Cumberland Insurance’s Web Services Increase Agent Satisfaction
Client:Cumberland Insurance Group
- Make it easier for independent agents to write business with the company over the Web
- CSC’s POINT IN and Agency Link software, supporting real-time services to agents and customers and fully integrated processing
- Achieved threefold increase in quoting and new business
- Rolled out real-time rating, quoting and binding
- Integrated the Web with back-office systems
During a recent annual meeting of Cumberland Insurance Group, one of the company’s independent agents stood up to comment on Cumberland’s new Web portal. Agents are free to stand during the meeting and say whatever they like to the company’s board and senior management. So when an agent stands, everybody listens. In fact, they listen intently.
Rather than voicing a complaint, the agent praised Cumberland’s rollout of real-time quoting over the Web, telling the board, “I work with many carriers in my organization and all the big boys are here. When it comes to the ease of doing business you’re right there with them.”
Not too long before, agents were telling a different story. Writing new business for the Bridgeton, New Jersey-based carrier used to be a time-consuming process that often required follow-up calls with the agents. “Applications were faxed to our office and entered manually into the system,” recalled Rob Musick, senior vice president and CIO of Cumberland Mutual. “Our agency force told us that if you want us to continue writing new business for you, you’ll get a nice, friendly, easy-to-use connectivity piece.”
Consolidating Core Systems
Cumberland was using three different policy administration systems — POINT and two others. “Believe it or not, for some of the smaller lines of business, people were rating using Excel spreadsheets, so our challenge was to try to integrate those into one system,” Musick recalled.
The company chose to consolidate the systems with POINT IN, recognizing its ability to fully integrate policy administration, billing, claims, and especially CSC’s Agency Link software. Under Musick’s leadership, Cumberland expanded its Web presence through Agency Link by adding additional lines of business such as personal auto in three states and interfacing the software with several third-party packages to give the agents the tools they need to succeed.
“We quickly came to terms with the fact that CSC was the vendor of choice and POINT IN was the product of choice,” Musick said. “Some of these other vendors, after I started looking at them, I’d swear they were running their business out of a garage. The level of service and support was pretty lacking.”
Ease of use in the Internet age is, in fact, a stand-up matter. It’s how business happens. Hundreds of insurance agents represent more than 130,000 Cumberland policyholders in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Today, in addition to performing inquiries over the Web, those agents can get real-time rating, quoting and even binding of new policies online. The entire new business process is dramatically shorter for the agents — in some cases cutting several days out of the process, according to Musick.
Driving Growth and Agent Satisfaction
With certain underwriting tasks built into the process, Cumberland’s Web portal automatically checks the applicant’s credit score as part of the quoting process, ensuring that agents get fast and accurate quotes.
Cumberland has also leveraged Agency Link to provide quotes through XML interfaces to third-party Web sites such as Vertafore’s PL Rater and EZLynx. Once a quote is accepted, the agent is bridged to Cumberland’s Web portal to complete the application and automatically order additional reports such as MVR and CLUE.
As a result of these improvements to the auto quoting process, the number of quotes submitted — and new business policies written — nearly tripled from the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2010.
“We definitely have seen an increase in new business submissions,” added Musick. “And while our new business has grown, the amount of policies we touch coming in the door has dramatically decreased, allowing us to allocate those resources to other places.”
Cumberland Insurance’s focus on agents is paying off in the market. According to a 2009 Professional Insurance Agents survey that rated 77 insurance companies in the Northeast region, agents gave Cumberland Insurance outstanding reviews for customer satisfaction. The company scored sixth overall in the highly competitive state of New Jersey.
Getting Value from the CSC Community
Looking ahead, Cumberland is also planning to move to the C.0 version of POINT IN, so it can take advantage of CSC’s Continuous Delivery process. It will help solve a problem most insurance companies face — finding time to perform periodic system upgrades amid the many requests for new enhancements.
“With the implementation of C.0 and Continuous Delivery,” said Musick, “we’re going to be able to upgrade the system, get all of the enhancements agents want to see but in smaller segments. So that type of work is done behind the scenes — not in one large implementation of the system.”
Cumberland Mutual also actively works with the POINT IN community on ways to enhance CSC’s products. With more than 100 carriers all using the same system, Musick said he values the collaboration with other users.
At a recent CSC conference, for example, he happened to mention that he was looking into setting up a project management office to handle IT requests. Another IT manager at the event who had just implemented a project management office offered to forward all of the policies and procedures for the new program.
“When you get that type of support from the user community, it’s just amazing,” Musick said. “Everyone likes to think they’re special and what they’re doing is unique, but in reality we’re all dealing with the same issues. It’s great to have peers in a community who are going through the same things you are.”