Global P&C Portal Solutions: 2016 Vendor Spectrum
Celent has published a new report titled 2016 Global P&C Portal Solutions: A Vendor Spectrum. The report was written by Karlyn Carnahan and Jamie Macgregor, both with Celent’s Insurance practice.
More than 70% of carriers surveyed say they are replacing their current portal or making significant enhancements. The primary driver for these changes is to improve the ease of doing business for an agent. That typically means a streamlined user interface with significant data prefill to reduce data entry requirements.
Agent portals are a relatively mature technology. Most carriers provide some sort of portal functionality to their agents as they have found that agents place business with carriers that are easy to work with. Carriers recognize than an agent portal is a must-have and that a more robust portal increases both growth and retention. Many carriers developed their agent portals in house on modern standard horizontal technologies rather than vendor solutions. However, this trend is changing.
Early agent portals acted as a gateway for an agent. The agent would sign into the portal and then would bridge to a back end application to handle their transactions. Today, carriers are moving to using the portal as the point of transaction, allowing the agent to conduct their transactions directly in the portal. The advantages carriers see include the ability to tailor a UI specific to the agent and to make that UI consistent across applications. Carriers also say they are able to make changes faster in a portal than in a policy administration system. Stand-alone portals are also helpful for carriers running multiple policy admin systems. They can expose a slick UI to an agent that is tuned for an agent while running older policy admin systems in the back end.
“As the portal is increasingly being used as the point of transaction, carriers are moving from horizontal solutions to vended packages. Vended solutions are becoming fairly mature and offer significant functionality and line of business support out of the box. A carrier’s agent portal strategy will change depending on the types of distribution channels the firm uses, the lines of business they write, and the overall business model. There are several portal solutions on the market for insurers to choose from, with a wide range of features and functionality,” said Carnahan, a Research Director.
“There is no single best portal solution for all insurers. There are a number of good choices for an insurer with almost any set of requirements. The right solution for a carrier depends on how the carrier needs to use the solution,” added Macgregor, a Senior Vice President.