ICTA Nomination: Trillium Mutual Improves Service to Brokers for Farm and Residential Business

2016 ICTA Nomination.   Technology by Hubio Solutions.

Trillium Mutual has a large book of farm business, and we recognized that providing our current and potential farm policyholders with accurate pricing and risk management services was crucial to our long-term success.

The Challenge

Trillium faced several problems pertaining to its farm operations:

  • Quoting, new-business submission, binding and policy issuance was not automated;
  • Brokers often submitted requests using paperwork from other insurance carriers, which often meant the information collected was irrelevant, and lacked specific details necessary for Trillium;
  • Information was often difficult to process, requiring manual entry, and numerous follow-up calls;
  • Supporting data and information could not be easily attached to the core submission.

As a result, Trillium made a significant investment in technology to address these problems and to work effectively with our broker partners.

The Solution

Trillium has implemented a first-of-its-kind new business portal that supports residential and farm business. Broker access to the portal can be done directly on-line, or through a direct interface with the Broker Management System (BMS), uploading the policy information. For farm business, a broker can start with the dwelling details from the BMS, upload to the portal, and by answering one question can turn it into a farm policy.

The implementation was completed in February of 2015 in just 9 months, on time and on budget. The farm component of this portal is unique in the industry and allows Trillium’s brokers to quote and bind complex farm operations on-line. The rollout to brokers has occurred throughout 2015, and includes complete written documentation and in-house or webinar training.

The Details

The portal captures all fields provided by the BMS in CSIO XML format and uses CSIO standard codes where available. It is used by brokers, by internal underwriters and by support staff, who prefer the User Interface to that of the PAS. It uploads all fields that are provided by each of TAM, EPIC, xigXP, CIMDATA, TBW and PowerBroker.

There are numerous on-line edits on each screen to ensure that all data entered is accurate and also to identify if information is missing. It uses underwriting rules that evaluate the risk on the uploaded data. Brokers are advised of the results and have tools to provide additional information if needed. The underwriters also use the rules to review specific areas of the policy.

If there are no underwriting alerts, the policy is sent directly into our back office policy administration system, IBS, as developed and maintained by MCCG. From there, the policy is issued seamlessly and electronic documents are downloaded to the broker on the next business day.

Brokers are able to upload documents such as pictures, questionnaires and evaluations with the policy application. When the policy is accepted, these documents are then stored in our paperless document management system, Synergize by Microdea. The documents are fully indexed in the Synergize system with the policy number and insured name. As well, the CSIO Habitational application and the Trillium farm application generated by the portal are stored in Synergize.

Brokers love the new portal to quote farm business since it provides them accurate rating information. If their client accepts the policy, they can complete any missing information and print the application directly from the portal without rekeying any data.

Initial Results

Brokers are now submitting farm policies in the portal, which are then reviewed and submitted to our back-end system by the underwriter. We predict a slow and steady increase in participation in 2016 and 2017 with core farm brokers acting first. These core brokers form the majority of the 2015 year-end take up rate of approximately 25%.

50% of the residential policies have been submitted by brokers directly from their BMS, saving them time and improving submission accuracy. Over the next year, we expect this percentage will increase to 90%, as all brokers will be fully trained by the end of 2015.

32% of the policies entered by brokers flowed directly into IBS with no underwriter intervention. The remaining policies take no more than 5 minutes per underwriter. We are reviewing the reasons policies have been referred to underwriters and are editing some UW rules to improve flow-through and increase service to the insureds.

The Benefits

This technology has many benefits for our broker partners, for Trillium, and for Policyholders. Some of the key benefits are:

  • In 2015, our farm premium written has increased by 15%, far more than many of our direct competitors.
  • Brokers can obtain an accurate quote in minutes for farm policies.
  • Improved turnaround time for new business submissions.
  • Improved policy holder service.
  • A policy submitted directly by the broker, is printed the next day and downloaded with the edoc format at the same time.
  • Pre-filled CSIO application form and CSIO payment authorization forms that can be printed directly from the portal.
  • Payment schedule is displayed immediately.
  • Underwriting rules are applied consistently.
  • Our back-end system contains all of the information on the application.
  • Postal codes are verified and generate address details in the Canada Post format.
  • Supports a true paperless environment.
  • Combined with previous technology, brokers can now upload Automobile, Property and Farm lines of business.

The Impact

In addition to the improvements in accuracy, in policyholder satisfaction, and in broker engagement, the same number of staff process more business, more accurately. Policies are issued faster with consistent underwriting.

Our underwriting staff focus on more complex issues, as the system saves them time. For instance, 47% of our policies were automatically underwritten, allowing straight through processing for those that pass the underwriting criteria.

And what about for brokers? Jeff Gerber, Agri business UW Manager with Zehr Insurance Brokers had this to say:

“Utilizing this new tool has been an easy transition for our brokers. It is easy to use. The technology allows us to save time in our quoting process, alleviates pressure on our UW’s and most importantly delivers new business to our clients at an accelerated rate. From quote to new business submissions, the transfer of data is accurate and time efficient. Nice touch on being able to save the quotes for an extended period of time. This saves enormous time on re-quoting … The ability to make simple changes to the quote and get an immediate premium is a major value added as our customers want to know about different scenarios and premium change strategies immediately.”

About Trillium

Located in Listowel, Ontario, Trillium Mutual is a strong and well-capitalized Mutual Insurer. We provide best in class Farm and Agri-Business Insurance Solutions alongside products servicing Personal Lines Customers.

We compete against numerous national insurers, and to succeed we must continually provide value to our policyholders. Our investments in technology must be well priced, and deliver measurable benefits to our operations, to our broker partners, and to our policyholders.

Trillium Mutual was formed on January 1, 2004, as a result of the merger of Formosa Mutual and Elma Mutual. Our 2014 gross premium written exceeded $40 million for the first time in our history.

Source: Trillium Mutual Insurance Company

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