July/August  2001

Insurance talk
    policy briefs

Farmers Insurance Expands Service
Farmers Insurance Co. of Billings, Mont., has introduced a new Help Point service in Montana, which it says will enable its customers in the state to report covered losses 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“With one toll-free call Farmers customers in Montana can speak with a licensed customer service associate who will immediately begin the restoration process, providing emergency support and guidance,” said Dave Dela Torre, Farmers’ Montana executive director.

Customers with small losses should be able to resolve their claim with just one call in many cases, and those with larger losses will have a claims representative available to come to the scene of the loss at any time. In addition, the company says it will dispatch the appropriate vendor—including glass shops—to the scene of the loss immediately through the Help Point 

Insurance Companies Launch Fusura.com to Provide Estimates

Several auto insurance companies, including Kemper, Prudential and the American International Group, have united to launch a website where customers can price insurance for a variety of companies without switching between websites. While the companies will continue to maintain their own respective websites, customers can visit Fusura.com for quick quotes and comparisons. In addition, the companies plan to make it possible for customers to purchase insurance online with a credit card at Fusura.com.

Although the website is still under construction and is not yet able to process quotes, the companies hope to have it running by the end of the year. Because the Wilmington, Del.-based Fusura.com is an independent company, in which the three founding companies own three equal shares, it will gain an undetermined commission on each sale.

Maine Becomes Additional Home to State National Insurance Co.
Fort Worth, Texas-based State National Insurance Co. was authorized to handle auto glass claims in the state of Maine, effective January 25, 2001. Last year, Connecticut was the first New England state to receive such authority. State National Insurance Co. is now authorized to serve customers with their claims in 47 states. 

“Satisfying the high standards of Maine’s Bureau of Insurance reconfirms the financial strength of State National Insurance Co. We are delighted to be invited to do business in Maine as part of our goal to make more lines available in more states,” said Terry Ledbetter, president of the company. 

Nationwide Plans Opening of New National Call Center in San Antonio
Nationwide Insurance, which is based in Columbus, Ohio, recently announced plans to establish a national claims call center in San Antonio. According to a news release issued by the company, the center will employ between 300 and 400 people once it is in full operation.

“Nationwide conducted an extensive national search and the company is confident that San Antonio is an excellent location for the new center,” said Orysia K. Meyers, an associate vice president in charge of Nationwide’s claims call centers. “The center’s personnel will take calls from all over the country and will handle a variety of customer needs. We were attracted to San Antonio because of favorable local economics, the potential to hire bilingual employees and because of the available technology infrastructure.”

Lee Morton Jr., associate vice president in charge of Nationwide’s Texas operations, agreed. “We are thrilled that the center will be in San Antonio,” he said. “It is another sign that Nationwide is growing and that it is committed to excellent customer service.”

The San Antonio center will be Nationwide’s third national call claim center, with two others located in Columbus, Ohio, and Gainesville, Fla. 

National Farmers Union Insurance Selects LYNX to Manage Commercial Claims

National Farmers Union Insurance, which is based in Aurora, Colo., has selected LYNX Services by PPG Industries of Pittsburgh to provide around-the-clock service for policyholders reporting claims to its commercial policies unit. LYNX began handling these claims on February 12 and will expand to include personal insurance lines in the summer. “LYNX Services is a superb resource,” said Al Wilcox, east regional claims manager for National Farmers Union Insurance. “Its professionals are attentive to our needs and are able to integrate their systems with ours, streamlining the process and making our jobs easier.”


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