Commercial lines pricing continues to firm. An average commercial rate increased 4.4 percent in the first half of 2012 compared with a 1.5-percent decline for the same period in 2011, according to the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB). Commercial lines insurers saw premium growth of 5.6 percent for the first half of 2012.

As growth initiatives abound, commercial carriers are focusing on expense reduction, growth strategies, and improving underwriting results, and four technology priorities can help these insurers achieve these, according to a recent Novarica report. In its “Business and Technology Trends: Commercial Lines” report, Novarica advises CIOs and business executives to consider the following issues and approaches:

Business Intelligence. Start with a data-quality initiative. Look at data warehousing, operational data stores and appropriate data marts. Then overlay a business intelligence tool.

Policy Administration Systems. Look for highly configurable solutions with product configurators, simple rules and tools for launching new rating algorithms, and the ability for the business to make their own modifications.

Claims Administration Systems. Modern systems enable improved claims processing and improved data lead to better outcome management.

Agent and Policyholder Portals. Real-time upload, download and data translation deliver reduced costs of processing and improved data quality and turnaround time.

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