ESJWG Reports Progress at AAMGA

Lloyd’s Interface for Wholesale Market Noted;
Other Activities Noted for Agents, MGAs/Wholesalers, E&S Carriers

Dear E&S Colleague:

This new year has been off to a rousing start and the volunteers at ESJWG are determined to make more progress than ever in 2014 for the mutual benefit of all in the E&S business.

Your ESJWG leaders recently hosted sessions at the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) automation and technology conference on March 1 in Orlando.

The E&S industry doesn’t compete on transactions, but on products. Using a common ‘plug’ to transfer data among partners has proven successful for the standard market. It will greatly benefit the E&S market, as more transactions are brought online for agents, wholesalers and carriers alike.

ESJWG has pushed the standards-based electronic exchange of information in the E&S market in a number of productive ways. All of these efforts aim to promote universal automation and electronic exchange in the E&S insurance space.

Here’s an overview of recent progress:

Lloyd’s Subgroup

The Lloyd’s subgroup of ESJWG seeks efficiencies and standards for managing general agents (MGAs) and wholesalers working with the London market. The subgroup demonstrated a new interface for wholesale insurance business for U.S. business partners of Lloyd’s of London. The new Lloyd’s interface developed with the support of ESJWG has progressed through the proof-of-concept stage, ESJWG reported, thanks to four participants: Risk Placement Services, Arthur J. Gallagher, BinderCloud and Lucitech.

The interface generates an ACORD XML file after the coverholder (general agent) issues the policy. The system includes built-in error checking of data before transmission to Lloyd’s. The binder data is held in the bordereaux queue and generates the ACORD XML to provide an immediate billing status on all policies issued. Lloyd’s markets are increasingly recognizing the value of straight-through processing, and the new interface leverages real time ACORD XML exposure reporting along with rules and valuation to keep the worlds of brokers and coverholders in synch.

The interface provides gains in efficiency: Validation is completed at the time a transaction is processed and time is saved preparing month-end reports, while parties in the transaction get immediate access to data.

The next initiatives on the agenda for the Lloyd’s subgroup include increased data validation at time of binding; buildout of a user interface for error messages; and premium and claims reporting on a real time basis.

Retail Agent/General Agent Subgroup

The retail agent/general agent subgroup focuses on process efficiency and electronic transaction opportunities between retail agents and MGAs/wholesalers. Its recent work includes promoting adoption of electronic signatures (“eSignatures”) within the E&S business to allow clients to virtually sign a document.

ESJWG noted another development for commercial lines download success: General agents now can obtain unique national producer number (NPN) numbers for their agents and brokers. In light of significant activity in acquisitions and mergers, flexible coding allows entities to assume the NPN of the acquiring organization or retain a separate number. ESJWG also noted new functionality in activity notes allowing exchange of secured documents through batch processing. This provides 45 different transaction types allowing for the exchange of policy, claims, and marketing electronic documents that are auto-attached within the agency systems, eliminating hundreds of keystrokes.

The agent subgroup also completed a whitepaper on workflow improvement recommendations for retail/general agents; it’s available on www.ESJWG.org.

The next initiatives on the agenda for the retail/general agent subgroup will be developing FAQ and best practices workflows including a business case to encourage implement of eSignatures technology to support mobility.

Carrier Subgroup

The carrier subgroup focuses on E&S electronic rating transactions between general agents and carriers, working toward standards adoption with ACORD, and driving implementation of standards among service providers, general agents and carriers. It is working to develop and enhance ACORD standards for the needs of the E&S marketplace with the aim of improving business workflow, using standards to share data, and resisting building new custom data interfaces.

This subgroup aims to work with agents, carriers and vendors to develop a proof of concept of standardized electronic data sharing among partner systems. ESJWG reported that several models already developed moved into the production phase and improved speed and efficiency in quoting and selling transactions for the few carriers using them. The subgroup seeks more E&S carriers for similar projects. The group also is moving toward automating loss history, claims inquiry, renewal notification, and policy issuance transactions.

Leadership

ESJWG announced its 2014 leadership team:

— Lloyd’s subgroup: Tammie Miller, Risk Placement Services; Sarah Thacker, Lloyd’s of London

— Carrier subgroup: Jay Karabin, Global Indemnity Group; Greg Ricker, Sombra Technologies

— Retail/general agent subgroup: Lisa Parry Becker, William B. Parry & Son; Tate Tooley, Bloss & Dillard

ESJWG salutes the leadership of Mike Roy of Risk Placement Services Inc., ESJWG’s most-recent co-chair. His seven years of service began as General Agent Interface co-chair. His tireless efforts have contributed greatly to ESJWG’s success.

ESJWG’s leaders wish Jeff Yates, former executive director of ACT, a fond farewell and a big “thank you” from the entire E&S community. We’re pleased to welcome Ron Berg as the new executive director, and already appreciate his enthusiasm and guidance.

Communication & Future Meeting

We will circulate information on how to join the ESJWG group on the ACORD Communities in the near future. Meanwhile, please help our effort by inviting your E&S peers to join our newsletter distribution by emailing either one of us below.

ESJWG will hold its next meeting at the ACORD Implementation Forum in October 2014.

Sincerely,

E&S Joint Working Group (ESJWG) Co-Chairs

M. Scott Good, Scottsdale Insurance Co.
(480) 365-2570 / goodm3@scottsdaleins.com

Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, CPA, SouthGroup Insurance-Gulf Coast
(228) 466-4498 / Angelyn.Treutel@southgroup.net

About The E&S Joint Working Group (ESJWG): Formed in 2008, the group is an alliance of carriers, agents and vendors working with the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA), ACORD, Agents Council for Technology (ACT) of the Independent Agents & Brokers of America, and the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO). ESJWG’s 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

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