_12_ United States Patent by zhouwenjuan

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                                                                                                                 US007124088B2


(12)   United States Patent                                                                  (10)   Patent No.:     US 7,124,088 B2
       Bauer et al.                                                                          (45)   Date of Patent:      Oct. 17, 2006

(54)    APPARATUS FOR INTERNET ON-LINE                                                  WO            WO 20052616 A2 *         912000
        INSURANCE POLICY SERVICE

(75)    Inventors: Alan R. Bauer, Mill Valley, CA (US);                                                      OTHER PUBLICATIONS
                   Amanda L. Bowman, Bedford, OH                                        Pasher, Auto Web site takes off, Mar. 1998, National Underwriter
                   (US); Richard J. Keyser, Euclid, OH                                  (Propert & CasualtylRisk & Benefits Management), vol. 102 No.
                   (US); Megan N. McNamara, Rocky                                       11, pp. 9 and 16.*
                   River, OH (US); Cheryl L. Urminski,                                  Festa, For Insurance Sales, Turn to the 'Web', Aug. 1998, Insurance
                   Cleveland Heights, OH (US); Leslie                                   Regulator, vol. 5 No. 31, p. 1.*
                   Youngstrom, Sacramento, CA (US);                                     Business Editors, Electric Insurance Joins Intuit's Quicken
                   Toby Alfred, Orange, OH (US)                                         InsureMarket Offering Online Auto Policies in 6 States, Dec. 1998,
                                                                                        Business Wire.*
(73)    Assignee: Progressive Casualty Insurance                                        Schori et aI., A level playing field, Apr. 1998, LIMRA's
                                                                                        MarketFacts, vol. 17 No.2, pp. 48-49.*
                  Company, Mayfield Village, OH (US)
                                                                                        Rodgers, Hawaii insurer finds an opal in the rough, May 1999,
                                                                                        Insurance & Technology, vol.24 No.5, p. 27.*
(*)     Notice:         Subject to any disclaimer, the tenn of this
                                                                                        Esurance Launches New Car Insurance Program, May 2002, PR
                        patent is extended or adjusted under 35
                                                                                        Newswire.*
                        U.S.c. 154(b) by 0 days.
                                                                                        * cited by examiner
(21)    Appl. No.: 09/364,803
                                                                                        Primary Examiner-Joseph Thomas
(22)    Filed:          Jul. 30, 1999                                                   Assistant Examiner---Christopher L. Gilligan
                                                                                        (74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Brinks Hofer Gilson &
(65)                        Prior Publication Data                                      Lione
        US 2002/0116228 Al                  Aug. 22, 2002
                                                                                        (57)                         ABSTRACT
(51)    Int. Cl.
        G06Q 40/00                  (2006.01)                                           An Internet on-line insurance policy service system that
(52)    U.S. Cl. .......................................................... 705/4       facilitates real-time automated communication of policy
(58)    Field of Classification Search .................... 705/4,                      information, adjustment of policy parameters, calculation
                                705/35; 283/54; 902/5; 709/217                          and communication of resulting policy quotes, and imple-
        See application file for complete search history.                               mentation of policy changes, while obviating insurer per-
                                                                                        sonnel involvement and supervision of the communication.
(56)                        References Cited                                            The system comprises a plurality of software modules
                   U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS                                                relating to on-line real-time communication of existing
                                                                                        policy infonnation, testing of a wide range of variations in
       4,831,526   A    *    511989    Luchs et al ................. 364/401            policy parameters, computing and communicating changes
       5,797,134   A         811998    McMillan et al.                                  in policy premiums that would result from such variations,
       5,809,478   A    *    911998    Greco et al .................... 705/4           communicating desired changes in policy parameters and
       5,845,256   A    *   1211998    Pescitelli et al. .............. 705/4
       5,956,691   A    *    911999    Powers .......................... 705/4
                                                                                        implementing desired policy changes. Other modules relate
       6,869,362   Bl   *    3/2005    Walker et al. ................ 463/25            to communication of claims infonnation and the providing
                                                                                        of on-line forms.
              FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
GB                    935208 A2 * 1111999                                                                  41 Claims, 6 Drawing Sheets
u.s. Patent          Oct. 17, 2006      Sheet 1 of 6                US 7,124,088 B2




                FIG.1                       I
                                          FROM
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                                       HOME PAGE

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     PROGRESSIVE         POLICY #, ZIP CD,DRIVE R       VERIFY E-MAIL
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                                                                                     22

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                                                            SEND PSC
                                                           VIA US MAIL
u.s. Patent             Oct. 17,2006              Sheet 2 of 6                          US 7,124,088 B2




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COVERAGE AT           GENERIC          GENERIC                        GENERIC              GENERIC     I*USER SENDS MESSAGE
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                                                    US 7,124,088 B2
                              1                                                                      2
       APPARATUS FOR INTERNET ON-LINE                                 generates in real-time the resulting policy cost attributable to
          INSURANCE POLICY SERVICE                                    the parameter change. The cost adjustments can be connnu-
                                                                      nicated in the form of a quote, and if the computer is so
         BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION                                  instructed by the user, the policy change and related cost
                                                                      adjustment can be formally submitted and implemented.
   The present invention relates to data connnunication and              In accordance with more limited aspects of the invention,
processing systems, and particularly to a system for auto-            the system further includes a claims information module for
mated Internet on-line connnunication of proposed and                 connnunicating information relative to claims processing,
actual changes to insurance policy parameters, assessing              and a funds transfer module for on-line payment of acconnts
cost consequences of such proposed and actual changes,           10   by a user.
updating the insured's policy file and implementing desired              In accordance with yet another aspect of the present
policy changes, while avoiding insurer personnel involve-             invention, the parameter changes can comprise, for example,
ment in the connnunication, updating and policy amendment             a change in garage location of the vehicle being insured or
process.                                                              the personal residence of the holder of the policy, a change
   As used in this application, the term "Internet" means the    15   in the vehicles insured nnder the policy, the addition or
global computer information system both as it exists cur-             deletion of one or more drivers under the policy or changes
rently and as it may change, evolve or develop over time and          in coverages, deductible amonnts or policy limits.
including any replacement or successor systems.                          One benefit of the present invention is a more efficient
   Vehicle insurance policies are now a legal requirement for         handling of policyholder services to reduce inconvenience to
driving rights in most jurisdictions and nearly all drivers      20   the insurance customer and to reduce handling and involve-
own or are required to own some type of insurance. Con-               ment requirements of insurer personnel to attend to such
ventional methods for acquiring such a policy usually entail          services, thereby reducing overhead costs and ultimately
relatively lengthy application processes between the buyer            providing an ability to insure policyholders on a more cost
and a personal representative of the insurer such as either an        effective basis.
insurance company salesperson or an independent agent for        25      Another benefit of the subject invention is a reduction in
the company. The application process requires a connnuni-             the time cycle for connnunicating and implementing policy
cation of personal and historical data of the buyer and               changes thereby assuring a more accurate coverage and
whatever vehicles are involved and their locations to allow           minimizing time periods when the policy parameter changes
the insurer to classify the prospective applicant in predeter-        are not properly incorporated into the policy.
mined actuarial classes and for quoting a cost to the appli-     30      Other benefits and advantages of the subject new policy
cant. In addition, for existing customers of the insurance            service will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon
company, changes in policy parameters such as changes in              a reading and understanding of the specification.
residence, the vehicle locations, number of household driv-
ers or acquisition of new or replacement of old vehicles                    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
covered by the policy require regular connnunication             35
between the customer and the insurer or its agents. When                 The invention may take physical form in certain parts and
such connnunication is required to be handled in writing,             steps and arrangements of parts and steps, the preferred
telephonically, or personally by the company representative           embodiments of which will be described in detail in the
or independent agent, the time consumption and associated             specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawings
costs for such personal handling can present cost and            40   which form a part hereof and wherein:
servicing problems which need to be minimized. Any way                   FIG. 1 is a flow diagram for accessing the subject system
that the insurer can reduce personnel involvement in                  with a personal security code;
addressing policyholder services is a way that can improve               FIG. 2 is a block flow diagram identifYing the principal
efficiency and reduce costs-costs that can be eliminated to           processing modules of the subject invention;
result in lower rates to a consumer buying the insurance.        45      FIG. 3 is a flow diagram illustrating steps for updating a
   The present invention contemplates a new and improved              policy change comprising a vehicle replacement;
insurance policy service and delivery system for connnuni-               FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of the steps for acquiring an
eating changes in policy parameters to an insurer via an              estimate of a rate change resulting from a possible vehicle
Internet on-line automated system, thereby obviating repre-           replacement;
sentative or agent personal involvement in the interfacing       50      FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of the steps of implementing a
and commnnicating of policy parameter changes, policy                 policy change due to an address or telephone change; and
changes and associated charge adjustments between the                    FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of connnunicating claims infor-
customer and the insurer.                                             mation from the system.

      A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION                           55              DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
                                                                                          INVENTION
   In accordance with the present invention, there is dis-
closed a method and apparatus for Internet on-line insurance             The subject invention is related to a data processing
policy service and delivery for real-time automated selective         system especially applicable to the insurance industry
adjustment by a user of policy parameters, and for system        60   wherein a policyholder can, through Internet on-line access-
computation and connnunication of resulting cost adjust-              ing, view and update his or her particular policy information.
ments due to the policy parameter changes. The system                 After the policyholder/customer authenticates himself/her-
comprises an information module for identifying a user to             self, the system retrieves the verification, or other informa-
the system and for connnnnicating currently existing policy           tion requested by the policyholder from the system and
parameters to the policyholder. A policy adjustment module       65   displays it to the policyholder via the Internet. A user-
selectively connnunicates parameter changes made by the               friendly interface guides the customer through various
user to the insurer's computer system and the computer then           activities including, without limitation, billing information,
                                                     US 7,124,088 B2
                               3                                                                    4
making a payment via a credit card or on-line check, policy             III. Policy Updates Include the Following:
information, state specific contract infonnation, quoting an
                                                                        A. Vehicle Replacement
endorsement for vehicle replacement, address changes and
                                                                        Selection of which vehicle on the policy the insured wants
claims infonnation. The system displays the premium
                                                                          to replace
amount and variance and updates the customer file at the
                                                                        Selection of year, make, model and submodel the insured
customer's request, without need for personal handling by
                                                                          wants to quote
an individual representative of the insurer or an independent
                                                                        Selection for physical damage coverages specific for the
agent. Most of the infonnation presented to the customer is
                                                                          vehicle being quoted
specific to that customer's policy only and is, of course,
                                                                        Listing of resultant premium change over the rest of the
maintained confidential through a security code system and         10
                                                                          policy term
transferred/viewed via a secure server. Generic infonnation
                                                                        Comparison of premium over the entire policy term
generally describing the policy is also provided. The subject
                                                                        Ability to update the policy for the vehicle replacement
invention uniquely provides on-line viewing and updating of
                                                                        Revised billing schedule
the customer's existing information and facilitates real-time
                                                                        Quote summary of all quotes obtained by the customer
updating of the policy parameters and the ability to imple-        15
ment policy changes on-line. Although discussed with pri-               B. Vehicle Addition
mary reference to automobiles as the insured vehicle, the               Selection for year, make, model and submodel the insured
invention is applicable to any other type of insured item, i.e.,          wants to add to the policy
boats, airplanes, personal or real property or any other thing          Garaging address, infonnation about the car, and leasing/
that is subject to an insurance policy, as well as to other        20     financing information collected
kinds of insurance that may be provided, such as life,                  Selection for physical damage coverages specific for the
disability, medical, dental, credit insurance and general                 vehicle being quoted
liability insurance.                                                    Listing of resultant premium change over the rest of the
   The subject system contains four critical areas or modules             policy term
of content with the capability of expansion to additional          25   Comparison of premium over the entire policy term
product and policy services: policy infonnation, policy                 Ability to update the policy for the vehicle replacement
updating, claims infonnation and payment enablement via                 Revised billing schedule
electronic funds transfer. The following outline details these          Quote summary of all quotes obtained by the customer
modules and the subsequent detailed description of the
                                                                   30   C. Address/Telephone Change
invention will follow along this outline.
                                                                        Address displayed
I. Policy Infonnation Displayed for the Specific Policy-                Requestor verified
holder Includes:                                                        New address/telephone number collected
                                                                        Update garaging address by vehicle
A. Billing and Account Information
                                                                   35   Listing of resultant premium change over the rest of the
Account status
                                                                           policy term
Amount and receipt date of the last payment
                                                                        Comparison of premium over the entire policy term
Amount and receipt date of the renewal payment (if appli-               Revised billing schedule
  cable)
                                                                        Summary of changes
Current amount due and due date                                    40   Ability to update the address/telephone change
Bill schedule                                                           If only the telephone number is changed, a declaration page
Account payment history                                                    prints and mailings are suppressed
B. Policy Details                                                       D. Order Duplicate Insurance Fonns
Mailing address                                                    45   Order ID cards or ID cards and duplicate declaration page
Listed drivers, age, gender, driver type and proof of financial           sets
  responsibility status
                                                                        IV. Claims Information Includes:
Driving records for each driver listed on policy
                                                                        Claim number, incident date and status displayed for selec-
Year, make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN
                                                                          tion
  #) for each vehicle listed on the policy
                                                                   50   Driver and vehicle involved
State policy contract valid for the specific policy
                                                                        Location of loss, incident report date/time
Agent of record name, address and phone number                          Inspection date/time
C. Coverages and Premiums                                               Detennination of total loss
Coverage limits listed by vehicle                                  55   Claim features open
Premium displayed by coverage and vehicle                               Claim representative name and phone number
Policy fees and taxes for total policy:                                 Claims office location and street address
                                                                        Display of coverage at time of incident
II. Payment Functionality Includes                                      Payment history
Account status                                                     60   Information on subornation, if applicable
Amount and receipt date of the last payment                             Total loss infonnation
Amount and receipt date of the renewal payment (if appli-               Estimate infonnation
   cable)                                                               Rental and vehicle repair
Select a payment amount of either the current amount due,               Communications directly to the claim representative's desk
   current amount and renewal payment, an amount entered           65     top
   that is greater than the minimum amount due or pay in full             Referring now to the drawings where the showings are for
Select payment method of on-line check or credit card                   purposes of illustrating the preferred embodiments of the
                                                     US 7,124,088 B2
                               5                                                                       6
invention only and not for purposes of limiting same, the               of the renewal payment, if applicable, the current amount
FIGURES show a method and apparatus for Internet on-line                due on the due date, the bill schedule and the account
insurance policy servicing.                                             payment history. The policy details that can be viewed and
   FIG. 1 is a flow diagram illustrating access to the subject          verified by the customer include, without limitation, the
system. A user can access the Internet with any conventional            mailing address, the driver and vehicle infonnation includ-
browser program and must first contact the Progressive                  ing a list of drivers, their age, gender, driver type and proof
home page (Progressive refers to Progressive Casualty                   of financial responsibility status. The driving record for each
Insurance Company of Mayfield Village, Ohio, the assignee               driver listed on the policy can also be displayed. The vehicle
of the subject application. "Personal Progressive" is the               information includes the year, make, model and VIN # for
mark identifYing a commercially implemented embodiment             10   each vehicle listed on the policy. Other details include,
of the subject invention) The process flow of FIG. 1 shows              without limitation, a display ifthere is a state policy contract
the customer can only access the system with a personal                 valid for the customer's specific policy and the name,
security code ("PSC") key. The system will query 1 0 if the             address and phone number of the agent of record for the
customer has registered a personal security code and if the             customer. The coverage in premiums information comprises
answer is "yes", the system will query 12 if the customer has      15   a very detailed report of the coverage limits listed by vehicle
forgotten the PSC and, if not, after the appropriate code is            and the premiums displayed for various types of coverage
entered the customer can enter the system Accompanying                  per vehicle. For example, if three different vehicles were
this attachment is an Appendix comprising photostats of the             involved, each vehicle would receive a display of what the
on-line displays a customer will encounter while moving                 bodily injury liability premium is for the specified tenn of
through the system. Photostatic images are segregated in           20   the policy as well as various other liability premiums for
accordance with the outline headings above. Such displays               items such as property damage, uninsured motorist, medical
can also be directly accessed through the Internet with an              expenses and collisions, etc., i.e., all the conventional pre-
on-line personal computer system by typing the URL "http:               mium infonnation that is relevant to any particular policy.
\\personal.progressive.com". If the initial inquiry receives an            Payments module 40 also comprises a display of some
answer that the customer does not have a PSC, then the             25   relevant account infonnation such as account status, the
customer must add validating infonnation comprising the                 amount and receipt date of the last payment, and the amount
customer's policy number, the zip code, a driver's license              and receipt date of the renewal payment (if applicable). In
number, a date of birth and an e-mail address 16. The user              addition, though, the customer may select a payment amount
next enters 18 an ID code of some kind that is personal to              via the current amount due, the current amount for the
the user and the system will verifY the entered ID code via        30   renewal term, pay in full or an amount that must be greater
e-mail communication. The system will then generate a                   than the minimum amount due. The payment method can be
unique password (PSC) 20 and the password will be sent 22               selected as either an on-line check or a credit card.
to the customer at his home address via U.S. mail. The                     The policy changes module 32 is primarily comprised of
customer caunot enter the Personal Progressive system until             modules for changing the customer's address 42, telephone
after receipt of the PSC.                                          35   number 44 or of replacing or adding 46 a vehicle to the
   If the customer has a PSC, but it has been forgotten, then           policy coverage.
after the inquiry 12 the customer must enter 24 the validating             With reference to FIG. 3, the following steps illustrate the
information sent at step 16 and the system will display the             navigation through various web pages that a customer will
preselected identity code and resend 26 the PSC via U.S.                make to effect a vehicle replacement on the policy. The
mail and e-mail.                                                   40   "continue" boxes can be clicked by the user to move to the
   The foregoing steps for inquiring and implementing the               next page. Initially, the customer will encounter a policy
PSC are necessary for maintaining the personal confidenti-              sUlllillary page 51 from which the customer will select the
ality of any particular customer when accessing the system.             policy changes module 53. The policy changes menu 50
   As noted above, the subject system can be segregated into            displays an option of vehicle replacement 52 in response to
four critical areas of content. With reference to FIG. 2, these    45   which the customer receives a request for verification page
comprise policy infonnation 30, policy changes 32, policy               54. After verification, the customer identifies 56 which
quotes 34 and claims information 36. A user can navigate to             vehicle from the policy is to be replaced. The identity of the
these particular modules from the Personal Progressive main             new vehicle 58 is entered by the customer including the year,
menu 38 through web pages specifically designed to guide                make, model, submodel infonnation and VIN #. Additional
the customer to the desired infonnation through clicks on          50   information 60 relates to the use and garaging, i.e., if the car
alternative query marks or through the input of necessary               is a commuter car and whether it will be garaged at the same
information. Of course, the particular design of the web                address as the resident address of the owner 62 or whether
pages to facilitate the navigation or the customer's responses          it will be garaged at a different address 64. If it is going to
is a matter of subjective design and those shown in the                 be garaged at a different address, then the system will
Appendix, or at the URL address above, merely illustrate           55   inquire as to the different garaging location 66 or in some
one particular convenient and successful page format set.               states, if there is more than one municipality in a zip code,
Another module 37 provides the customer the ability to                  the customer must indicate the correct municipality in which
acquire on-line forms typically comprising duplicate insur-             the vehicle is garaged, i.e., a split zip 68. In either case the
ance forms, such as ID cards and duplicate declaration page             system will next inquire if the vehicle is owned or leased 70.
sets.                                                              60   If leased 72, or owned 74, and financing payments are
   The policy infonnation module 30 displays a variety of               necessary, then the system will inquire as to the financial
billing and account information, policy details and the                 institution receiving the lease or financing payments 76 and
particular coverage afforded by the cumulative premiums of              the identity of the leasing company 78. After completion of
the policy. The billing and account information comprises a             this financial infonnation, or if the vehicle is owned outright
display of the account status, i.e., whether it is active and if   65   80 by the customer, then the system will inquire as to what
the account is paid to date including the amount and the                particular coverage information is desired for the vehicle 82.
receipt date of the last payment, the amount and receipt date           The coverage information relates to physical damage cov-
                                                    US 7,124,088 B2
                              7                                                                      8
erage such as comprehensive and collision and further                  address information 136 and further identifies 138 if the
coverages such as towing/labor, rental or loan lease are               vehicle will be located at the same location 140 or if it will
optionally available. As a particular assist to the customer,          be garaged at a different location 142 and in some cases
the system optionally provides general coverage definitions            selects the appropriate municipality in a zip code 144. A
for various types of coverages offered under the subject               surmnary of changes is displayed to the user 146 and the
insurance policy. After the coverage information 82 has been           effect such address changes have on the policy premium
submitted to the system, an inquiry will be made if the                148. The customer then inquires as to the effect that the
vehicle must have a photo inspection 84 pursuant to state/             change would have on the bill schedule and a display 150
company regulations and information is displayed accord-               identified by installment date and due date of the difference
ingly. The surmnary of changes 86 identifies to the customer      10   between the current policy rates and the new rates as a result
the current vehicle and its various coverages and the new              of the address change. The customer can then submit the
replacement vehicle and its various coverages along with the           changes 152 and the system will acknowledge that the
date of effectiveness of the supplied policy change and the            changes have been successfully completed to the policy 154.
effect 88 the policy change will have on the premium, i.e.,               All the foregoing changes in the policy parameters, i.e.,
how the change would affect the premium for the remainder         15   addition of vehicles, replacement of vehicles, changes in
of the current policy term and how the change would affect             vehicle locations, or changes in customer locations, are
the premium for the entire policy term. At this stage, the             communicated and implemented without any assistance,
customer has only received an estimate and must verify that            supervision or involvement of a personal representative of
the change actually should be submitted 90. If submitted,              the insurance company. The customer navigates the modules
then the summary of changes are again displayed along with        20   to effect the changes to the policy
the acknowledgment that the changes have been success-                    With particular reference to FIG. 6, it is another advantage
fully completed 92. Each page has a "cancel" button which              of the system that claims information can be communicated
takes the customer to a page indicating that "your changes             to a customer when a claim has been made against the
have been discarded", prior to final submission.                       policy. For example, if the insured vehicle was involved in
   With reference to FIG. 4, often times a customer will          25   an accident, the customer has the ability with the present
merely want to receive a quote before purchasing a vehicle             invention to monitor on-line the handling of the claim. In
to determine what the insurance cost effect would be if the            particular, if the customer selects the claims module 36
vehicle had actually been purchased. The policy quotes                 (FIG. 2) from the Personal Progressive main menu, the
module 34 (FIG. 2) comprises a "what if' process, currently            customer could inquire 160 if there are currently any claims
known as "Policy Quotes", 48 the steps of which are detailed      30   on the policy. If not, the system can present an informative
in FIG. 4. Accordingly, after the policy summary 101 is                text on claims preparedness 162. If there has been a claim,
displayed, the customer will click on the "what if' button             an identifYing claim number for the claim is displayed
100 to indicate that receiving a quote for changing a vehicle          relating to incident date and whether the claim status is
is desired. Customers will also be able to reach this func-            active or inactive. The customer can select a particular claim
tionality via the main menu 38 (FIG. 2). The change of            35   number for viewing 164. When a claim number is selected,
vehicle page 102 continues into a new vehicle information              the system will inquire if the claim is archived 166 to a
page 104 where the customer selects which of the present               separate storage location and if so, the relevant information
vehicles on the policy are expected to be replaced. Alterna-           must be restored to the system, usually in an overnight
tively, the customer can specify that the new vehicle is an            process, and the customer is informed to return 168 at a later
addition, by indicating that none of the present policy           40   time to view the desired claim information. If not archived,
vehicles are intended to be replaced. Important information            then the display presents detailed claim information relating
relative to the new vehicle, such as the vehicle year 106,             to the driver and vehicle involved, the location of loss, the
make 108, and model 110 are solicited prompting a new                  incident report date/time, the inspection date/time, determi-
vehicle information page including system memory of more               nation of losses, whether the other claim features are yet
detailed information indicated by the customer. Such more         45   open and the identity of the claim representative comprising
detailed information relates to body series, body style,               the representative's name and telephone number. Additional
engine size, cylinders, wheel drive, and the customer selects          information can be presented relating to the claims office
the combination of the detailed information 112 which most             location and street address. Other pertinent information
accurately fits the intended new vehicle. The pertinent                relating to the claim relates to coverages 172 comprising a
coverage information is again solicited 114 from the cus-         50   display of the coverage provided by the policy at the time of
tomer. The current liability coverage is usually indicated to          the accident or other loss, estimate information 174 for
remain the same. The appropriate rate for the new vehicle is           repair or reimbursements, and rental information 176 relat-
calculated at 116. The estimated effect on the policy pre-             ing to vehicle rentals for temporarily providing transporta-
mium is displayed 118, i.e., either an increase or decrease on         tion after being involved in the accident or other loss. Other
the policy premium for the remaining or next period. The          55   information relates to repairs to the vehicle involved 178 and
customer can request a summary 120 of quotes requested                 generic information about what to do after an accident or
and such summary will be displayed 122.                                other loss 180. This system displays a face sheet commu-
   FIG. 5 illustrates the steps for navigating the address             nication allowing the customer to send a message to the
change module 42 or telephone number change module 44.                 claims representative of whatever information the customer
   FIG. 5 starts out similar to FIGS. 3 and 4 in that from the    60   feels important 182 and the customer message is added
policy summary page 131 the customer must indicate that he             automatically 184 to the diary pertaining to this particular
is interested in the policy change module 133 and in par-              claim. An important advantage of the claims module 36 is its
ticular dealing with address and telephone information 130.            ability to allow a customer to communicate directly to the
Customers will also be able to reach this functionality via the        representative's desk top diary after having full access to
main menu 38 (FIG. 2). The customer indicates that he             65   relevant information relating to the claim.
wants to update the address or telephone information 132.                 The invention has been described with reference to pre-
The user then verifies 134 his identity, identifies the new            ferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alter-
                                                     US 7,124,088 B2
                               9                                                                     10
ations will occur to others upon a reading and understanding               8. The system of claim 7 where the summary describes a
of the specification. It is our intention to include all such           change in at least one of an insurance coverage, an insurance
modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the           deductible, or a policy limit an insurance company will pay
scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.                under an insurance coverage.
   We claim:                                                               9. The system of claim 4 where the acknowledgement
   1. An on-line insurance policy service system comprising:            comprises a price of the adjustment to the selected insurance
   a web browser for accessing remote insurance infonna-                policy parameter.
      tion by an insurance policyholder and software linked                10. The system of claim 9 where the price is related to a
      to the remote insurance information;                              change in at least one of an insurance coverage, an insurance
   a publicly accessible distributed network for transferring      10   deductible, or a policy limit an insurance company will pay
      data from the web browser;                                        under an insurance coverage.
   an infonnation module, remote from the web browser                      11. The system of claim 9 where the price is related to a
      coupled to the publicly accessible distributed network,           change in at least one of a change in a party insured, an item
      that identifies the insurance policyholder and verifies an        insured, or an address.
      insurance policy parameter of an existing insurance          15
                                                                           12. The system of claim 1 further comprising a payment
      policy of the insurance policyholder in real-time in              module coupled to the insurance policy adjustment module.
      response to first data received from the insurance
                                                                           13. The system of claim 12 where the payment module is
      policyholder through the publicly accessible distributed
                                                                        remote from the web browser.
      network and the web browser;
   where the first data comprises a personal security code         20      14. The system of claim 12 where the payment module
      that allows access to insurance policy parameters of the          comprises an account-based system that allows the on-line
      insurance policyholder;                                           insurance policy service system to receive on-line payments
   an insurance policy adjustment module, remote from the               through the publicly accessible distributed network.
      web browser coupled to the publicly accessible distrib-              15. The system of claim 14 where the account based
      uted network, that adjusts the insurance policyholder's      25   system allows the insurance policyholder to send an on-line
      insurance policy parameter in real-time in response to            payment through the publicly accessible distributed network
      second data received from the insurance policyholder              comprising the Internet.
      through the publicly accessible distributed network and              16. The system of claim 12 where the payment module
      the web browser,                                                  facilitates payment of an insurance cost through an elec-
   where the second data comprises a selection of the              30   tronic funds transfer.
      insurance policy parameter;                                          17. The system of claim 12 where the payment module
   where the insurance policy adjustment module provides                comprises an account-based system that allows The on-line
      an acknowledgement to the web browser in response to              insurance policy service system to receive electronic fund
      the adjustment of the selected insurance policy param-            transfer payments and credit card payments through the
      eter within the existing insurance policy, and imple-        35   publicly accessible distributed network.
      ments the adjustment to the existing insurance policy;               18. The system of claim 12 where the payment module
      and                                                               facilitates payment of an insurance cost through a credit
   where an insurer's computer generates an insurance docu-             card.
      ment customized to the insurance policyholder as iden-               19. The system of claim 1 where the customized insurance
      tified by the personal security code and sends the           40   document comprises content resident to the insurer's com-
      customized insurance document to the web browser in               puter and content received from the insurance policyholder
      response to the second data received from the insurance           through the publicly accessible distributed network and the
      policyholder through the publicly accessible distributed          web browser.
      network and the web browser.                                         20. The system of claim 1 where the web browser
   2. The system of claim 1 where the publicly accessible          45   generates data that specifies a transmission protocol and
distributed network comprises a plurality of gateways that              receives data from a memory of the insurer's computer.
use an Internet protocol to facilitate a communication                     21. The system of claim 1 where the insurance document
between the web browser and the information module.                     comprises a web page.
   3. The system of claim 1 where the insurance policy                     22. The system of claim 21 where the insurance document
adjustment module provides the acknowledgment to the web           50   comprises data generated by the insurer's computer that is
browser after the insurance policy adjustment module imple-             associated with graphics.
ments the adjustment to the existing insurance policy.
                                                                           23. The system of claim 21 where the insurance document
   4. The system of claim 1 where the Insurance policy
                                                                        comprises a data file generated by the insurer's computer.
adjustment module provides the acknowledgment to the web
browser before the insurance policy adjustment module              55      24. The system of claim 1 where the adjustment of the
implements the adjustment to the existing insurance policy.             selected insurance policy parameter comprises a change in
   5. The system of claim 4 where the insurance policy                  an item or items insured under the existing insurance policy.
adjustment module implements the adjustment to the exist-                  25. The system of claim 1 further comprising a claims
ing insurance policy in response to third data received from            information module that communicates claim processing
the insurance policyholder through the publicly accessible         60   information to the web browser.
distributed network and the web browser.                                   26. The system of claim 1 further comprising a claims
   6. The system of claim 4 where the acknowledgement                   information module coupled to the information module that
comprises data related to the adjustment of the selected                sends information to the web browser related to a status of
insurance parameter.                                                    an insurance claim.
   7. The system of claim 4 where the acknowledgement              65      27. The system of claim 1 where the adjustment of the
comprises a summary of the adjustment of the selected                   selected insurance policy parameter comprises a change in
insurance parameter.                                                    an insurance coverage.
                                                  US 7,124,088 B2
                            11                                                                  12
   28. The system of claim 1 where the adjustment of the               35. The system of claim 1 where the publicly accessible
selected insurance policy parameter comprises a change of           distributed network comprises the Internet.
an address.                                                            36. The system of claim 1 where the personal security
   29. The system of claim 1 where the adjustment of the            code comprises a password.
selected insurance policy parameter changes the party
insured under the existing insurance policy.                           37. The system of claim 36 where the password comprises
   30. The system of claim 29 where the party insured               a unique string of characters that identifies the insurance
comprises a person insured under the existing insurance             policyholder.
policy.                                                                38. The system of claim 1 where the first data is received
   31. The system of claim 1 where the adjustment of the       10   through a web page.
selected insurance policy parameter comprises changing the             39. The system of claim 1 further comprising a policy
selected insurance policy parameter or a party insured under        quote module coupled to the publicly accessible distributed
the existing insurance policy.                                      network to generate an insurance rate quote.
   32. The system of claim 1 where the adjustment of the
selected insurance policy parameter comprises receiving        15
                                                                       40. The system of claim 1 where the information module
information about a party to be insured under the existing          provides insurance information to the web browser through
insurance policy.                                                   the publicly accessible distributed network.
   33. The system of claim 1 where the adjustment of the               41. The system of claim 40 where the insurance informa-
selected insurance policy parameter adjusts a deductible.           tion comprises on-line forms.
   34. The system of claim 1 where the existing insurance      20
policy comprises a vehicle insurance policy.                                              * * * * *

								
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