Sixteen insurance brokerage firms have agreed to be the first to use a new Internet-based single entry submission system to transact commercial lines business with carriers, a system that will be made available to all agents and brokers and their carriers early next year.
The LexisNexis Insurance Exchange, as the new submission and transaction system in known, promises to reduce workload, facilitate access to new markets, and improve collaboration among all parties involved in middle market and some large commercial insurance business.
This new transaction system is the result of an alliance formed through LexisNexis Risk Solutions, The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers and Marketcore, Inc. and it comes after decades of talk and trials throughout the industry around developing a workable a single-entry platform.
“Streamlining the communication of data between agents and brokers, and improving the transparency and productivity of the current system has been a Council goal for more than a decade,” said Ken A. Crerar, president of The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.
The 16 insurance brokerages that have signed on include: AmWINS Group, Inc; Brown & Brown, Inc.; BB&T Insurance; John L. Wortham & Son, L.P.; BancorpSouth Insurance Services, Inc.; Rutherfoord/MMA; EPIC Insurance Brokers; Van Gilder Insurance; McQueary Henry Bowles Troy, L.L.P.; RCM&D; Sterling & Sterling, Inc.; M3 Insurance Solutions, Inc.; Early, Cassidy & Schilling, Inc.; Roach Howard Smith & Barton; Oswald Companies; and Cook, Hall & Hyde, Inc.
The brokers are joining the Insurance Exchange as early adopters and will start using it Oct. 12.
Officials have not yet identified the participating carriers but said last week that they hope to have about a half dozen for the initial phase. Getting carriers to participate in a single system has been a challenge in past attempts to streamline the transaction process for agents and brokers.
This select group of brokerages and carriers will provide feedback to LexisNexis in advance of an industry-wide launch in early 2011.
Agents and brokers will not have to be CIAB members to use the exchange when it is launced industry-wide. Carriers will be also able to participate as non-subscribing members, although subscribing carriers will receive more benefits including analytics and market reports.
According to Frank Sentner, technology director for CIAB and a veteran agency technology developer, the way the industry handles transactions now is outdated.
“Today most agents and brokers attach numerous documents to emails and attempt to email them successfully to their markets, to their carriers and to their wholesalers. It’s a very inefficient and time-consuming process. The LexisNexis Insurance Exchange will be the platform by which commercial insurance agents and brokers will send all of their submissions to all of their markets beginning this October,” Sentner told Insurance Journal in a recent interview at the MarketScout Entrepreneurial Insurance Symposium in Dallas where the LexisNexis Insurance Exchange was among the featured topics.
Sentner said the exchange will aggregate all of the documents and data for submission to carriers and wholesalers in one place. This data can then be accessed by the wholesalers and carriers selected by the submitting agent or broker. Agents will only be able to send submissions to carriers with which they have contracts.
The exchange is designed for use with middle market and some large commercial accounts and with any agency management system.
“It’ll handle virtually any size account. It’s not designed to deal with commodity lines of business like small commercial where there’s straight through processing, and it doesn’t have the capacity right now to deal with layered risks. So, if there are multiple carriers participating, we really haven’t taken that into consideration in this first deliverable of the Insurance Exchange,” Sentner said.
LexisNexis says it has commitments from additional top 100 brokers including Lockton, Inc. for adoption following the initial phase.
“The goal of the LexisNexis Insurance Exchange is to create greater efficiency between the broker and the carrier. This will result in enhancing the quality of services to our customers,” said John Lumelleau, president and CEO of Lockton, Inc. “The Insurance Exchange is about streamlining and automating the submission process to reduce the many challenges associated with the facilitation of an insurance placement. If the industry is to remain competitive, technology has to play a bigger role in how our services are delivered.”
LexisNexis is a global provider of content workflows for legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting and academic markets. LexisNexis Risk Solutions serves commercial organizations and government agencies.
The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers represents the top national, regional and international commercial brokers and agencies. CIAB members place more than $200 billion in commercial property/casualty and employee benefits premium worldwide. More than 16 percent of the membership is comprised of firms headquartered outside the U.S.
Marketcore is a privately held intellectual property development company based in Westport, Conn. LexisNexis Risk Solutions has licensed Marketcore’s intellectual property for the exchange. Marketcore will also participate on the insurance exchange board of trustees. Representatives of major brokerages, carriers, ACORD, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America and other industry and technology interests have also been invited to join the board, which will set policy on and monitor how the data collected is secured and how it may be used.
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