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Whose Biz? uBiz!

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Small commercial business is highly competitive.   While the majority of the business continues to be written by brokers, direct writers and direct marketers are making inroads, primarily because of their ability to process the business quickly and efficiently.  Recently Gore Mutual announced an offering which provides efficiency, effectiveness, and the value of an independent broker.

We had the opportunity of talking to Sean Christie, CIO at Gore Mutual, who was one of the drivers of the product, to get some insight.

What is the soultion about?

The solution – uBiz – is targeted initially at home based businesses.  According to Christie, home based businesses are not well served. In too many cases, home based entrepreneurs assume (incorrectly) that their home insurance will cover contents and activities.

To address this Gore Mutual partnered with 8 brokers who had good understanding of ecommerce which would help Gore Mutual develop the product, technology and marketing which would reduce friction costs while addressing particular requirements of budding entrepreneurs.

How does it work?

uBiz is offered exclusively through brokers, who market and advertise uBiz online.  Prospects are directed to the broker’s own uBiz site which contains a quote facility or to u-biz.com which contains information and a handoff to the broker

The basic quote – for Commercial liability – has 8 questions.

From there, the prospect can add office contents and legal expense.  Another few screens, and the coverage is ready to be bound with a credit card payment.

Policy documents are produced immediately and, once in force, the customer can produce certificates of insurance directly from the site.

No squirrels allowed…

We’ve been involved in projects like this which look slick on the outside, but behind the scenes, there is substantial human intervention to produce documents and feed the legacy systems.  The poor souls condemned to this particular hell are commonly referred to as ‘squirrels in the back room.’

The Gore Mutual team has built connection to its back end system, Accenture Duck Creek.  In addition, Gore Mutual implemented HP Extream to populate and produce the policy and certificate documents.

Gore Mutual’s uBiz was selected as a winner of the HP Visionary Award which is presented to organizations which use the technology to “improve the customer experience through the communications they send.”

Growth starts @ home …

Gore Mutual is looking at the platform to drive growth in several dimensions.  Home based business is a growing segment of the commercial economy.  Moreover, many big business start at home (After all, Google was two guys in a garage 20 years ago.)

As or more significantly, Christie notes that the digital model will be expanded to other lines of business, all in support of the broker channel.  And this is garnering support from brokers.

Dario Battista, President and CEO of isure, a participating uBiz broker commends Gore’s move to digital: “That’s why we worked with Gore Mutual to develop the simplest online buying experience in Canada, which will integrate seamlessly into our wider online business strategy.”

What do you think?

This is a pretty radical departure from the typical small commercial in lots of ways, but the brokers involved seem to see good alignment with their thinking.

We’d welcome your thoughts.

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