Playing like the big guys
XDTI's SubmissionSuite enables wholesalers and program administrators to take products seamlessly to the Web
By Nancy Doucette
Andrew Wilson, ARM, couldn't avoid it. He was genetically predisposed to busting processing bottlenecks. His dad is a Six Sigma Black Belt for an auto manufacturer. "He's a master of operations," the young Wilson says. "Growing up in an atmosphere where dinner table conversation sometimes focused on those kinds of issues, it was ingrained in my mind."
While attending Middle Tennessee State and working on his finance degree with a concentration in insurance, Wilson interned at Witherspoon & Associates where he could combine his scuba diving hobby with his growing insurance knowledge. Witherspoon specializes in dive centers, charter boats and professional liability for dive instructors. All of Witherspoon's policies were written through Lloyd's, Wilson explains. That proved to be bad news when 9/11 hit. "The liability capacity was no longer there for diving risks, so a large portion of the dive program was lost," he recalls.
After graduation, Wilson went to work for a carrier, sharpening his risk management and underwriting skills.
Subsequently, Witherspoon was able to restore its offerings through Lloyd's and with that, Wilson returned to the agency. Today he is vice president/COO and director of the scuba department.
As part of Witherspoon's recovery, the agency started using XDimensional Technologies' Nexsure management system. Wilson saw this as an opportunity to ramp up Witherspoon's use of technology to better service clients and improve internal efficiency. Entering application information into the Nexsure system seemed redundant, he reasoned, given that the applicant should be able to complete the application online and that data should then flow into Nexsure. "We needed to figure out a way to break that bottleneck and get the information into our system more efficiently and still protect the data itself," Wilson remembers.
Conversations with XDimensional Technologies, Inc. (XDTI), President Bob Juracka followed. As it happened, XDTI had a "back burner" project that had been awaiting client need, Juracka says, so with Witherspoon's interest, XDTI completed development of its SubmissionSuite. With it, the agency would be able to have the applications for the agency's unique lines of business available at the agency's Web site (www.scubains.com) and from there, data could flow into the Nexsure system.
Capturing unique data
As a SubmissionSuite subscriber, Witherspoon worked with XDTI to create the custom forms for the agency's various lines of business: individual dive professional liability, dive store owner/operator, dive boat owner/operator, and individual free diving professional liability applications. Wilson says the forms are modeled after an ACORD form as far as the layout is concerned but all the questions are specific to the dive risks. "There's no ACORD Dive Store form," he says with a laugh.
"Nexsure has always been capable of automating nonstandard insurance products—without regard for the sophistication or size of the product line," Juracka explains. "When we tackle a custom line of business, it looks, feels, and acts exactly like an ACORD standard line. All the data in this custom line of business is servable to our Word integration for the proposal preparation. No other management system has ever done that with nonstandard lines," he states.
In developing the online policy applications, Wilson says SubmissionSuite provides him the flexibility and tools to simplify the language and structure of the application to make it truly user friendly for the dive enthusiasts who visit the Witherspoon Web site.
And while this differentiates Witherspoon, Wilson says it also streamlines the internal workflow because the data that is collected via those online applications is Nexsure data. No more duplicate entry. "We've grown about 600% in the last three years and have half as many employees," Wilson reports. "SubmissionSuite has allowed us to not replace people as they leave."
A new submission via SubmissionSuite goes into the submissions queue in Nexsure, Juracka explains. The individual assigned to that particular program is notified via e-mail or free mobile app. At the same time, the online prospect is automatically sent an e-mail containing merge variables that makes it look like someone in the agency keyed in that e-mail but in fact it's a template that was part of the initial setup.
The system also includes an e-mail for submitters who, for whatever reason, don't successfully complete the submission. They are able to resume their work where they left off so they don't have to start the process all over again.
SubmissionSuite's utilization console provides a dashboard screen by program so a wholesaler, for instance, can tell how many submissions came in, how many were never completed, and how many were issued. It can also reveal if a significant number of incomplete submissions were from one agent. Juracka says this provides the wholesaler "a great opportunity to pick up the phone and offer some training. You have absolute oversight of the data so you can do something with it."
Juracka points out that in addition to benefiting shops like Witherspoon that want to create an online submission capability for prospects, SubmissionSuite can also help wholesalers that want to streamline submissions for retailers, as well as retail agencies that want to offer input capabilities to staff—such as producers or receptionists—who may not regularly work in Nexsure. He says retail agencies are also using SubmissionSuite so they can have an online application that contains whatever level of detail they want in order to generate a new prospect record in Nexsure.
"In SubmissionSuite, it's generally just the basics: client name, primary contact, location and maybe a few questions that are germane to a line of business," Juracka says.
Juracka says there's another feature of Nexsure that sets it apart. "To date it's the only true cloud-based agency management system." With a Web-based management system in place, customers like Witherspoon can readily launch a completely Web-based initiative for online submissions.
"Cloud computing is a term that is over-used and misused," he points out. "To qualify as a cloud computing solution, there cannot be a local software component. Systems can meet the ASP threshold by 'hosting' your system. But typically the end user has to have software that's a locally installed and maintained piece.
"To be 'cloud,' there's no local software," Juracka emphasizes. "So just Internet Explorer—or another browser for that matter—is required for Nexsure; there's nothing that gets loaded or maintained on the end user's desktop."
Witherspoon's Wilson says Nexsure and SubmissionSuite being cloud-based is "a beautiful thing. If you're trying to expand your operation, you don't have to invest a lot in different blades or server rooms. All you need is an Internet connection."
But wait, there's more
Juracka says there's an optional add-on to SubmissionSuite: the Nexsure Underwriting Editor—a rules engine that provides underwriting and pricing. "Here we go deep into the manufacturing of insurance mindset, as opposed to the sales and distribution of it," he begins. "This is the second gear of SubmissionSuite—a true rules engine wired into a line of business—whether that line is standard or custom. Having all that automation wired into that line of business means that now the submitter gets a user-friendly online application to complete and a quote indication in real time."
He says Nexsure isn't a rating vendor. Rather, Nexsure provides organizations that hold the pen with the tools they need to manage the rating rules and the rates themselves if there are updates to the rating tables that the rates refer to.
"Only mega organizations with mega lines of business that generate huge amounts of premium have ever tapped into rules engines for underwriting and pricing," Juracka states. "Now any size program can rationalize a SubmissionSuite subscription with rating and get out of the world of manually doing it or trying to transpose data over to Excel to do pricing. SubmissionSuite can bring all that to a line of business within the system."
Juracka acknowledges that the Underwriting Editor requires more training than SubmissionSuite, and that's why he refers to it as the second gear. During the two days of training, he says XDTI helps organizations tackle their first and second programs. He says the trainee is typically the person who was handling the manual underwriting.
He concludes by noting that Nexsure, SubmissionSuite and the Underwriting Editor are easier on the budget than many might expect. "People can plan on dropping one or two zeroes off other quotes they've received," he says.
For more information:
XDimensional Technologies, Inc.
Web site: www.xdimensional.com