Learn how State Auto simplified online new business processes for its agent partners

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SMA Research, Insurance Ecosystem 2015

SMA Research, Insurance Ecosystem 2015

It’s no secret that many insurance carriers are lagging when it comes to a modern, digital new business process. Agent and consumer expectations around online experiences have soared ahead of many insurers’ capabilities. The good news is that insurers know it.

The number one strategic initiative and investment for 85% of North American insurers in 2015 was customer engagement and experience (SMA Research, Insurance Ecosystem 2015). Tier 1 P&C carrier State Auto acknowledged the demand and set two goals to promote new business: 1) increase overall agent satisfaction and 2) simplify and modernize its agents’ web-based experience.

With the implementation of AgencyPortal® and E-SignLive from Silanis, State Auto Insurance Companies has reduced its cost of managing paper by 90%, increased its quote volume by 50-70%, and seen a 72% increase in new business.

Join us, State Auto, Silanis Technology, and PropertyCasualty360 for a free on demand webinar where you will learn:

  • Digital workflow best practices for ease-of-use
  • Top portal and e-signature requirements to consider
  • Change management best practices to achieve high adoption (State Auto reached 50% in just 10 days!)

Enjoy!

Louisa RogersLearn how State Auto simplified online new business processes for its agent partners
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The Secret Sauce

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In keeping with our time-honored tradition, here it is: the 2015 Agencyport Annual Conference video. Having premiered in Chatham, Massachusetts on Monday to an exuberant gathering of P&C carriers and service providers from all over the country, we are now proud to now offer it to the world!  (We get pretty excited about our videos.)

Special thanks to our genius film-making muse, Jeff Boedeker; to our oscar-worthy customers, Ken Wolff from Electric Insurance and Mark Benoit from Arbella; and to our ever-enthusiastic Agencyport cast.

Grab some popcorn and a Coke, sit back and enjoy…

 

 

Julie HoweThe Secret Sauce
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In theaters this fall: The Agencyport Annual Conference video

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If you’ve ever attended an Agencyport Annual Conference, you know what an important part of our opening session the video has become. 2015—our 10th annual conference (!)—will be no different. We hope to see you for the premiere of the action-packed 2015 Annual Conference Opening Video in Chatham on September 28th.

For now, enjoy a little sneak peek:

Julie HoweIn theaters this fall: The Agencyport Annual Conference video
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Casting Call – Open to Customers!

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Curt and the Guru

Myself and The Guru in Last Year’s Video

Ever considered the possibility of acting on the big screen? This could be your chance to make that dream a reality! To celebrate our Tenth Annual Conference, we are entering uncharted territory by inviting you, our customers, to star in our opening video with us.  If you aren’t familiar with The Guru, Kenny Frawd or any of our other characters, make yourself a bowl of popcorn and check them out.

I don’t want to unveil too much of the plot for this year’s cinematic feature, but we’ve again enlisted our friend and highly-overqualified producer/director, Jeff Boedeker, to take some time out of his intellectual, award-winning film-making schedule for National Geographic and the Discovery Channel to help Agencyport Studios create something like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles meets Weekend at Bernie’s meets West Side Story meets National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Sound interesting? You don’t need acting chops, a SAG card or even a sense of humor–we just want you. To participate, you must be able to come to Boston on either July 29 or 30 (we’ll pick the day that is best for our volunteers). Filming will take about two hours, and you’ll be welcome to work out of our Boston office for the rest of the day (maybe even with your project team!). Of course, lunch is on us!

If you are interested, please email our event coordinator, Louisa Rogers, to get all the details.

Curt StevensonCasting Call – Open to Customers!
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ACORD Standards to Greater Heights

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Anyone who has been in this industry for more than ten minutes knows that ACORD standards, both their Form and XML Data versions, sit at its foundation. They provide consistency, efficiency and simplicity to one of the world’s most inconsistent, inefficient and complex industries.

Sadly, however, when these Form and Data champions of STP and defenders of streamline meet in the hands of insurance carriers, efficiency can come to a screeching halt. The ACORD form/data workflow chasm is wide, and continues to be bridged primarily by time-consuming rekeying by both agents and carriers.

The good news is that Agencyport has built its business on bridge-building—connecting the agency system world to that of the carrier system. As such, tackling the form/data chasm has been a natural fit for us. Over the last few years of actively pushing rekeying nearer to extinction with our ACORD form-to-data solution, Turnstile, we’ve learned a few important things about where the solution is most helpful and effective: improving adoption of carriers’ agent portals, and helping carriers’ new business and FNOL intake teams optimize and simplify their processes.

We’ve created a couple of videos to help paint more detailed pictures of each of these Turnstile applications. Let us know what you think. And we’d love to hear your ideas about where you think ACORD form-to-data conversion could help streamline and speed workflow.

 

Julie HoweACORD Standards to Greater Heights
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The Guru in You

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In keeping with what has become tradition around here, it is with great pride that we present this year’s annual conference opening video: The Guru in You.

Put your headphones on. Sit back in a comfy chair. Grab a bag of microwave popcorn. But most importantly, enjoy.

Michael AlbertThe Guru in You
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In Theaters this Fall: The Agencyport Annual Conference Video

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If you’ve ever attended an Agencyport Annual Conference, you know what an important part of our opening session the video has become. 2014 will be no different. Hope to see you for the premiere of the inspirational 2014 Annual Conference Opening Video in Stowe on Sept 29th.

For now, enjoy a little sneak peek:

Michael AlbertIn Theaters this Fall: The Agencyport Annual Conference Video
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Q&A with Agencyport’s new Data Standards Guru

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CaleenMeet Caleen Alexanderson, Agencyport’s new Data Standards Specialist. For nearly 26 years, she worked in a variety of key positions at Vertafore, researching and implementing business specifications for agency management system integration using the ACORD Standards. Caleen is an active member of ACORD working groups, currently serving as Chair of the Coverage Implementation Group.

Why are insurance standards important for the modern insurance carrier?

Standards support carriers in a couple of important ways: first, they allow carriers to integrate consistently with a variety of industry vendors. Standards also streamline workflows and create consistency for carriers’ agents—making agents’ lives easier ultimately brings more business quickly to those carriers.

 Why are the standards important for today’s agent?

Every carrier is unique—different products, different workflows, different rules, different requirements—and agents need to work with all of them. Being able to use standards lets agents employ consistent, efficient, best practice workflows within their offices and spend less time trying to figure out what each carrier is asking for on a quote or submission, or what they are getting in download.  Agents who request standard data from their carriers are likely to get it.  Agents need to understand they are an important and influential part of the process and can (and should) request that their carriers use standard data.

What is your favorite ACORD Standard and why?

That’s an interesting question. I’d have to say Activity Note Download because it’s a very simple transaction for carriers to implement and can provide great benefit to an agency.  Activity Note Download allows carriers to send all kinds of transactions—from billing pending cancellation notices with an attachment of the billing notice that was sent to the insured, to claims download notifications, to the actual policy document.  This ability saves agents significant time since they don’t have to log into carrier websites to download the activity.  It’s also an XML transaction, not AL3, which is much easier for implementers to develop.

Why should vendors be actively involved with ACORD and its working groups?

Because we have the unique experience of working with both the senders and receivers of data, vendors are a key piece of the standards process. As such, we need to share our carrier and agent experiences as well as explain how data will be processed in our own systems. ACORD working groups are three-legged stools; without one of the carrier, agent or vendor legs, the stool is useless.  Standards are only as strong as the groups who use them… ACORD is always looking for new participants. 

What can we expect to see from ACORD in the way of standards in the coming year?

ACORD is deeply involved with getting all forms mapped to the XPaths and AL3 elements to ensure consistent mapping and enhanced real time experiences.  This work has created an increase in maintenance requests to improve the data mapping for AL3 and XML.  Because the data standards are being reviewed and enhanced by working groups, we’ll also see more lines of businesses, such as Commercial Inland Marine and Agriculture, being implemented by more participants. It’s very exciting to see lines of business that agents have been requesting moving forward.

Can you tell us something about ACORD or standards that people may not know that you think they should?

A lot of organizations don’t realize the benefits of having their employees certified as ACORD Certified Experts (ACE). Employees who understand the standards process and have a working knowledge of AL3, XML and insurance are simply better at their jobs.  With this designation, ACORD also provides great opportunities for networking, sharing ideas and finding resolutions for tough implementations. ACE Certification is a great organizational investment.

What is your favorite episode of the ACORD minute? 

Oh, without a doubt, it’s the AIF spot starring Dale Ductible, Ken “Sticky Fingers” O’Sullivan and Ernie Varadharajan Jr.!  A must-see!

Tara DurheimQ&A with Agencyport’s new Data Standards Guru
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Young Agents: The Future of Insurance

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A recent study in the Insurance Journal of 400 young agents nationwide paints a compelling picture of today’s millennial agents. First, you might be surprised at just how young these young agents are. While nearly 50 percent of the insurance industry’s workforce is over the age of 45, the other 50% is younger. And of that younger set: 56.0% are 31 to 40 years old; 44.0% are 30 and under.

When you’re making decisions (including technology decisions) that relate to your agents, are you thinking about that 44%? You should be.

Some of the most notable agency-world challenges named by young agents in the study include:
• Competing with online and direct sales (44.2%),
• Streamlining agency processes (42.5%),
• Better use of technology (29.1%), and
• Upgrading technology (27.9%).

Sense a theme here?

While some of your seasoned agent base may be more tolerant of inefficient processes and less-than- perfect technology, younger agents won’t be as flexible. These folks grew up online. Their lives are organized, simplified, expedited and pretty much conducted through the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Amazon. No wonder they’re frustrated when they get to work. Technology is supposed to help them do their jobs, not get in the way.

Young agents are hungry. They want to sell; they want to grow their business (see graph below); and they’re confident they can do both. Can carriers help them succeed? We’ve already blogged about how agents are using social media to gain business and communicate with policyholders. Is there room for carriers to help or encourage their efforts here? On the other side of the process, is the technology you offer agents and their CSRs as fast, efficient, flexible and intuitive as they have come to expect? If it is, you’re probably getting their business.

Want to be a hero to your agents—young and old? Curious about why they write business with one carrier over another? We’re on the road talking with them all the time. Learn what they’re saying at: powertotheagents.com. Have a topic you’d like us to broach with them? Let us know!

Tara DurheimYoung Agents: The Future of Insurance
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AC 2013: Agent Panel Video

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Doubting whether agents’ experience on your point-of-sale portal influences their decision about where to place business? We highly recommend you take 3:58 minutes to hear a few of things they have to say…

To see more of what we presented at our Annual Conference last week, download the slides from our Developer Zone.

Tara DurheimAC 2013: Agent Panel Video
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