Lisa Gilgan

ACE Boot Camp

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As many of you know, Agencyport has always been strongly committed to promoting ACORD adoption. (Check out our blog history on the topic.) That commitment starts at home with Agencyport University’s (APU) education and certification of our own team (18 in-house ACEs to date and going strong), and extends out to the greater insurance community through our partnership with ACORD.

Lisa GilganACE Boot Camp
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Can’t get enough ACORD?

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Shhh. Testing in progress.

Shhh. Testing in progress.

Neither can we. That’s why we set out on a quest at the beginning of 2015 to become the industry solution provider with the most ACORD Certified Experts (ACEs) – evah! You may remember reading about this endeavor in my May blog post, AP University Hits the Airwaves. Since that time, Agencyport has shepherded 13 individuals through the certification process. My colleague, Caleen Alexanderson, has been hugely instrumental in this effort, drilling our ACE candidates with a series of exam prep sessions dubbed ACE Boot Camp. We started the year with three ACEs, and now have a total of 13! We need just five more to surpass the leader, an outfit with 10K+ employees. I’d say we’re holding our own against the big boys.

If you’re interested in pursuing your ACE certification, register here to attend the ACE track at our Annual Conference on Cape Cod in September. Not only will you be able to attend Caleen’s Boot Camp—the same preparation as our own successful ACE candidates—you’ll also be able to take the exam right at the conference and know whether you passed before you leave.* We’re also proud to tell you that ACORD representatives will be attending the welcome reception at the Conference, and will present Agencyport’s own newly-minted ACEs with their hard-won certificates.

A couple of other important ACORD tidbits have developed during this quest. First, I was invited by ACORD to serve on its ACE Certification Committee, which is responsible for updating the ACE exams. The committee will be meeting at the ACORD 2015 conference in Boca Raton in November.

Second, Agencyport registered with ACORD to become an official ACE testing site. Not only can we proctor the new online exams (with instant results) for Agencyport employees, but we can also offer proctoring services to external organizations looking to take the ACE exam. Please feel free to contact me (lisa.gilgan@agencyport.com) or Caleen (caleen.alexanderson@agencyport.com) directly if this is of interest to you.

*advance registration with ACORD is required to take the ACE exam

It’s true, Agencyport really can’t get enough of ACORD… and for good reason. Its continued improvement, development, use, and adoption promises to do nothing but improve the industry we all know and love.

Lisa GilganCan’t get enough ACORD?
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AP University Hits the Airwaves

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If you don’t follow Agencyport on Twitter (@Agencyport), you may have missed hearing about Agencyport University (APU) on the Learning Insights Radio show. The program is a forum for learning leaders across the country to share best practices, lessons learned, and cutting edge techniques and technologies in the learning field. Naturally, APU was invited as a guest. If you’re interested in listening to our segment, you can find it here.

Caleen Alexanderson (@CaleenAlex) and I (@lbgilgan) spoke to the radio audience about APU in general and, specifically, our initiative to support Agencyport employees in pursuit of their ACORD Certified Expert (ACE) status. Since the ACORD standard is the bedrock of our industry, and the foundation on which our products are built, it’s critical that we’re experts in all things ACORD. APU makes that happen.

There are three knowledge areas that candidates need to master in order to become an ACE: ACORD history and governance; ACORD XML and AL3 data standards; and insurance industry knowledge. Caleen is in the midst of prepping our 14 current ACE candidates with boot camp sessions, drilling them with what they need to know to pass the ACORD exam. In addition, we offer a deeper dive course on ACORD XML to project teams to educate them on proper xpath mapping for their implementations. This course is also available to customers.

I’m facilitating regular study sessions on insurance industry knowledge leading up to a Property & Casualty Insurance certification exam. We’re utilizing a tool called Socrative to engage the cadets (keeping with the boot camp theme, here), quizzing them along the way to reinforce the concepts and ensure that they stick.

Never ones to pass up a reason to celebrate, we are planning to recognize all of the successful ACE candidates at our Annual Conference on Cape Cod this fall. ACORD will be on hand at our welcome reception to present certificates to our new ACEs. We hope you can be there to join us in congratulating their accomplishment.

If you are interested in learning more about ACE certification or perhaps even earning it yourself, you can contact Caleen or me. We can tell you about the value of the certification and how our drill instructors can help you earn your certification with our ACE boot camp at the Annual Conference.

Lisa: lisa.gilgan@agencyport.com

Caleen: caleen.alexanderson@agencyport.com

 

Lisa GilganAP University Hits the Airwaves
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Hidden Gems

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Walking along the beach, I keep my eyes on the sand, hoping to catch a glimmer.  Then, there it is—a kaleidoscope blanket of gems spread out before me.  As I look closer, I see how each one is unique, yet no less dazzling than the others all around it.Clover

This is how I feel each year when I receive resumes from candidates for our internship program with University College Cork in Ireland, a partnership that began in 2006 with just four applicants for two positions.

Since that first experimental year, the program has evolved and matured. Interns now have the opportunity to fully embed with our product team or various delivery teams, gaining exposure to as much real-world project experience as possible.  We also throw them into the deep end of our corporate culture pool, recruiting them for such raucous activities as local league softball matches, intense Pictionary tournaments, and bone-crushing indoor soccer.  And it seems the good word has traveled back to the other side of The Pond.  We recently hired interns for the 2014 placement year and had to select just two from a pool of 25 well-qualified candidates—no easy task, I assure you.  Everyone we speak with demonstrates technical savvy beyond his or her years, and is incredibly bright and charming. (Of course they are—this is the Irish we’re talking about after all.)

Part of the success of the Agencyport/UCC partnership stems from our work together to capitalize on the synergies of our respective goals.  We meet regularly with students during their placement to ensure they are meeting their goals and are provided with opportunities to work on our cutting edge technology and innovative products. In return, we benefit from their talents and enthusiasm for five months.  The result is a potential employee who can hit the ground running.  Because of the emphasis we place on interns’ professional growth and the prospect of potential future employment—some of our most successful hires are alums of the program—Agencyport has become a top choice among program participants, competing against the likes of Fidelity, Microsoft, and Google.

With history as our guide, we now know that no matter which individuals we settle on each year, they will make great contributions to our organization:  personally, culturally and intellectually.  We have Irish interns to thank for some great technical solutions, including a seriously complex automated Jmeter test suite for one of our customers and a critically-acclaimed user conference mobile app.

Over the years, my colleagues and I have come to greatly admire and respect both our UCC interns and the program advisors, Ciaran Murphy and Patricia Lynch. These professional relationships have grown into lasting friendships, and I look forward to continuing to build both the program and the foundations of successful careers, whether it is software engineering or stardom in world-famous videos.  Either way, we can say “we knew them when.”

Agencyport is always on the lookout for bright, hardworking, fun-loving team members: both interns and full-time players.  (And you don’t even have to be from Ireland!) Interested in learning more? Check out our Careers Page.

Lisa GilganHidden Gems
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