Business travelers confront unique risks and exposures when traveling outside the United States, and a lack of risk awareness or decision to self-insure can lead to significant financial, operational and reputational risks. But the small commercial insurance buyers don’t always have the necessary information to apply for an international package policy to manage those risks, and neither do the agents and brokers typically serving domestic small commercials.

Sensing the opportunity to simplify the submission process and expand into a new market, ACE Commercial Risk Services created, an online platform offering international travel package insurance to U.S. businesses, schools and church groups traveling outside the country. The platform was designed to reduce the time and effort it takes clients to gather relevant information, as well as the expense for coverage.

“Many producers, particularly those specializing in the domestic business owners policy and package space, may not have the specialized knowledge or resources to address the risks of international travel or identify the specific policies to manage and cover those risks,” says Tim Benson, SVP of ACE Commercial Risk Services. “We listened to our producers and, based on their feedback, created ACEAdvantage.Net to address the challenges producers face in selling international package policies to small commercial customers.”

For producers, these challenges can result in potential errors and omissions exposures, a failure to maximize the potential revenue base of a client into additional lines of business, and the risk that a competitor can identify a gap in coverage and leverage that to take over a client relationship, Benson says. features just seven questions, including five that require a “yes” or “no” answer, to reach an underwriting decision in less than 10 minutes, Benson says. The site features a step-by-step process, with drop-down menus and checklists, which enable users easily to identify pre-qualifying customer information, appropriate risk levels and preferred billing methods.

“ACEAdvantage.Net allows our agents and brokers to quote and issue an international package policy for qualified accounts in less time than it normally takes to complete a standard international package submission,” says Joe Vanderhoff, ACE Commercial Risk Services VP. “It provides yet another distribution outlet and fits seamlessly into our current strategy of providing real-world solutions.”

The platform provides a core international package policy, including employers’ responsibility with executive assistance services, international AD&D with medical, and contingent auto liability coverage, and helps agents and brokers can quickly find the best policy, determine associated risk variables, and accurately price the policy to meet the customers’ specific needs, Benson explains.

“Even when producers are positioned to address their clients’ risks in the small commercial market, and their clients are engaged in better managing the risks, they have standard-minimum premiums that may be cost prohibitive,” Benson says. “As a result, buyers may have been compelled to self-insure their risk.”

To counter those objections, offers reduced premiums. At $1,250, they are half the industry standard of $2,500, Benson says, and ACE increased commissions to as much as 20 percent for agents and brokers.

Among the most important capabilities is a sales interview tool that can help agents and brokers identify potential client risks, articulate claims scenarios and offer a direct link to the ACEAdvantage.Net product solution. It also includes a referral process for accounts that do not qualify; a dedicated new business team to assist them in the underwriting process; and an immediate policy and traveler ID card issuance available at binding.

“ACEAdvantage.Net was built as part of ACE’s proprietary ACE Solutions platform and seamlessly integrates with all of ACE’s systems,” Vanderhoff says, and it was architected and designed solely in-house. “It’s another example of how innovative use of the Web and internal systems can deliver real value to firms and their clients.”

Bob Violino is a business editor and writer based in New York.

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