A recent article in Insurance & Technology deals with Allmerica Financial and its desire to grow its property and casualty business. The company was looking to give agents the ability to write policies online without Allmerica staff involvement.

“Like everyone else, they looked for a system that is low-cost while providing excellent service for agents. The system they developed through a technology partner was completed in four months and ended up costing around $1 million. The Web-based administrative functions were not included in the cost. By the way, one of the other objectives focuses on competitive advantage and recruiting agents to sell Allmerica products. The project has been successful, making agents more productive and luring new agents into the Allmerica fold.”

I find this article interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it reinforces the whole concept that agents want online, easy-to-use, flexible and feature-rich tools from their carrier to help them write more business with less hassle.

Second, I can’t help but compare this case study to a similar project that I am involved in that’s just about ready to launch. Our solution, which sounds very similar, is also taking four months. But it also includes the agency management login and reporting, and will only cost our client around $100,000. Hmmmm.

Carriers large and small need to provide their agents with Web tools wherever possible. Outsourcing the design, development, and hosting is the best, fastest and most cost-effective way to go. (However some suppliers are more cost-effective than others.)