SAFECO Introduces New ESP Technology

January 8, 2003

SAFECO introduced XML-based technology that allows insurance agents to quote and issue small business policies online in minutes.

Called ESP(TM), SAFECO’s e-business system cuts days off the traditional insurance industry underwriting process.

The first product distributed via ESP is SAFECO’s Businessowners policy (BOP)–the foundation of most small-business owners’ insurance packages. Beginning in January, agents will be able to submit their BOP application via ESP to quickly confirm client eligibility, email a quote to their client, and finally issue the policy. The efficient system typically enables small-business owners to complete their insurance purchase during a coffee break, rather than over the course of days or weeks.

ESP is a significant advance over most insurance Internet sales models currently on the market, which give customers quick price quotes, but still require manual approval from an underwriter before the policy can be formally issued. ESP integrates a sophisticated automated underwriting platform programmed to analyze hundreds of different types of small-business policies applications–from dry cleaners to florists to family doctors–with different information requirements.

SAFECO plans to make additional commercial insurance products–including commercial automobile, workers’ compensation and commercial multi-peril policies–available through ESP in 2003 and 2004.

When all commercial products are live on ESP, SAFECO estimates 90 percent of its small-business policies will be initiated and renewed through this automated system, untouched by an underwriter. The technology will provide a significant time savings to SAFECO Business Insurance’s 5,400 agents, who collectively process hundreds of thousands of new and renewal business policies every year.

Besides streamlining sales and pricing, ESP also encompasses a fee-based Client Service Unit that offers commercial policyholders endorsement processing, certificates of insurance, renewal questionnaires and direct-bill service. This combined strategy helps agencies control costs and manage workflow, providing agents with more time to grow their business.

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