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Insurer looking at automated underwriting solution


November 20, 2017   by Jason Contant, Online Editor


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Brokers placing coverage with Economical Insurance wanted the insurer to “clearly articulate [its] appetite and become competitive in specific areas,” so the insurer has created new core segments in small business, agriculture and transportation, and specialty lines.

Matthew Buchalter, vice president of regional product pricing and underwriting, told Canadian Underwriter that these new segments “will create solutions and services to meet the needs of unique customer groups.” In the small business segment, for example, Economical’s goal is to “increase market share and gain scale through the creation of a highly automated underwriting solution.” And in the specialty lines segment, Economical will explore additional specialty product opportunities to add to its portfolio, Buchalter said.

“We are evolving our commercial lines strategy to improve profitability, capture more market share in small business, and expand our capabilities in mid-market and specialty,” he noted.

When asked what impact Economical’s new commercial lines strategy could have on pricing, Buchalter said that he will lead the development and maintenance of pricing frameworks, tools and processes and analytics. Buchalter and his team will “intensely evaluate” and develop its pricing strategy by line and segment; partner with colleagues across commercial insurance and sales and distribution to implement the strategy; and “continuously optimize pricing based on market trends, new information and profitability targets.”

Related: Insurer “redefines” its commercial insurance strategy

On Nov. 16, Economical Insurance’s manager of public and media relations, Doug Maybee, told Canadian Underwriter that it is looking to “redefine” its approach to commercial insurance with a new strategy and structure.

The new organizational structure – to take effect on Dec. 1 – features three regions: Western (British Columbia, Alberta and the Prairies), Ontario and Eastern (Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island). There will also three core segments: agriculture and transportation; small business; and specialty lines. The evolution has been in the works since May 1, when Fabian Richenberger, Economical’s executive vice president of commercial insurance, joined the company. Richenberger was previously president of Northbridge Insurance and most recently as partner and head of financial services for CarProof Corp.

On Dec. 4, Chris Evans will join Economical as assistant vice-president of commercial operations. He will oversee operational planning and execution, guide key profitability improvement initiatives and assure timely and actionable business intelligence is available across commercial insurance, Economical said in a press release last week.