Seattle--Safeco announced it is once again expanding the product breadth available on its single-platform online sales center Safeco Now.  In a breakthrough move for small-business insurance sales, the company has introduced functionality allowing independent distributors to quote and issue commercial multi-peril (CMP) policies in as little as five minutes.

"We are the first company to offer CMP over a fully automated online sales platform," says Mike Hughes, senior vice president of Safeco Business Insurance.  "We're offering split-rated property and liability coverages over the same easy-to-use system agents currently use to sell seven other Safeco products."

The introduction of 96 classes onto Safeco Now is modest compared to the approximately 1,000 classes of packaged business the company offers.  More classes will be introduced in 2005.  However, the initial rollout contains classes never before covered by Safeco - including home-based businesses, consultants and manufacturers representatives.  And it makes Safeco Now ( the broadest online property and casualty (P&C) sales platform in the industry, covering:

· businessowners
· commercial auto (fleet/non-fleet)
· workers compensation
· business umbrella
· commercial multi-peril
· personal auto
· homeowners
· surety

Each of the products can be quoted and issued in as few as five minutes.  Because they reside on the same sales platform, a distributor can seamlessly transfer information from one P&C policy application to another, improving ease of cross-selling.

Independent agents in 13 states received access to the new functionality today.  Two more phases of roll out are scheduled for Jan. 25, 2005, and March 22, 2005. "Agents asked for improvements in product breadth, pricing sophistication and technological advancement.  We're delivering on those requests," said Hughes. 

The company also is expanding its small-business coverage eligibility for its Ultra Specialty Services program to $15 million.  Previously, accounts with higher than $3 million in annual sales had to be referred to an underwriter. "With these enhancements, Safeco gives its independent agents the ability to win larger accounts, while still using the same, easy-to-use Safeco Now technology they access every day," Hughes added.

Safeco, in business since 1923, is a Fortune 500 property and casualty company that sells auto, home and small-business insurance through independent agents and brokers nationwide.  The company's mission is to make the experience of buying, selling and owning insurance easier than anyone else.



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