Commonwell empowers brokerages with real-time quote and bind

A 2020 ICTA nomination

Toronto, ON (Jan. 6, 2020) – To drive innovation, The Commonwell partnered with Deloitte InsurCloud, in implementing a core systems modernization project with Guidewire Insurance Suite, Datahub and InfoCentre across all lines of business, under budget and ahead of schedule. As part of the implementation, The Commonwell launched new business upload for residential, personal auto, commercial auto and miscellaneous vehicles, branded Commonwell Connect.

Commonwell Connect

Understanding the Problem

As we developed the foundation of our technology transformation, we focused on understanding the current-state problems of new business handling, both at a broker as well as member (policyholder) lens which resulted in the development of Commonwell Connect new business connectivity for brokers.

Commonwell Connect provides seamless integration from broker quoting vendor system, broker management system and our Guidewire system. Our Go-live incorporated a number of vendors and we continue to develop and roll-out the Commonwell Connect platform across all Broker Management Systems and quoting vendors.

Quotation Accuracy

Pre-Commonwell Connect, our rates were programmed separately within our legacy system and each of the quoting vendor systems. This manual approach led to inefficiencies in rate changes and risk to rating discrepancies due to manual errors in programming across the various platforms. As new policies were submitted, rating discrepancies were found leading to re-rating at new business, creating broker and member disengagement, or re-rating at the next renewal which led to premium leakage and/or risk misclassification in the first year.

With Commonwell Connect, the Commonwell rate structure is calculated real-time and integrated with quoting vendors to provide brokers with accurate quotes at point of quote through developed APIs (application program interfaces). Further, the various risk integrations within our Guidewire system (overland flood model, geo-coding of risks) are also exposed through the API to ensure proper risk classification for product and pricing eligibility.

Process Inefficiencies

Pre-Commonwell Connect, brokers would be required to submit full and completed application as well as supporting documentation either via email, fax or traditional mail. Underwriters receiving these submissions were then required to review and manually enter the data into our legacy system. The manual process led to delays in processing, where policyholders and brokers commonly found weeks of delay from initial binding of the policy to receipt of policy documents.

The need for keying of data by underwriters also exposes risk to keying errors, leading to rating and/or risk inaccuracies, name spelling errors and incorrect address inputs.

With Commonwell Connect, brokerages are empowered with real-time quoting and new business upload with no double entry of data. Policies are bound as quoted with real-time underwriting messages and ability to refer risks to underwriters digitally. There is no further need with document transfer from brokerage to insurer. Front end integrations also validate data entry, including location validation.

Whether the brokerage’s internal process supports real time quote and bind at producer level or whether they support a portal team approach, Commonwell Connect has been designed to accommodate either structure.

Member (Policyholder) Experience Impact

Pre-Commonwell Connect, the legacy processes created disengaging member (and broker) experiences, as noted above, including lack of timeliness in policy issuance, rating inaccuracies and clerical errors. One of the key issues directly impacting members was the impact to policy payments, specifically monthly payment policies. Due to the elongated process of new business submission from broker to insurer and issuance to the policyholder, it was not uncommon for the first term of the policy to have the number of bank withdrawal deductions reduced to 10 or 9 withdrawals. While the annual premium remained as quoted, because there were fewer months available for withdrawal, the actual deduction was higher than anticipated. Even at point of sale, brokers were unable to provide the basic piece of mind to consumers as to when the first deduction would be and what the amount was.

With Commonwell Connect, brokerages are empowered with the enablement with real time quote and bind capabilities providing them the ability to consul the client on confirmed coverage, premium and deduction amounts with accuracy. Further, tokenization of credit card information has been developed to ensure security of consumer information. As policies are bound, CSIO download and E-docs are send near real-time (within the hour) and policy documents are printed and issued the following day.

Roll-out Methodology

As part of our roll-out strategy, we were sensitive to ensuring that there were no disruptions to our broker partners’ operations. As such, we created a Commonwell Concierge roll-out approach where we created a team including business and IT personnel to onboard one brokerage at a time. We onboarded one user within the brokerage, testing system versions and connectivity before onboarding the remaining brokerage team. The strategy was a success, leading to significant positive feedback from our broker partners.

Business Impact

Commonwell Connect has demonstrated immediate realization throughout the organization in key areas, including:

Member Experience

Significant gains in efficiencies and accuracy in Underwriting provides a more seamless flow of policy submissions, with increased accuracy in rating and policy fulfillment issuance providing members with increased responsiveness and a much more consumer-friendly approach to policy fulfillment. Policy fulfillment documents are now issued next day as opposed to the previous standard of 10+ business days. With the ability to quote and bind same day, there have been a significant decrease in bumped payment schedules and first draw NSFs (non-sufficient funds) transactions.

Broker Distribution Experience

Through the integration of Guidewire and the broker quoting tool, broker users have access to premiums calculated directly through Guidewire PolicyCenter, including supporting integrations for data and coverage accuracy real-time.

The broker connectivity implemented provides the broker user a seamless single sign-on journey from their broker management system into Guidewire and empowers them to enhance their role as trusted advocate with the technology tools of direct writers to deliver a once and done experience to new policyholders. Policy fulfillment documents are e-doc’ed to brokerages the same day and mailed to members the next day. For monthly pay policies, we have eliminated any guess work on the number of deductions and the amount of deductions through this process.

To date, while only through a short time period and a staggered onboarding approach we have already witnessed a 56% uptake on usage of Commonwell Connect from eligible brokerages. The usage continues to climb significantly week to week.

Underwriter Experience

As brokerages continue to utilize the Commonwell Connect offering, the number of new business policies requiring underwriter touch has significantly decreased. As noted below, 56% of new business policies are now flowing through without underwriter reaction, providing underwriters capacity to underwrite more complex files, and more importantly, freeing up underwriter time to devote to broker relationship building.

About The Commonwell

The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group is a mutual insurance company founded in the late 1800s and rebranded in 2014 through the amalgamation of Farmers Mutual Insurance (Lindsay), Lanark Mutual Insurance and Glengarry Mutual Insurance. While the formation of The Commonwell initiated to respond to the needs of farmers to protect their property from fire, The Commonwell expanded as a member-focused insurer, increasing their writings over other lines of business including commercial and personal lines.

Recently, The Commonwell set a goal to significantly increase its membership and premium growth, while simultaneously increasing high standards of member value, broker experience, and employee engagement. As part of the transformation, The Commonwell launched Commonwell Connect for new business, backed by Guidewire PolicyCentre.

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Source: The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group

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