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ICW Group Wins Novarica Research Council Impact Award for its Agent Portal

Insurer Gains Industry Recognition for Business and Technology Expansion Success Using the FirstBest Underwriting Management System


ICW Group Insurance Companies, a leading national multiline property and casualty insurer based in San Diego, is the winner of a Novarica Research Council Impact Award. The prestigious industry award recognizes ICW Group’s successful portal and underwriting workstation expansion using the FirstBest Underwriting Management System (UMS) for the company’s workers’ compensation line of business. FirstBest® Systems, Inc. is an innovative provider of insurance software solutions, with a focus on data-driven underwriting for American and international property and casualty insurance carriers.

The strategic goal to boost its workers’ compensation business by providing agents with a state-of-the-art underwriting tool that enhances their client service, led ICW Group to create Snap®. Built on FirstBest’s UMS, which features a modern software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, the project and its recent expansion, empower the company to deploy enterprise underwriting capabilities and optimize collaboration with its agents and brokers. As a cloud-based solution, Snap combines a rich agent portal with an underwriting workstation to proficiently receive and process submissions—making it easy for agents to provide timely solutions to their clients.

“FirstBest’s UMS has delivered impactful results, and the Novarica award further validates our commitment to driving a profitable, sustainable business, while helping our agents best serve their clients,” said Paul Zamora, senior vice president of workers’ compensation underwriting at ICW Group. Since implementing Snap in 2008, ICW Group’s work comp line has seen a 375 percent increase in business submissions and a 370 percent upsurge in quotes. “Faster submission handling is quickly differentiating us in a highly competitive market,” said Zamora. “The enhanced efficiencies and collaboration features of our workflows are fueling an escalation of bind ratios, and contributing to our 40 percent growth in new business.”

“We congratulate ICW Group on this peer recognition for a successful and highly impactful initiative. This case demonstrated some of the strongest business results among this year’s nominees, and our Council members respect that achievement,” said Matthew Josefowicz, managing director at Novarica.

Zamora added that underwriters have boosted capacity by 400 percent, transforming an average book of business from $5 million to $20-22 million. The retention ratio on the same workers’ compensation book of business increased by 10 points when the company introduced straight-through processing for renewals—made possible with FirstBest’s UMS implementation. ”We’re confident the knowledge-based, data-driven, and collaboration capabilities of Snap will accelerate our abilities to write business as we expand into new states,” said Zamora.

“Our company applauds ICW Group for its industry recognition in establishing and expanding a comprehensive workers’ compensation platform,” said John Belizaire, FirstBest CEO and Founder. “Meeting and exceeding business goals in a highly competitive insurance market is an ongoing challenge for insurers. ICW Group has met this challenge by leveraging its market leadership and expertise in conjunction with best-in-class technology to streamline the underwriting process, improve agent workflows and increase profitability. FirstBest is proud of ICW Group’s success and looks forward to helping other commercial line customers as they innovate and grow.”

Novarica Research Council Impact Awards are judged exclusively by more than 300 insurer CIO members of the Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council, making it the largest purely peer-juried recognition in the industry. Nominees are selected by a committee of CIO Council Members by review of case studies that are published in the annual Novarica Best Practices Case Study Compendium.

About FirstBest

FirstBest® Systems is the leading provider of insurance software solutions that help American and international global insurance companies improve underwriting profitability, scale their business and achieve high service levels with brokers, across the enterprise. The patented and proven FirstBest Front Office Suite has processed more than $14 billion in quotes and includes modular underwriting workstation, mobile underwriting, agent/broker portal and upload applications. Leading American and international carriers such as XL Group plc, OneBeacon Insurance Group, Chesapeake Employers, Beacon Mutual, ICW Group Insurance Companies, and others rely on FirstBest to improve underwriting efficiencies and quality, institutionalize knowledge and best practices, and empower everyone in the process to rapidly quote, collaborate, issue, and bind business on a single real-time platform from anywhere. To learn more, call 1-781-863-6000.

About ICW Group

Based in San Diego, ICW Group Insurance Companies is the largest privately held insurance company domiciled in California. Quoting over $3 billion annually, ICW Group represents a group of Property, Auto and Workers’ Compensation insurance carriers, including Insurance Company of the West and Explorer Insurance Company. ICW Group is recognized nationally as an industry leader in helping policyholders achieve fewer and less costly claims. Insurance products are offered through an independent network of experienced and professional agents and brokers. ICW Group is committed to meeting the needs of its policyholders and elevating the trusted agents and brokers who advise them. More information is available at


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