August 29, 2019 by Greg Meckbach
An Ottawa-based managing general agent may be expanding its use of portal technology that lets brokers enter data from applications and bind commercial policies electronically.
Encon Group Inc. pretty much did away with paper files, Encon president David Cook said in an interview. Today, most, if not all, insurance documents are available to brokers in electronic format.
“More recently we have launched a broker portal for select lines of business where brokers can enter application information, rate and quote coverage options for their coverage, and in fact bind and issue those policies,” said Cook. “We are looking to expand our offerings in that area in the future in Canada.”
The aim goes beyond making things easier for the broker. Encon also wants to make sure the policy information moves as efficiently as possible through the MGA’s office, suggested Cook.
Encon’s offerings include professional liability for architects and engineers and builders’ risk. It is part of Victor Insurance Holdings, the managing general underwriting business of New York City-based Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc.
Formerly known as The Schinnerer Group, Victor operates V-Squared, a web service that lets Victor’s broker partners issue policies online.
“The concept is to reduce the amount of touches or the amount of activity that the brokers have,” said Brian Hanuschak, Victor’s new president of North America, in an interview.
In addition to reducing brokers’ costs, V-Squared frees up the brokers to prospect for new business, said Hanuschak.
“They transferred some of their workload from the management of the business, and now they are able to drive into new opportunities and re-position some of their staff,” said Hanuschak. “Essentially the way it works is, the brokers enter the information into the portal. We focus on reducing the [number] of questions from a standard application, so we have changed the underwriting algorithms in the process to reduce the amount of data entry and we increased the speed at which the quotes can be produced.”
Administering policies online instead of handling physical paper has other advantages, said Cook. “We are learning to harness the power of all the data we have collected over the years in Canada, and anywhere in the world, to provide more analytics capabilities to better tailor our offerings and better tailor our pricing and match risk premiums to the exposures of our clients.”
Encon is doing this in the area of liability insurance for architects and engineers. “There are many different types of engineering, and many different types of projects, that get worked on by our clients, and many of those have unique aspects to them,” said Cook. “I think the more information you can collate or amalgamate, the better you can meet the needs of those clients in an efficient manner.”
In the past, when clients filed claims, the claims people often had to go look for a file in a room or find a staff member with the file on their desk, said Cook. “Now, multiple people can access that same underwriting file from the electronic file that’s been created on our secure servers. So, people are able to work on that file simultaneously, get the most up-to-date information, and have it in a format that is backed up and secured, versus a physical file room.”
For Marsh, the MGU business is a “critical growth area,” said John Drzik, president of Marsh global risk and digital, this past June in a release announcing Hanuschak’s appointment.
Christopher Schaper, until June the CEO of Victor, became CEO of American International Group Inc.’s reinsurance business in Bermuda effective July 1.