Posted on 12 Apr 2013 by Neilson
Data exchange between excess and surplus lines wholesalers and carriers is difficult and expensive. This has to change if the industry is going to grow and successfully meet changing customer needs.
That was a key message sent by members of the E&S Joint Working Group to attendees of the American Association of Managing General Agents' (AAMGA) 2013 Automation & Technology Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The lack of data exchange standards has led to custom, one-off solutions between carriers and general agents, according to the group. These individual approaches are not only costly and time consuming when quoting through multiple markets, they can also increase error rates as data is re-keyed in numerous formats.
Since forming in 2008, the group has sought to further the standards-based electronic exchange of information in the E&S market by facilitating discussion and interaction among carriers, general agents and vendors and showcasing real-world demonstrations of what it is trying to achieve.
As an example, the group reported its members successfully built and finalized an XML standard to exchange rate and form information for commercial general liability late last year. Thanks to close collaboration with ACORD, they were able to move from proof-of-concept to an approved standard in January this year, just six months' time.
The group is also working to achieve real-time data exchange between retail and general agents based on ACORD standards. In a proof-of-concept "round trip rating" demonstration for conference attendees using ACORD XML, data moved seamlessly from a retail agent to a general agent, then to an E&S carrier and finally back to the general and retail agents' systems with a quote that included coverage information along with applicable endorsements and exclusions.
Group co-chair Angelyn Treutel of SouthGroup Insurance praised the cooperation among a growing number of E&S industry participants for the organization's progress to date.
"This war on keystrokes will make the industry better able to do what it does best, which is serving customers," she said. "And the timing could not be better given current market conditions."
Mike Roy of Risk Placement Services and also a group co-chair said the organization encourages additional industry involvement and is launching a new website (www.ESJWG.org) to help tell its story and attract even broader support.
"What started as a small step toward more efficiency has quickly turned into a promising new approach for rate, rating and forms data to be exchanged," he said. "The capability to build a single interface, using industry-defined standards, saves time and expenses."
For more information on the E&S Joint Working Group and to become a member of one or more of its subgroups, contact Cal Durland at ACORD (firstname.lastname@example.org).
About The E&S Joint Working Group (ESJWG): The group is an alliance of carriers, agents and vendors working with AAMGA, ACORD, ACT and NAPSLO. Its mission is to improve the efficiencies for retail agents, general agents, wholesale brokers and carriers by promoting use of ACORD standards, best-practice workflows and the electronic exchange of data among each of the business partners. The group comprises retail agent/general agent, carrier and Lloyd's subgroups. www.ESJWG.org