Safeco Adds Workers’ Comp Policies to Online Sales Platform

November 25, 2003

Seattle-based Safeco Business Insurance (SBI) has expanded its online sales platform to make it faster and easier for agents to sell workers compensation insurance to small businesses.

The update means agents can go online to quote, bind and instantly issue all of the coverages that small-business owners most frequently purchase — including their businessowners policy (BOP), BOP umbrella, non-fleet commercial auto and workers’ compensation policies.

“In one year’s time, Safeco has delivered the industry’s first real one-stop shop for independent agents’ most common small-business sales — allowing agents to complete an entire small-business account sale online in minutes, rather than days,” said Jeanne Lind, director of automation for SBI.

“This is a powerful advantage in the small-business or low-premium markets, where profit margins are razor-thin. In fact, ease-of-doing-business is a key business driver for agents. Safeco’s ability to deliver this technology, quickly and successfully, is further proof of our focus on serving independent agents and the markets that are most important to them.”

Safeco’s online sales process is simple: Agents log onto www.safecoplaza.com/esp, enter customer information, and instantly receive a final price that they can bind and issue. The technology automatically pre-fills common customer information fields, and the system adjusts its questions according to the data entered. As a result, agents spend a lot less time on data entry.

The new-business technology is delivering results. Through Sept. 30, Safeco’s BOP sales were up 65 percent over the same time last year. Commercial auto sales were up 48 percent in September.

This new technology — combined with Safeco’s plans to grow its workers compensation accounts in many states — gives agents an opportunity to bolster their total small-business revenues, said Tom Troy, vice president of underwriting for SBI.

“Like the independent agents we serve, Safeco’s goal is to write our business policyholders’ total account: BOP, BOP umbrella, commercial auto and workers compensation,” Troy said. “By making these coverages available for sale online, we’ve given agents a quick, easy way to maximize revenue on small-business customer accounts.”

Safeco, which only writes workers compensation policies in conjunction with other commercial products, offers this coverage in 41 states and has recently targeted 23 states for growth. Because workers’ compensation represents the largest single line of insurance in the U.S. commercial market — about 18 percent of the market in 2002 according to Conning & Co. — agencies that choose to round out accounts with Safeco could see strong revenue growth, Troy said.

The expanded platform is available now in nine states: Connecticut, Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. Safeco will roll out the technology to all 41 states where the company writes workers compensation business by the end of first quarter 2004.

In 2004, Safeco will expand its award-winning online sales platform to sell personal auto, home and commercial multi-peril (CMP) package products.

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