Streamlining your commercial transactions

Insurers and brokers have put the finishing touches on forms that may one day lead to electronic commercial policy transactions between brokers and insurers…

Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry is working through the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) to streamline the development of commercial lines forms, paving the way for automated, electronic transactions between commercial brokers and insurance companies.    

The latest offering released in May is the revised Commercial Insurance Application, which at nine pages is the longest form commercial brokers fill out with their clients in order to apply for insurance with a carrier. The form collects a broad spectrum of information about a broker’s corporate clients, including the size of the company, its products, operations, property protection, fire protection, burglary and crime protection, risk details, liability coverages, etc.

Other commercial insurance forms have also been created and streamlined, including the Commercial Umbrella policy and the Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy.

“All of these forms, some of them new, some of them enhanced, are now more in alignment with each other,” said Pranab Pandey, manager of standards and business process improvement at CSIO. “Now all of the applications have the same liability and casualty portion. So the Commercial Insurance Application liability and casualty portion is similar to what the CGL general liability form had."

"The forms have been redone in a way that brokers can now spend more time with the client, rather than spend all their time answering questions on multiple forms.


These improvements to the forms are made through consultation with insurance professionals who volunteer for the CSIO working groups. Participation in working groups is open to all CSIO members.

In the past, individual carriers all had their own proprietary insurance applications. Streamlined forms may seem insignificant to many, but brokers have their eye on a longer-term goal.

Standardizing forms means standardized data collection. This is the first step toward being able to automate many commercial insurance transactions between brokers and insurers.  

“The reason why the commercial forms are important is because it puts a framework around the list of information that we need to underwrite and issue commercial policies,” said Brenda Rose of FCA Insurance. “In order to automate that at all, we have to have a common set of data that we agree on as an industry. That’s what the form does: it lays it out so you know as a broker what information the underwriter expects you to collect….

“It provides a common framework so that software companies can build applications that contain that information. And insurers can build systems that can accept that information so that we can use those common pieces to transact electronically.”

CSIO has also been working hard on streamlining personal lines forms for some time. It committed last year to spend more time working on commercial insurance forms.  

In a way, standardized information is a bit of a moving target, since the information that insurers collect will change as the risk environment changes. The updated Commercial Insurance Application, for example, includes questions about whether companies are incorporating environmental designs. And the CGL calls for information on public-private partnerships.

“A substantial change that CSIO made to the CGL form was the addition of questions and fields to better accommodate public-private partnerships (P3s) in the construction industry,” CSIO Communications Specialist Grant Patten wrote in an article published by the Toronto Insurance Conference. “General contractors and subcontractors participating in P3s often elevate their liability exposure because most P3 projects include additional design and build responsibilities. The new CSIO CGL form addresses this emerging trend.”

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