Retail, Wholesale Insurance Brokers Working on Electronic Transactions

December 19, 2008

Retail insurance agents and wholesale brokers are working on a plan to streamline how they do business together including improving electronic applications, electronic interfaces between the parties, and general agent Web site functionality.

The Independent Agents & Brokers of America’s Agents Council for Technology (ACT), the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) and the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO) formed what they are calling
the Retail Agent—E&S Market Initiative in May.

According to Angelyn Treutel, independent agent, ACT chair and co-chair of the work group, the initiative has made “excellent progress” since its May launch with several virtual meetings and an in-person meeting of the work group and its three sub-groups.

The initiative now involves more than 100 industry representatives including ACORD representatives, retail agents, general agents, wholesale brokers, E&S carriers and vendors working to improve how retailers and MGA/Wholesalers do business together.

Mike Roy, chief information officer of CRC Insurance Services and a one of the major drivers behind this new initiative, thinks MGAs can benefit from what retail agents and their standard lines carriers have learned about technology.

“The managing general agents and wholesale brokers see major opportunities to apply more of the technologies that the standard market is implementing, such as the ACORD XML electronic standards, Real Time workflows, the use of ACORD forms where possible and more consistent functionality on general agent/wholesaler Web sites in order to be easier to do business with for our retail agent clients,” he said.

The group has set forth objectives that include improvements in the E&S industry over the next 12-18 months in the following areas:

Retail Agent Interface: Focus on E&S carrier supplemental applications to streamline supplemental data requirements and migrate to the use of ACORD standards for applications as much as possible

General Agent Interface: Concentration on data transmission streams from retail agents to general agents as well as within general agents and begin to automate the flow of this data as much as possible

General Agent Web sites: Develop a roadmap of recommendations for MGA Web site capabilities – Generation 1 is a Web site with basic marketing information. Generation 2 adds login and rating capability. Generation 3 provides for online applications and policy issuance capabilities. Generation 4 expands the Web site for integration with retail agency management systems.

Sources:
IIABA ACT
www.independentagent.com/act

AAMGA
www.aamga.org

NAPSLO
www.napslo.org

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