Chris Mower didn't want to spend a lot of time-or money-building a Web portal for independent agents. But those restrictions didn't prevent him and Royal & Sun Alliance's Professional & Financial Risks Division from developing a comprehensive offering that is designed to develop new revenue streams, improve productivity by eliminating manual processes and help small-business clients understand management liability exposures."The business model, which we validated with customer feedback, was to create a way to distribute products through new channels without creating channel conflict," says Mower, manager of e-business solutions for Royal & Sun Alliance's ProFin division based in St. Louis. "It was about re-inventing existing processes and taking advantage of new technologies."

Last December, one year after Mower's group began conducting market research to validate the business model's goals, client perceptions, pricing and processes, the ProFin division launched its Business Assurance Center at As planned, the portal not only supports full transactional services for independent agents-from online quotes to binding policies-it also provides agents with educational and loss-prevention information to help clients better understand complex management liability products such as employment practices liability insurance.

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