Before 1996, The St. Paul Cos. was a paper-pushing insurance company like any other. Unlike most of its counterparts, St. Paul took the technology plunge in the mid-1990s and has been floating with the currents of change ever since.It was in 1995 that the nearly 150-year-old commercial property/liability insurer began the mammoth task of creating a more efficient, automated means of delivering policy information to its army of independent agents.

"Before, our agents sent (paper) applications to us," says Charles Coon, assistant vice president in charge of application development at the St. Paul, Minn.-based insurer. "Service was poor. If something was processed within 90 days that was considered good."

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