By ara c. Trembly

Orlando

Technology vendors introduced a spate of new products designed to help property-casualty carriers, agents and brokers streamline their operations and boost efficiency during the ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum here last month.

The following are capsule summaries of some of the major new cutting-edge products and services that were unveiled during the annual vendor press conference put together by ACORD and LOMA.

o Decision Research Corp. introduced “RateMaker Analyzer,” a tool the company says will enable insurers and managing general agents to “fully analyze their current books of business and perform ‘what-if’ tests of rate changes to determine the potential impact on their business.”

According to Honolulu-based Decision Research, insurers and MGAs can use the product to conduct impact assessments on their books of business, studying the effect of changes on revenue, determining risks based on demographics, and utilizing modeling to better understand retention of their current business.

With Analyzer, users can “re-rate” the entire book of business or a selected segment, compare two books of business, demonstrate the impact of rate plan changes, and distinguish segments of business by multiple variables–including territory, agent, age, gender, marital status, vehicle make and more, the company said.

The product is available as an add-on for the company’s V1STA RateMaker product (starting at $25,000 for the add-on) or as a standalone application (pricing not provided), a company spokesman noted.

o SeaPass Solutions announced an electronic service designed to streamline the work involved in moving a book of business from one carrier to another.

The “SeaPass Book of Business Service” automates processing of multiple policies taken from an existing agency management system or from another carrier’s system, said New York-based SeaPass.

“The service lets agencies and brokers identify and analyze blocks of policies for transfer, then automatically handle rating and reissuing through the new carrier, using the carrier-deployed SeaPass technology to drive an otherwise complex process,” the company noted.

The tool manages the workflow throughout the entire cycle of a book transfer, which could take more than a year to complete. “The process is more efficient, less costly and more accurate for both the agency and the carrier,” said SeaPass.

Eric Gewirtzman, president of U.S. operations for SeaPass, said pricing for a carrier differs based on line of business and specific product offering as well as tailoring of the specific internal workflows for the carrier. Typically, he noted, the price starts at around $300,000 for both the licensing and the setup fees.

o AQS Inc. introduced “AQS/advantage Product Manager,” a self-maintenance tool that allows carriers to update and manage core functions within AQS/advantage–the company’s Web-centric commercial policy administration system.

According to Hartland, Wis.-based AQS, Product Manager uses ISO IntegRater, the electronic delivery system of ISO loss costs and rating factors from the Jersey City-based Insurance Services Office Inc. Product Manager supports all commercial lines of business for all states, and allows users to manage and update rates, rules and documents within the AQS/advantage system, the company noted.

AQS/advantage is priced between $750,000 and $1.075 million, based on states and lines of business, while Product Manager adds another 15-to-20 percent to the cost, a company official said.

o Hayley Systems Inc. introduced its ACORD “Knowledge-Pak,” a pre-loaded ACORD property-casualty standard vocabulary for natural language business rules. The company said this is the first in a series of domain-specific business knowledge bases from Haley for insurance and financial services.

An add-on for HayleyAuthority (a natural language business rules authoring system), ACORD Knowledge-Pal optimizes the values of the ACORD XML standard for p-c lines of business by pre-loading ACORD standard vocabulary, according to the Pittsburgh-based Hayley.

The combination enables the system to “actually understand thousands of insurance terms and relationships out of the box,” the company added. “This allows business users to easily and rapidly author standard decision-making business rules and policies across the enterprise…in plain English.”

A spokesperson said the typical price for Knowledge-Pak ranges from $15,000-to-$45,000, depending on whether personal or commercial lines (or both) are selected as well as on the number of end-users involved.

o Duck Creek Technologies Inc. announced version 2.0 of its “Example Platform” software. The platform supports all aspects of product definition–including data capture, rating, rules, interview screens, documentation, workflow and transactions.

The enhanced product–a Microsoft .NET implementation–adds new features for managing security, integration and “the higher transaction demands of Web-enabled commercial lines insurance processing,” said Bolivar, Mo.-based Duck Creek.

The product, to be released this summer, will improve “security, performance and scalability for higher-volume carriers who are attempting to deliver Web-based commercial lines solutions to their organizations, agents and partners,” according to Duck Creek CEO Doug Roller.

A company representative said the platform’s cost ranges between $250,000 and $900,000, depending on the level of functionality required.

o ACT Update: In other news at ACORD LOMA, the Agents Council for Technology unveiled new functions and design for “ACTtech,” a Web site “to help independent agents and brokers leverage the latest real-time interface, download and other time-saving technology.”

According to the Alexandria, Va.-based ACT, ACTtech (http://www.acttech.org) is designed to give agents and brokers information that is specific to carriers’ and vendors’ systems. The information includes lines of business, transaction type and state, and can generate comparison reports for particular carriers, vendors and transactions selected by the agent.

The new site includes improved tools that carriers and vendors can use to manage their data on the site more efficiently.

There is no charge to use the site or to add their information to it, said ACT.