Annual Conference

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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A Look Back at 2015

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Spreading holiday cheer to the kids at DCF Roxbury

Spreading holiday cheer to the kids at DCF Roxbury

As we count down the final weeks of 2015, there is a lot to be thankful for at Agencyport:

  • Seven new customers
  • Surpassing of our financial goals for the 2nd year running
  • The addition of Fil Firmani, SVP of Product and Strategy, to the team
  • Articulation of our digital and omni-channel strategy
  • The most robust three-year, fully-funded product roadmap in Agencyport history
  • Two new AgencyPortal releases adding UX functionality based on Agent Insight to satiate the needs of our 125,000+ agent users
  • 18 Agent Insight visits
  • Our 200,000th Turnstile form in production—with over 130,000,000 keystrokes saved
  • Five ACORD awards
  • The addition of enough ACORD Certified Experts (ACEs) for us to claim more ACEs than any other vendor
  • A milestone 10th Agencyport Annual Conference—according many, the best yet
  • An official partnership with policy administration leader Accenture Duck Creek
  • The launch of our Customer Insight program, with four customers already signed on
  • Two successful hackathons, resulting in dozens of new ideas and more than ten solutions added to our Shared Solutions Repository

Not bad for twelve months. I’m extremely fortunate and proud to be a part of this team, and fired up about what is around the corner in 2016.

 

Curt StevensonA Look Back at 2015
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Annual Conference Gold Nuggets

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It’s been extremely gratifying over the last couple of weeks to hear so many customers call our recent Tenth Annual Conference “the best one yet.” I’ll admit, I have to agree. And that admission is much less boastful than it sounds. The conference’s success reaches far beyond Agencyport’s role. What put the event over the top was the dynamic, multi-directional idea-sharing and learning among its attendees—our carriers, prospects, partners and user communities. It was the most energetic I have experienced at an AP conference–everyone eager to learn from everyone else.

Over the course of two and half days, there were a number of themes that emerged. Some we expected (and even planned), and others we did not. Here is a tasting:

  • People no longer need to be convinced that disruptive change is coming to the Insurance Industry. It’s here. Now. Rather than speculating about whether it is coming, or even when, carriers are figuring out how to either compete with the change or participate in it.
  • Newer dilemmas join not-so-new ones:

– The delicate trend of direct-to-consumer… Everyone acknowledged the consumer demand—both in personal and small commercial, and to some degree, even mid- to large-sized commercial risks—and the varying degree to which insureds want agents involved in purchasing and servicing. The consistent new reality? Consumers want to interact with carriers and agents on their terms. While agents’ perspectives on direct to consumer run a broad spectrum from denial to whole-hearted embrace, agents’ at our conference indicated that they just want to be informed (in real time) by the carrier—not just so they have the opportunity to up-sell (a win-win, by the way), but also so that they can meet their fiduciary obligations to their insureds. This increasingly complex relationship fully supports the digital omni-channel vision we have been discussing with our customers.

– Though not new, the tradeoffs between sticking with industry-standard fields versus asking carrier-specific questions during the application process remains a debate and challenge. Clearly, asking strictly “standard” questions makes carrier participation in third-party solutions such as comparative raters, Google Compare, compare.com and other marketplaces much easier—a clear advantage. But how do carriers weigh that against the potential risk of losing the “Secret Sauce” to your underwriting and profitability, namely carrier-specific questions?

  • At a time when very little about the future of P&C Insurance seems certain—whether the quickly evolving hardware and software technologies and consumer buying trends or carrier and agency business models, weather patterns, and M&A trends—more and more of our customers and partners are seeing the value of collaboration. The fear of disclosing secret sauces is fast giving way to the benefits of story-, challenge-, solution- and idea-sharing. Group problem-solving is being seen less as an agent of competitive erosion and more as a necessity for ongoing industry strength.

Thanks, once again, to our Conference sponsors: Ivans, Lexis/Nexis, Silanis, Valen Analytics, Capgemini, E2Value, Accenture Duck Creek and Guidewire, without whom ours would be just another conference. And, of course, our amazing customers, without whom we wouldn’t exist. We look forward to many more years of bright, exciting problem-solving and market shattering solutions.

Curt StevensonAnnual Conference Gold Nuggets
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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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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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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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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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Our Challenge: Share What You Know

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dev-zone-at-the-lake-blogAfter unveiling our new Developer Zone to our customers at our recent conference in Stowe, Vermont, we are now proud to officially announce its availability to everyone.  That’s right, everyone.  No usernames or passwords. Open access to our entire volume of technical content. Because that’s the way we think it should be, and we’re urging other vendors to do the same.  Learn more about our challenge from Mike Albert, SVP of Product Strategy at Agencyport and other steps that Agencyport is taking to try to move our historically closed industry to one that thrives on openness.

Tara DurheimOur Challenge: Share What You Know
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