Three insurance companies, AssureStart, an affiliate of American Family, ingenie and Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange, were recognized by IT advisory firm Strategy Meets Action with SMA Innovation in Action awards.

In addition, insurance technology supplier EagleView Technologies was given an SMA Innovation in Action Provider Award.

The SMA Innovation in Action awards – which were present earlier this week at SMA’s annual Summit event in Boston – are given to carriers that have successfully undertaken next-generation technology projects in the past year and that Strategy Meets Action (SMA) analysts deem innovative, transformative and that “demonstrate game-changing results.” 

AssureStart, which specialized in small- and mid-size business insurance, deployed a cloud-based direct-to-small-business platform. The system allows owners to get quotes and purchase policies in five minutes. It also allows small businesses to have immediate access to their declarations page and certificates of insurance.

The system lowered the cost of delivering services to small business by 10-20 percent, according to SMA.

“I love that it’s commercial line. I love that its cloud,” said SMA Partner Karen Furtado. “They really thought outside the box.”

Ingenie, which specializes in car insurance for drivers under 25 years old, won its award for a telematics project that offers young drivers pay-as-you-go car insurance. The telematics system monitors new drivers and provides feedback on driving habits. But one of the features that separates this project from other usage-based driving systems is the service behind it.  The company’s call center is staffed by 17- to 24-year-olds. So when customers call, or are contacted by, the service center, they’re talking with a peer,  which – especially if there’s a driver warning coming –  the company believes can be more effective than talking to someone the customer may viewed as more a parent or guardian.  Among the participant in the young-drivers’ program, claims frequency and serious driving alerts are down significantly and good driver discounts have climbed substantially, according to SMA.

“This is something to watch,” said Furtado.

Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE), which serves high-net worth customers, was cited for building one of the most modern self-service portals SMA has seen.  The system provides access to important policy documents and billing information, and, according to SMA, “enhances the claims process through real-time information aggregation.” PURE built the system using response design techniques and, as such, it can adapt to all computer form factors. In building the system, PURE utilized a number of innovative technologies, according to SMA, including cloud technology and data aggregation that pulls core policy and claims information into a data warehouse. The portal was developed in four months using agile development techniques.  The system is, according to Furtado, “outstanding in so many different ways.”

SMA also gave a Provider Award to EagleView Technologies for its risk visualization system for property inspections. The Risk Visualization Solution (RVS) combines high-definition aerial imagery measurements and data with public records to give carriers a comprehensive data set on a single property, which can then be used for claims and underwriting. RVS gives carriers that ability to “give the right rate at the right risk,” according to Furtado.

The carrier winners were chosen by SMA analysts. The winner of the Provider Award was chosen by SMA Insurer Forum, a community of insurance company decision makers and influencers.

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