Louisa Rogers

Agents and Carriers Must Collaborate on Download

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Quality customer service throughout the buying chain is key to customer retention and loyalty. Policyholders expect it from their agents, and if they don’t get it, they’ll find a different agency to work with. Worse yet, they’ll go with a direct online provider, (which is a whole other blog). The same goes for agents and their carriers. If a carrier does not offer the tools agents need to keep their agency management system (AMS) up to date with their policyholders’ information, agents will place business with an insurer that does.

Louisa RogersAgents and Carriers Must Collaborate on Download
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Imagine … You + Agencyport + Newport, Rhode Island

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Newport Marriott, Rhode IslandIt’s a Monday morning in late September. You roll out of bed, open your curtains, and are met by the warm fall sun dancing off of yacht-filled Newport harbor. After a hearty New England breakfast, you spend the day at the spectacular Newport Marriott with dozens of industry peers exchanging experiences, challenges, concerns, opportunities and solutions. And after a traditional Lobster dinner, you hit the dance floor with the always lively Agencyport team.

Louisa RogersImagine … You + Agencyport + Newport, Rhode Island
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On Demand: 10 Things that Drive Agents Nuts Working with Carriers

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Stressful and frustrated Asian manager talking on telephone in oWhat better way to learn what drives Agents nuts than straight from the horse’s mouth? And that’s just what happened when Foy Insurance president, Mike Foy, and the head of our Agent Insight Team, Caleen Alexanderson, got together with ACORD  for the webcast “The Top 10 Things that Drive Agents Nuts Working with Carriers.” And it’s now available on demand!

Louisa RogersOn Demand: 10 Things that Drive Agents Nuts Working with Carriers
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Eastern Alliance Reduces Manual Underwriting Steps by 70%

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Underwriting process inefficiency is a common concern for carriers, even those with a web-based agent portal. Because many agents still prefer to email new business submissions, underwriting technicians are often required to rekey submitted data into their portal—putting extra pressure on the underwriting staff and slowing the process. Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, a leading workers’ compensation insurer, was one such carrier.

Earlier this year, Eastern partnered with us to implement Turnstile®, our ACORD PDF form-to-XML SaaS conversion solution. Adding Turnstile to its underwriting process achieved two goals for the carrier:

  • To streamline underwriting workflow, and
  • To continue to allow agents to submit new business in their preferred manner—via AgencyPortal® or email.

The initiative has resulted in significant improvements and benefits in several areas:

  • A decrease in the manual new business process from 20 steps to 6 steps—a 70% reduction
  • Freed up time for underwriters to take on new projects and responsibilities
  • The ability to capture important location and geographical data, reducing work for underwriters later in the process
  • Simplified training of underwriting technicians

Learn more about Eastern’s new efficiencies and abilities in this case study.

Louisa RogersEastern Alliance Reduces Manual Underwriting Steps by 70%
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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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Check Out Our Annual Conference Keynote Speakers

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As we continue to gear up for the conference, I am thrilled to share with you the members of our Customer Keynote Session. This highly experienced group of insurance leaders will share some of the challenges and opportunities they and others face as they navigate a rapidly-changing marketplace.

 

Mike Lex: SVP Commercial Lines

Mike has served the Allied and Nationwide Insurance organizations for more than 25 years in both operational and strategic roles. He currently leads commercial pricing, product and underwriting strategies for Nationwide.

    Kimberly Koury: CIO & VP Information Systems

Kimberly leads the development and execution of Electric Insurance’s multi-generational information systems plan. She also serves as Executive Advisor to the GE Women’s Network Beverly hub.

       Cilsy Harris: VP Business Delivery 

Chosen as a top emerging leader at The Hanover for the carrier’s Leadership in Action forum, Cilsy has more than 20 years of experience at the company, successfully leading large programs focused on technology implementations, risk mitigation, cost effectiveness and workforce design.

To expand the conversation further, leaders from Strategy Meets Action (SMA) and Novarica will respond to the Customer Viewpoints from their perspectives during an analyst panel discussion later on Monday afternoon.

Only 11 more days until the Conference. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Louisa RogersCheck Out Our Annual Conference Keynote Speakers
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Rethinking Millennials

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Drones, driverless cars, and robots, oh my! While exhibiting at the IASA Annual Conference in Las Vegas this week, I had the opportunity to attend the session Disruption/Vision 2030 facilitated by Bill Freitag from Majesco. The objective of the session was to facilitate a discussion about these and other new industry phenomena, and how they could help carriers distinguish themselves from their competition.

During the session, Freitag posed the question, “How do you see the new generation of Millennials disrupting the industry?” (For the record: the term Millennials is competing in the overuse category with Innovation and Configuration.  A real Disruption would be finding a way to avoid the word Millennials!) As “an individual with a birth year between the 1980s and early 2000s,” this questioned piqued my interest. What do carriers think my generation brings to the table?

The answers shocked me. Rather than considering any technological knowledge or fresh outlook we might bring to a relatively slow-moving industry, the focus became the world view that (apparently) all of us possess. The consensus was that Millennials do not like face-to-face conversations, we want to make our own hours, we prefer to work from home, and (my personal favorite) we expect free food in the office. Sitting in the back of the room listening to Baby Boomers stereotype my generation, I decided to try to set a few things straight…

Dear Insurance Veterans,

Millennials are not here to throw a monkey wrench into this venerable industry. Quite the opposite. With your help, we see some great opportunities to make it better. In many important ways, we’re just like you. In fact, a recent survey from IBM Institute for Business Value compares workplace preferences and behavior patterns across multiple generations, and it turns out that most “individuals with a birth year between the 1980s and early 2000s” want the same things that our older colleagues do. For example, the study indicates that despite misconceptions to the contrary, employees from all three of the groups studied—Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials—share the desire to add value to their organization and to work with colleagues from varying age groups and backgrounds. Similarly, though Millennials suffer from a reputation of needing to do everything online, the study indicates that, like other generations, we prefer to learn by attending conferences, receiving training in the classroom, and working alongside colleagues—all face-to-face interactions (IBM Institute for Business Value).

IBM Institute for Business Value's study on The real story behind Millennials in the workplace

Source: IBM Institute for Business Value’s study on The real story behind Millennials in the workplace

We newcomers can’t compete with the years of industry experience of our older colleagues—the trends, the cycles, the nuances, the lessons resulting from failures and successes. But we can offer new ideas and perspectives that might improve things a bit. How might some of the technologies that we have been raised on provide a competitive edge? Could our social- and work-style preferences foster bigger and better ideas? Could we help speed processes?

At Agencyport, I’ve experienced first-hand practices that keep our younger staff engaged, creative and energized around a 350-year old industry. While they might not be perfect fits for all insurance-related companies, surely some elements could breathe fresh life into many business practices:

  • The environment supports applying our fresh outlook to past and current problems. Regular Hackathons and dedicated time within the workweek for special projects and creative ventures help prevent stale thinking.
  • We’re encouraged to work hard and play hard. After-work sports teams, company outings and feisty Pictionary competitions foster strong and trusting relationships between colleagues.
  • A variety of seating options and casual living spaces cultivate collaboration and teamwork.
  • Competitive salaries and benefits help keep us motivated and serious about our work.

The world is changing faster than ever before—technologically, socially, and business-wise. One of the greatest challenges that the Insurance industry faces is keeping pace with that change. Let us be your partner.

Louisa Rogers

Agencyport Software

 

 

Louisa RogersRethinking Millennials
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Welcome to the Agent Aggravation Series

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that Agencyport has a long and deep relationship with independent Agents. We’ve spent years picking their brains and then developing software for carriers that addresses Agents’ needs and desires. Last year, we formalized this research and produced regular insight reports. (Head over to www.powertotheagents.com to check them out.)

This year, we’re switching it up a bit and rolling out an Agent Aggravation Series. Based on topics we highlighted in ITA Pro’s Buyers’ Guide “Ten Things that Drive Your Agents Nuts,” this is a series of more bite-sized papers that addresses common and fixable issues that (still!) aggravate Agents.

The first Agent Aggravation paper addresses Agents’ frustration over their inability to get and bind quotes online. Download it to learn why this is still an issue, and a few simple changes that can make a huge impact on the business you transact with your Agent channel.

 

Louisa RogersWelcome to the Agent Aggravation Series
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Going Direct: Where Do Agents Stand?

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Jenn Parker, our Agent Insight Guru

Carriers selling direct to the consumer is not a new topic, especially in personal lines, but with the model expanding into small commercial, the discussion is becoming more complex and interesting from both the carrier’s and the agent’s perspectives. How is it impacting long-standing carrier/agent relationships? Can the agent continue to add value and make money? Where? How?

In her last Agent Insight paper of the year, Jenn Parker explains how agents are thinking about and responding to this consumer-driven trend and outlines some of the ways that carriers and agents are working together to provide a balanced solution. To learn how carriers can keep agents as a trusted partner, harness their value, and answer this growing consumer demand, read the Insight Report.

Want more actionable Agent Insight? Visit www.powertotheagents.com.
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Louisa RogersGoing Direct: Where Do Agents Stand?
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Agent Insight Update: Ease of Doing Business

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Ease of doing business is a term with which we’ve all become very familiar. The problem is, carriers and agents often have different views on what “ease” truly means, making it difficult for either party to understand the issues the other is facing. In order to chip away at this issue, it’s important to keep the lines of communication between these partners open and active… Enter our resident Agent Insight specialist, Jenn Parker.

Jenn is regularly on the road meeting with independent agents and asking them about the factors that play important roles in agent/carrier interactions—the stuff that often determines which carrier an agent will go to first. From those conversations, her latest paper outlines the six most important ways carriers can improve ease of doing business for their agents.

Interested in more Agent Insight? Check back periodically at www.powertotheagents.com for our reports and interviews.
Agent Insight Paper on Ease of Doing Business

Louisa RogersAgent Insight Update: Ease of Doing Business
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