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State Auto netXpress enables real-time processing on agency portal


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- May 18, 2004 -- State Auto (STFC) has enhanced its agency portal with functionality for independent agents to receive policy quotes, request policy issuance, and complete endorsement transactions, all in real-time. Recipient of the ACORD Upload Company of the Year award for the past two years, State Auto's netXpress makes it easier than ever for agencies to do business with the company.

State Auto netXpress is a new component that builds upon the previous successes of AgentSite, an agents-only site designed to facilitate the customer service needs for agents throughout State Auto's 26 state operating territory. NetXpress gives agents the ability to quote standard and nonstandard personal auto as well as homeowners business. Perhaps, even more significantly, the new technology also allows agents to process any endorsement to existing policies on-line. NetXpress is currently available to Ohio, Missouri and Indiana agents, and will be introduced to agents in all states within the coming year.

NetXpress utilizes new technologies like ACORD XML, Web Services, and Microsoft®.NET. Using the Internet Explorer 6.0 (or higher) browser, agencies can electronically upload new business and policy changes to State Auto through netXpress. Business uploaded via netXpress in turn, can be downloaded to all leading agency management systems within a day or so of the original submission. Therefore, no duplicate entry is necessary for agents with agency management systems.

State Auto's AgentSite was introduced in 2001 with the intent of supporting the company's goal of delivering overwhelming service to all agents. The site usage has grown exponentially during that time, receiving more than 1 million hits in 2003. Current functionality supports common customer service activities such as billing and claims inquiry, policy documents retrieval, product/manual information, marketing, policy payment, and now, thanks to netXpress, policy rating, quoting and issuance. Nearly all of State Auto's 22,000 agents have access to AgentSite and use it regularly in all these capacities.

"Our Web development team has worked very hard to make netXpress, and all of AgentSite, the best it can be for our agents," said Internet Development Team Project Manager Sandy Stepp. "We make strategic enhancements to it, based on agent comments and suggestions. We want netXpress and AgentSite to be as agent-friendly as possible. We recognize technology is playing a key role in achieving our sales goals.

"Our agents want a carrier that provides the best automation choices, and we believe we provide that with netXpress," Stepp added.

State Auto agents seem to be pleased with the new policy issuance product. "It's been great; very quick and easy to use," said Chris Berry, an agent with Battles Insurance Agency in Norwalk, Ohio, one of the netXpress pilot agencies. "NetXpress has been a huge time saver for our agency, and with the quick policy turnaround time once we've submitted the business to State Auto, it's been great for our customers, as well."

Tonia Smith, a personal/commercial lines customer service representative with Copley Insurance Agency in Milan, Ohio, agrees. "It's so nice to be able to pull up auto policies for existing customers and give them an exact quote on their changes within minutes. This makes our day-to-day processing so much faster. Very few of our carriers offer all the options to us that netXpress does."

State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company is a regional property and casualty insurance company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, engaged primarily in writing personal and commercial automobile, homeowners, commercial multi-peril, workers' compensation and fire insurance. The company currently markets its products through more than 22,000 agents associated with approximately 3,300 agencies in 26 states. Products are marketed primarily in the Midwest and Eastern United States, excluding New York, New Jersey and the New England states.

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