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May/June 2003

Insurance Talk
policy briefs

Ohio Casualty Uses eMitchell for 
Auto Damage Claims

The Ohio Casualty Group has installed San Diego-based Mitchell International’s web-based claims workflow solution for auto physical damage claims. According to the companies, the program will increase productivity and reduce turnaround by streamlining the workflow process. The eMitchell business line includes Internet-based applications that enable insurance carriers and claims professionals to dispatch, receive and process collision repair claims electronically via the eMitchell portal.

“We are pleased to be partnered with the Ohio Casualty Group,” said Tony Aquila, Mitchell president and chief operating officer. “They recognize that eMitchell offers insurers truly significant efficiencies by speeding up the entire claims process through its claims-centric workflow design.”

Phil Horst, manager of Ohio Casualty’s auto physical damage offices nationwide, said it would significantly reduce the insurer’s claims cycle times.

“Once the system is fully in use, we anticipate we’ll be able to reduce turnaround times—from loss reporting to estimate completion—by 50 percent,” Horst said. 

In addition, Hartford, Conn.-based Travelers has also signed up and has made real-time policy view accessible to independent commercial insurance agents and brokers directly through their Applied Systems agency management systems. According to the company, the capability, which is called Electronic Policy View, allows agents to access, view, print and save commercial lines.

Farmers Attacks Shops 
Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance has been conducting marketing efforts to inform consumers that often automotive repairs called for by shops are unnecessary. Sometimes, he said customers have even ended up with a windshield replacement as one of the items on their bills, though their windshields weren’t broken when they took the vehicles in. According to the company, 25 of 62 shops investigated in California (by the California Highway Patrol) last year were found to be engaged in some sort of fraudulent activity, resulting in the arrests of 35 people for preparing false estimates for insurance claims.

TCAIS Lobbies for Lone Star State Insurance Reforms
The Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions (TCAIS), which is based in Austin, Texas, is lobbying for the Texas legislature to adopt regulatory reforms that promote competition and focus on customers.

“TCAIS believes we can get it right by combining the best parts of existing Texas regulation with what has proven to work in states such as Illinois and South Carolina,” said Beaman Floyd, director of TCAIS. “This approach will give consumers the benefits of a healthy competitive market, as well as provide protections from potential abuses through strong market conduct and financial standards.”

Among the seven guidelines the TCAIS is suggesting are the following requirements:
• All insurance companies file rates or rate changes and policy forms with the Texas Department of Insurance;

• TDI authority to disapprove a company’s policy form on a prospective basis and order a company or companies to discontinue to use a form if it is found to violate certain provisions in the insurance code;

• Consumer protections concerning market conduct and solvency requirements; and

• TDI will implement the Texas FAIR plan to ensure that all Texans have access to homeowners insurance.

“The regulatory system TCAIS is proposing will allow the Commissioner to focus on market conduct practices and other consumer protections while providing insurance companies the opportunity to compete,” Floyd said. “We believe a stable regulatory climate will encourage more insurance companies to enter the Texas market and offer Texans a choice of a variety of products and services at competitive rates.”


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