By Nathan Conz
Profitability can be fleeting for insurance agents when it comes to smaller workers compensation accounts.
"When we would interact with our agents, they would tell us that it was one of their single biggest issues," explains Brad Nichols, vice president and senior sales executive at Swiss Re (Armonk, N.Y.). "With the level of commission a typical agent would get on a typical small account, they just couldn't afford to spend the kind of time needed to handle the account."
Swiss Re's Commercial Insurance seems to have found a remedy to that plight with CyberComp, a Web-based workers compensation platform. According to Swiss Re executives, the platform helps small-premium workers compensation accounts make better business sense by delivering increased efficiency and better access for agents.On May 1, Swiss Re will introduce CyberComp in Texas. It will be the 23rd state in which CyberComp writes workers compensation business. Swiss Re expects to write $200 million to $220 million in 2007 small business workers compensation premium throughout the platform. The company projects $2 million to $4 million of that to come from business in Texas.
CyberComp was originally developed in the late '90s by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC; El Segundo, Calif.) for Reliance National. The platform was acquired in 2001 by GE, which later sold it Swiss Re.
A CSC client case study describes the platform both as an Internet portal and a "virtual insurance company." Essentially, the platform gives agents access to straight-through processing in areas such as policy, billing and claims status.
"It's a rating platform, it's an underwriting platform, it's a form generation platform," explains Mike Rubin, senior vice president of technology, Swiss Re.
Previously, a few weeks were needed for an agent to get a quote or a declination back to a potential customer. With CyberComp, the process takes approximately seven minutes, according to Nichols, who adds that "a lot of this was just about driving efficiency out to the agents."
The platform also helps promote strict adherence to underwriting rules. "Most carriers that are underwriting in a standard manner have inconsistencies in the way their programs are administered because individual underwriters are making individual account decisions," Nichols says. "With the CyberComp system, when we program in the underwriting rules, [those rules] are utilized. There's no one making exceptions. There's no one thinking about gray areas or anything like that."
Implementation of the platform is a fairly simple process. State-by-state, the platform needs to be tweaked to include the right rating algorithms, underwriting rules and forms. All agents need to use the system is an Internet connection and a browser.
"I think CyberComp was really far ahead of its time when it was first rolled out. What's happening is the technologies that it used then have become more standardized," says Rubin.
Swiss Re plans to launch CyberComp in Nebraska is the next few months, Nichols says.