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Homesite Group Inc. receives Underwriting and Pricing Award.

Boston-based Homesite Group Inc. developed a creative strategy to address frustrating structural problems inherent in the homeowners product. The answer was found in the creation of a Business Geographic Underwriting system using GIS technology and a rules-based expert underwriting system. This allowed the company to improve the accuracy and efficiency of its underwriting process, and resulted in overall improvement in the underwriting of its portfolio of homeowners policies.

The company was named the recipient of this year's E-Fusion Award for Underwriting and Pricing.

Business Geographic Underwriting is able to precisely locate a home's location relative to defined geographic hazards such as distance from a coastline or a brush fire zone. Other factors such as sink holes, soil type, distance from fire protection and windstorm risk factors are also part of the system.

Homesite worked with a software vendor to integrate multiple system platforms to create an efficient and accurate underwriting system. One of the platforms works specifically with the address given by the customer. "This system standardizes all of Homesite's clients' addresses to postal specifications prior to quoting. That allows us then to get a longitude-latitude fix on each home's location; location precision is critical," said Manuel Rios, vice president and chief underwriter.

Another key component of the system electronically validates client location information during the quote process. "Before clients get too deep into the quoting process, we're able to underwrite the location of the home relative to known geo-hazard areas, and are thus able to efficiently geo-underwrite the risk in real time," said Rios. Homesite can also better understand exposure and concentration in any given geographic area.

The system, which Rios calls the "cornerstone of our risk evaluation system" can even enable the company to get a rooftop geocode, which is a higher level of location accuracy. "That level of accuracy will allow us to develop focused risk management strategies, giving us the ability to have a detailed understanding and view of the risks in our portfolio. Ultimately, we have the flexibility to deploy creative risk management measures, allowing us to better serve our customers and maintain the integrity of our portfolio," said Rios.

Other finalists for the E-Fusion Award for Underwriting and Pricing were:

Companion Property & Casualty Insurance Group, Columbia, S.C., has automated the submission, rating, underwriting, pricing and issuing of business auto policies through a Web-based application called Once and Done Business Auto. Once and Done also validates VIN numbers and obtains drivers' histories online.

New York-based Magna Carta Cos. has created an Exposure Management and Analysis Project, which gives the company's underwriting department a real-time, geographic analysis of exposure based on in-force policies. Every quote generated in the policy management system automatically generates a street-level, PDF map with existing policy locations highlighted and the associated total exposure--for property and for workers' compensation--within a half-mile of the quotation location.

Western & Southern Financial Group of Cincinnati uses its Claims and Life Underwriting Experience (CLUE) life insurance database to provide a variety of automated and routine underwriting audits. Every month, the audit database runs through tens of thousands of new life applications and generates pass/fail notifications by a host of attributes.

Zurich North America, Schaumburg, Ill., has captured all of its underwriting guidance and information into the Web-based Underwriting Knowledge Management suite. The suite, which includes roughly 2,700 active pages, provides underwriting guidelines, best practices, the profitability outlook for Zurich's casualty lines, information on form and rate exemptions by state, and state-specific underwriting information.
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Title Annotation:Technology
Publication:Best's Review
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Previous Article:Royal & SunAlliance Canada receives P/C Agent Award.
Next Article:Selective Insurance receives Productivity Management Award.

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