Worchester, Mass. - The Hanover Insurance Group Inc., a regional property/casualty company based in Worchester, Mass., is offering Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) bonds through the company’s online point-of-sale system, BONDirect. The federal government’s ERISA bonds protect employee benefit plans against losses caused by fraud and dishonesty committed by employee trustees.

Using BONDirect enables agent partners to rate, quote and issue ERISA bonds within minutes—instead of hours, according to The Hanover.

“Independent agents very often are faced with a time-consuming, paper-intensive process when securing ERISA bonds for their clients,” says Stephen Brault, assistant vice president of fidelity bonds at The Hanover. “To address that challenge, we have developed one of the most user-friendly, Web-based, transactional tools on the market, helping our valued agent partners save time and money.”

The ERISA Act requires every fiduciary of an employee benefit plan and every person who manages funds or other property of such a plan to be bonded with specific coverage limits.

Accessed through The Hanover’s convenient portal, The Agency Place, BONDirect also enables key agent partners to quote, issue and print a variety of commercial surety bond business online. To further minimize paperwork for agents, BONDirect also enables clients to be billed directly for cancelable bonds purchased through the system.

The Hanover’s introduction of ERISA bonds online is one of many changes the company has made to provide better service to its agent partners. It enhanced its homeowners quoting and issuance process, making it easier for its agent partners to do business. It implemented distinct and separate quote and issuance processes and introduced screens that are easier to read and navigate. The simplified homeowners screens were recently piloted with in Connecticut and Virginia, and include homes, condominiums and tenants policies.

Other improvements include helpful links for cross selling anable agents to easily offer additional policies such as second home, auto or umbrella and improved navigation and "help" icon efficiently answers agent questions.

Hanover also provides a link to the Marshall & Swift/Boeckh Replacement Cost Estimator, to help foster agent/customer discussions about the adequacy of their coverage.

The enhancements, which were made based on direct feedback from agent partners, should cut the time it takes to quote a policy by 30% and reduce the number of accounts referred to an underwriter, reports the company.

Source: The Hanover Insurance Group Inc. and
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