Technology Upgrade Makes it All Better
Robert Regis Hyle | August 26, 2014
Paul Zamora has been with ICW group for eight years, but he remembers well the inefficiencies he found when he arrived. Today, with continued improvements via software upgrades, many inefficiencies are a thing of the past.
“When I got here we had technology, but none of the systems spoke to each other,” says Zamora, senior vice president, workers’ compensation underwriting. “You literally entered the same application data several times.”
Most carriers have a log-in or screening system to see if there have been other applications entered by the same person, and if not, the data was logged in. From there, one system rated it, another conducted the modeling, still another issued a quote, and finally, if ICW decided to write the business, another system would issue the policy.
“We had no scalability,” says Zamora. “About 40 percent of the aps that came in went untouched. They would just sit on the desk. The effective date would come and go and we’d close it out. We were not providing any kind of ease of business to our agents and we were missing out on many business opportunities.”
In 2008, ICW launched the Snap underwriting system and agent portal from FirstBest Systems. It sits on top of the ICW platform and allows all facets of the carrier’s systems to communicate with each other so business users enter the data once and it feeds to all the other systems.
FirstBest did not have a workers’ comp background so they needed help from ICW. Zamora concedes there was risk involved in contracting with what was then a new company with an unfinished product and no customers. The upside, though, was the solution was much more affordable and customizable for ICW because FirstBest programmers listened to ICW on what workers’ comp carriers wanted in terms of functionality and workflow.
“We got a customizable product at a significantly lower price,” says Zamora.
A team from within ICW, which included IT and the business unit, worked closely with FirstBest. The fact the solution provider didn’t have another product at that time proved to be beneficial, according to Zamora, because FirstBest had no preconceived notions about workers’ comp.
“FirstBest felt workers’ comp was a line they wanted to get their foot in,” he says. “FirstBest had good listeners, they worked long hours, and they got us up and running in a good timeframe.”
Over the years there have been upgrades and ICW is due for one this year. Upgrades have increased functionality and tweaked areas where ICW offered feedback, explains Zamora.
“We’ve been putting off an upgrade for a while,” he says. “We wanted better functionality than what we were seeing in some of the other improvements. They’ve added functionality now and we want to take advantage of it.”
Because ICW has not taken an upgrade in two years, the process will take longer than normal—six to nine months—according to Zamora. Normal upgrades run approximately three months. A project team will be put together and the majority of the work will involve regression testing.
“The project plan says anywhere from 6 to 9 months, but you don’t know what you don’t know until you start,” says Zamora.
During the upgrade, Zamora explains there will be no changes in processes, but he admits the carrier might tweak some afterward because with the new functionality ICW can eliminate some work-arounds.
The upgrade contains mobile capabilities for ICW and will give the remote workers the ability to access Snap with an iPad. ICW deals with agents, underwriters, and risk managers in the field quite extensively so the new capability will allow those mobile workers to complete their jobs on site.
“The mobile capability will allow them to get into Snap and see what is going on with the account and access data,” says Zamora. “Before, it was harder to do those tasks on the laptop.”
Another change will allow agents and brokers to upload policies through the Snap and not just the agency management systems of ICW’s customers. Agencies can take a PDF ACORD application and upload it into the system. SNAP will read the characters and plug it into the different fields.
“Before we went live and where we are today, our growth in submission count is up 460 percent,” says Zamora. “Our growth in quoted business is up over 500 percent and our growth in premium is up 440 percent. We’ve been able to do that while lowering expenses. We’ve become extremely scalable so our expense ratio is low for the industry.”
Zamora believes ICW will continue to achieve a high level of scalability, which means lower expense ratios and lower premiums for customers.
“It will allow us to elevate our brand,” he says. “We can be extremely responsive. There are times when agents really need us and we can help them. Underwriters have access to everything and provide great service to our clients. Even in the small business workers’ comp arena, it will allow us to grow that segment of the business. Before we didn’t look at small companies, but now the process is automated.”
- Martha Notaras Will Join ITA LIVE 2019 as a Keynote Speaker
- Five Things to Consider When Evaluating Your Cyber Risk
- ITA Pro Magazine, January/February 2019
- Major Ransomware Attack Could Hit U.S. with $89B In Economic Damages
- ITA Announces 1st of Three Keynote Speakers at ITA LIVE 2019
- Electronic Chat with Jeroen Morrenhof
- Legacy Systems Are Dead. Really? Don't Count On It.
- Now Accepting Nominations for the 2019 ITA Bridge Awards
- It's time to register for ITA LIVE!
- Registration is Now Open for ITA LIVE 2019!
- What to Expect from a Digital Experience Platform Implementation
- ITA Pro Magazine September Edition is Now Available
- It's National IT Professionals Day
- Save the Date for ITA-LIVE 2019
- OneShield Software and UrbanStat Work Together to Improve Real-Time Analytics and Risk Decision-Making
- ITA LIVE 2019 - SAVE THE DATE!
- Insurance Technology Association Announces New Editor-in-Chief
- August 2018 Edition ITA Pro Magazine is Now Available
- Enterprise Architecture in an Agile World
- Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data
- Industry Insight: 4 Global Insurance Trends in Digital, Data, Content Services and Security
- Diving Deeper into Prioritizing Your Strategic Digital investments
- Why Content Rules
- How Mass Personalization Will Open the Small Business Benefits Market
- At Year End 2017, Will Your Organization Be Protected from Cyber Risks?
- Do Insurance Bots Dream of Mitigating Risk?
- Conditioned to Respond
- Managing & Mobilizing Insurance Data in a Connected World
- Race to the Finish Line
- New Tools, New Opportunities in Claims
- ITA LIVE: Reaching Insurance Industry Crossroads
- Advice to Insurance IT Leaders: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- New Date, Venue for ITA LIVE 2017
- Guidewire Makes Major Push to Small and Midtier Market by Acquiring ISCS
- Insurance Disruption is Happening Right Now
- Insurity Adds Strategic Investment Partner, General Atlantic
- Beyond Transformation: The Convergence of Finance, Risk, and Actuarial Functions
- The Rapid Evolution of Consumer Protection Regulation
- Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
- Insurers Flexing Their Distribution Models
- Technology Driving Disruption in Insurance
- Fear of ‘Next Bubble’ Challenges Life, Annuity Carriers
- Technology Allows Commercial Lines Insurers to Stand Out
- Single Sign-on Viewed as Biggest Tech Challenge for Agencies
- ISCS Observes 20th Anniversary; Scurto Predicts Major Changes Ahead
- Policyholders and Their First Impressions
- Progressive Making Progress on the UBI Front
- High and Dry: Insurers Search for Disaster Recovery Plans
- Insurers Sign The (Un)Dotted Line
- Reflections of a Retired Insurance CIO
- Mobile Device Management Just One Answer to BYOD Issue
- Lessons from GEICO and Progressive on Winning the Critical Buying Stage
- You Are a Target for a Cyber Attack
- Web-based Systems are the Next Evolution in Claims Technology
- Gaining a “Wow” Experience from Web Users
- Time to Shift from Business/IT Alignment to Business/IT Alliance
- Healthcare Insurers Changing to Consumer Model
- Organization is the Key for Selecting Software Vendors
- Analysts Expound on the Needs of the Mid-tier Insurance Market
- Finding the Cure for Obamacare’s Website
- New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
- Products, Market Impede Investment in Systems for Life Insurers
- Combatting Cyber Threats: Predict, Prevent, Persist
- The Future of Telematics Heads Beyond Insurance
- The Shame in Cyber Security Lapses
- Building Policy Administration Systems for the Future
- Insurers Look Into The Eyes of Their Policyholders
- It’s a New Dawn for the ITA
INSURANCE IT NEWS
- RLI Selects DataCubes to Optimize Certain Underwriting Processes
- Reinsurance Software WebXL Version 4.3 Released by Prima Solutions-Effisoft Group
- Direct Online Could Grow to 12% of Small Commercial Insurance Market by 2023, Says Novarica
- David Fisher joins FRISS board as non-executive member
- Gulfstream Property and Casualty Insurance Company Selects Roost®Home Telematics Solutions
- Promutuel Insurance Extends Guidewire PolicyCenter to Support Personal Lines Including Data Management and Policyholder Digital Engagement
- Global Insurance Accelerator Announces Nicole Cook as Next Managing Director
- 60% of Carriers Planning to Increase Quality Assurance Activities in 2019, Says Novarica
The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
ITA LIVE 2019
The tide is up! It's time to register for ITA LIVE 2019, our annual educational and networking conference! Our theme is "The InsurTech Revolution: Cutting Through the Hype." and we'll be bringing in a torrent of industry thought leaders, amazing insight and wonderful perspectives on the world of insurtech and its impact on the insurance landscape.
ITA LIVE 2019 will present real-life examples of true startup technologies that are helping insurers gain real advantage -- and a competitive edge -- in the marketplace. We’ll highlight the more successful InsurTech partnerships, while offering case studies that demonstrate exciting innovation and cutting-edge techniques impacting all aspects of the insurance ecosystem.
Ride the wave to LIVE 2019. Sign up today! We look forward to seeing you in May, 2019!
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
This month, the ITA celebrates Insurance Careers Month and encourages carriers, brokers, agents and our industry associations to plan their own... READ MORE
Customization in the general sense has a very positive connotation. However, in the world of software systems, customization quite often falls short... READ MORE
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits... READ MORE
With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future... READ MORE
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers... READ MORE
As Guidewire Software prepares for the start of Connections, its 11th annual user conference that begins on Nov. 2, Brian Desmond, chief marketing... READ MORE