Markel and FirstComp have announced a new brand – Markel FirstComp – and a new independent agent portal.
Founded in 1997, FirstComp was the small business workers’ compensation insurance arm of Aspen Holdings. It focuses on small to medium-sized main street businesses that typically have fewer than 10 employees. It does business in 33 states with about $240 million gross written premium.
In October, 2010, Markel acquired FirstComp and the company has been operating under the name FirstComp since then. Trent Cooksley, director of strategy and marketing for FirstComp in Omaha, Neb., says internally the company has been referred to as Markel FirstComp for some time, but the announcement of the newly enhanced FirstQuote rating portal is the first time the new brand has been acknowledged publicly since the merger.
In 2001, FirstComp created the original FirstQuote agency portal, which Cooksley says was state of the art at the time. The company has made enhancements to the portal since then but the most recent changes are more significant than some of the previous ones, says Cooksley. They include more efficiency, faster quoting, and easier access to information, as well as resources including insurance news.
Cooksley says the changes are based on what agents said they wanted from the site. He says they wanted the site to focus on “ease of use” and service, in addition to selling coverage.
“We made a significant amount of changes at one time and changed some of the look and feel to [the portal], which we hadn’t done in about six years. We had to make sure that agents were comfortable with the change,” he says.
The merging of FirstComp and Markel provides agents some offline benefits as well. Cooksley says its agents now have a new market for other types of business they write. Through a separate appointment, FirstComp has also made available to its workers’ comp agents Markel ISO based coverage’s in the admitted market with special coverage forms.
“There is an opportunity now for agents to do business with Markel and the types of products they offer,” he says. “If they come to us and would like to write products other than workers’ comp through Markel, we can put them in touch with the appropriate avenues.”
Cooksley says FirstComp is also looking into moving into other product areas, but only those that target its same customer base.
The workers’ compensation coverage is written on either FirstComp or Markel paper, depending on the state. All other coverages are written on Markel paper.