Oregon Mutual Insurance (OMI) has been named winner of the 2012 Technology Innovation Award for the development of its MiAgents iPad application, which converts routine agency visits into a call to action that is relevant at the moment for the carrier and the agency. The award is sponsored by Ward Group and IASA.

OMI’s Bryan Fowler, vice president of IT for OMI, was presented the award Tuesday morning at the general session by Beth Mercier, CIO for IASA and vice president for Travelers, and Jeffrey Rieder, partner for Ward Group.

“The judging committee was impressed by OMI’s innovative way of changing the conversations with their independent agents,” says Rieder. “The MiAgents application drives new business growth and retention in this competitive marketplace. They have found a way to quantify subjective agency visits into actionable field intelligence utilized to manage strategic decisions.”

MiAgents devotes attention to one of the most critical business functions: the carrier/agency partnership, according to Rieder. MiAgents gives agents and marketing representatives early warning information on key business components that affect their book of business, such as renewals, production alerts, and large-loss information.

The application allows OMI to manage their agents and to measurably help agents be successful in their business, according to Rieder. The application gives marketing the power to turn routine agency visits into actionable business-building meetings, with information that is relevant at the moment. The application also strengthens OMI’s relationship with their agency force. 

The automation of operational alerts allows OMI’s agents to spend more time in the field gathering intelligence about their business, products, prices, and services.  This intelligence is quantified through the MiAgents application and brought back to marketing and executive management to analyze for trends and actionable intelligence.  

The results of this project were judged by an industry panel as “innovative” and “delivering measurable business impact in the insurance industry,” according to Rieder.

The industry panel that participated in judging of the award submissions included individuals from Arrowhead Insurance Group, Tech Decisions, Insurance Networking News, Strategy Meets Action, Travelers, and Ward Group.

“This initiative shows our continued investment in the agency partnership model by providing relevant, real-time data and information, facilitating the business conversation between Oregon Mutual Insurance and our agents,” says Fowler. “By arming our marketing reps with real-time intelligence and making trip reports and field intelligence quantifiable, we are moving from under-informed agency visits to action oriented business sessions.”

Leah Hollstegge, manager for Ward Group and organizer of the judging process, reports that the 2012 competition doubled the number of entrants from last year with 20 applications presented to the committee for consideration.

“The quality of applicants is getting better every year,” says Hollstegge. “We’re also getting a more diverse group of companies. There are small and large companies. It’s a wide subset, which is something I noticed more this year than in previous years.”

Hollstegge also noticed a change in the contest submissions, with a good number of them built exclusively by the entrants.

“When we started this contest seven years ago it was mainly vendor submissions, but now we see many more company submissions,” she says. “There is a larger number of companies that want to get their innovation recognized. It’s generally still the trend for policy and claims to be ‘buy’ solutions, but some of the applications are being built by carriers on top of those core systems.”

Additionally, the judging panel selected another submission for honorable mention in this year’s award process.  Access Insurance was awarded an honorable mention for the company’s iPad application, Access Sales Assistant, which streamlined the process of territory sales managers and redefined their workflow.