California-Based ICW Group Upgrades, Rebrands Based on Agent Feedback

June 30, 2009

Truly listening to what agents have to say can make a world of difference in how an insurance company is run and organized. Just ask the folks at San Diego-based ICW Group Insurance Companies, an Insurance Journal-ranked Super Regional carrier that has been undergoing a transformation driven by what its agents and brokers have told it are their priorities and concerns.

Privately held ICW Group represents a group of multiline property/casualty insurance carriers providing workers’ compensation, surety, earthquake and personal and business auto insurance. Its member companies include Insurance Company of the West, Explorer Insurance Co. and Independence Casualty and Surety.

Rather than focusing on the end customer, ICW Group says it is focusing on what its 3,800 agents and brokers across the country say they need to be successful. The company conducted a series of roundtable discussions with its agents and brokers to clarify what agents value and need from ICW.

The sessions revealed that agents value ease of doing business, responsiveness, competitive pricing, and quality claims and risk management services. These values have been at the core of recent changes at ICW, according to David Hoppen, senior vice president and chief operating officer at ICW Group.

“After engaging and truly listening to our agent and broker customers, we now very clearly understand the core drivers to our customers’ success and importantly the value of seeing the business from their perspective,” said Hoppen. “It was clear from our roundtable discussions across multiple lines of business that by empowering our customers to win with their clients, we will engender an increased level of commitment and loyalty from them.”

As a result of the feedback, the insurer has been upgrading its services and technology to give agents more of what they want.

According to Tony Sciolla, vice president of enterprise marketing, the company has upgraded Snap, its proprietary online workers’ compensation agency portal, to, among other things, allow agents to reserve the market up to 92 days in advance without loss runs, instantly quote small workers’ compensation accounts, receive underwriter email alerts on account status, obtain instant notification when Snap refers a submission to agent’s local branch underwriting team for review and gain 24/7 access to key account tools and information including loss runs, policies/endorsements and worksheets.

ICW has also implemented a free online risk management service called RMRx Safety Advisor, which it co-brands with its producers, and it has expanded its workers’ compensation business into Illinois.

The new and improved products and services are the main story at the new ICW but not the only story. The company has decided that its corporate identity needs to reflect its new approach. So ICW has also embarked on a rebranding that includes an updated visual identity and marketing campaign. Key components of this effort include a new corporate Web site with an added agent/producer zone, a companion microsite, a corporate brand video, on and offline advertising, sales collateral and a new event marketing package.

“While we are very focused on delivering tangible value in support of our new approach, we also felt it was important to reinforce this new direction with a contemporized identity and a complete communications program,” said Sciolla.

The new company tagline, “We See The Business of Insurance Through Your Eyes,” anchors the core communication campaign, and reinforces the focus on delivering what’s important to agents and brokers.

The company has outlined the communications journey it has traveled and how it plans on following through on the new focus at a new microsite at www.seehowweseeit.com. The site also serves as a forum for agents and brokers to provide continued feedback.

ICW conducts business only through agents and brokers. It is currently adding producers in Illinois in line with its expansion into that state, according to Sciolla.

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