eliminating unnecessary quote-request submissions.