Some consumers may be agog over Google Compare, but insurance industry vendors like software provider Vertafore have been working to deliver quotes and ratings more quickly and conveniently for years.
That’s the message from Dave Bevan, director of product management for rating and connectivity at Bothell, Wash.-based Vertafore.
Vertafore today announced updates to its flagship comparative rating systems, PL Rating, which is available nationwide, and the primarily California agency-used FSC Rater.
Updates include a cloud feature that will allow California agents to migrate and manage quotes from the FSC Rater into the Vertafore data center – this enables remote access to quotes – as well as the ability with PL Rating to bundle personal line quotes for agents nationwide. They are free to existing customers.
While Vertafore didn’t conceive of the updates as a response to Google Compare’s auto insurance comparison site announced in March, the company does see the upgrade as a quick and accurate way to provide agents with quotes – and a way to answer customer demand since Google launched its much talked-about site.
“As a result of Google Compare entering the marketplace, our customers across the board are saying ‘There’s a new player in the marketplace and I need to do as much as possible to remain competitive,'” Bevan said.
The update decreases the time it takes to quote customers rates, and it enables agents greater accessibility – FSC Rater can be accessed anywhere there’s an Internet connection.
“It’s allowing them to do business in more places,” Bevan said. “It’s streamlining their overall business.”
Bevan estimates more than 4,000 customers are signed on to use FSC Rater.
The update also reduces overall agency overhead, according to Bevan.
The cloud aspect of the update means there’s no need for a server. That saves thousands of dollars for a server, plus the costs to maintain it and the space to put it. It also frees agencies from having to manage backups, he said.
According to Bevan, FSC Rater is more accurate than Google Compare, which can only pose so many questions before becoming in danger of having consumers with a short attention span giving up.
“In a consumer-facing product you need to minimize the number of questions that are asked in order to keep engagement high,” he said.
Vertafore also minimizes the number of questions agents have to tackle, but there are myriad underlying specific questions, such as underwriting criteria, or surcharges, that aren’t asked on Google Compare, but which agents can opt to answer to get more accurate quotes, Bevan said.
This means agents can get quick quotes for their customers, and then drill down later and get more detailed questions for a more precise quote, he added.
“And that will drive accuracy higher and higher,” Bevan said. “When you get to actually writing a policy, they’ll get a lot more detailed info, and that can affect the rate that’s provided to you.”
Vertafore also updated its nationwide comparative rating product, PL Rating, which covers 48 states. Part of the upgrade is an enhanced workflow for packaged quoting to enable users to quote auto and homeowners insurance simultaneously. Before agents could only quote for one at a time.
Bevan said advantages of this are that there are no duplicate questions and comparisons show premiums, which is the best carrier, best rates and best coverage.
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