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To maintain its dominant position in Maine's workers' compensation market, Maine Employers' Mutual Insurance Co. leverages IT to improve service for its agent customers.

Seeing Straight

Part of improving services, Baxter notes, is speeding the policy issuance cycle. As such, MEMIC is implementing a real-time agency interface that will allow agents to enter new-business applications, policy renewals and policy endorsements for straight-through processing. Though the carrier already holds 65 percent of the workers' compensation market in Maine, according to Baxter, MEMIC decided to enable downloads, electronic delivery and real-time policy transactions to make it easier for agents to enter new business -- and thus retain their business. "This project is a part of our overall business strategy to make it easy for our agents to work with us," says Baxter.

As the foundation for the agent interface, this year the insurer purchased AgencyPort's (Boston) AgencyPortal, a Java/J2EE interface with an ACORD-based data engine and an XML-driven page-rendering engine. The AgencyPortal product allows agents to access MEMIC's Web-based agency system, QuickComp. MEMIC selected AgencyPort because the technology is compatible with the ACORD XML data-transfer standards that the insurer uses for communications with its agency system, explains Baxter.

As part of the initiative, MEMIC also has started development on a new policy issuance system. Once the system is complete, it will receive data from AgencyPortal through customized screens, which are being developed by AgencyPort. And, although AgencyPortal includes a standard Web-based workers' compensation application form, Baxter and his team are customizing the form. "We wanted to customize our application form to give agents something they would be familiar with," he says. "And it reinforces the fact that we have a culture based on meeting customer needs." MEMIC plans to finish implementation of the real-time agency interface in the first quarter of 2007.

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