Bluegrass Insurance Services
- Based in Elizabethtown, KY.
- Founded in 2008
- 60% commercial and 30% personal
- 13 Employees
“With SIS and XE there is a level of attentiveness and support that you just don’t see anywhere else. They really care about making sure you get what you need for your agency. That XE lives up to your expectations and that you can serve your clients exactly as you need to. XE is an intuitive, easy-to-use system. Once you make the switch, you won’t look back.”
Fast-growing Bluegrass Insurance Services is a full-service agency focused on offering the best coverage for whatever insurance coverage needs a client may have. Located in Elizabethtown, KY, Bluegrass provides home, auto, business and life insurance services and solutions for customers across the state.
When Denise and her team discovered SIS and Partner XE, they quickly recognized its ease-of-use compared to their existing management system and realized it would be better suited to their evolving needs. Find out why they took action to make the switch to Partner XE by reading more below.
Tell me a little bit about Bluegrass Insurance Services—how did your agency get started?
In 2008, our owner, James Mason purchased an existing agency in order to be closer to his family. At the time, it was a small agency with a handful of staff. Denise joined the firm four years later, as did seven additional staff.
Bluegrass’ motto is “We’ll do anything,” when it comes to finding clients the best coverage solutions to suit their needs. We make sure any person or business has exactly what they need to protect their families, businesses, assets and more.
How long were you with your previous system? What led you to consider changing your management system?
We were with our previous system for around eight years. Using that system proved to be quite cumbersome. We couldn’t get any consistent support to answer questions or training to enable our team to take full advantage of its functionalities. It took some time, but about four years after I joined the agency, we realized we needed to look for another solution.
How did you connect with SIS and Partner XE?
I got an email from Michael about XE, which caught my attention. We then participated in a webinar to “tour” Partner XE and were even more intrigued. The functionality looked familiar to us—like the Office-based programs we were comfortable with—and XE seemed a lot more user friendly.
We stuck it out with our existing system for a couple more years, as we didn’t have enough internal “buy in” to make a switch yet. Two years later and it just wasn’t getting any better with our existing management system. We realized our agency was growing and we had to get a better solution. We couldn’t wait any longer.
We never forgot about Partner XE. I decided to call other agencies that had XE and heard nothing but positive reviews. We were pretty sold at that point.
I kept hearing about the customer service other agencies were getting with Partner XE. When they called, they weren’t left on hold for an hour but were quickly connected with someone who could answer questions. That has held true for us too.
What have you found SIS to provide that larger providers do not?
When we make suggestions to SIS about Partner XE, we eventually see our suggestions come to fruition. XE listens to us. They take our feedback and make changes and improvements. Our previous system was so cumbersome but XE is extremely intuitive.
What about Partner XE stands out to you?
Being able to scan documents and upload them directly into a customer’s file saves us a lot of time. We can drag and drop documents into files. As soon as I add a document to a file, I can add a note.
Even though we don’t yet fully use the accounting aspects of the system, we are keeping up much better with payments received and paid out. Our sales people can go in and see what a customer might owe. We use it to record “pass through payments” and can look to see where a customer stands in terms of payments. This has helped us a lot.
When I do a deposit, I can scan checks into XE and attach them to a certain bank account and label it. This enables our customer service teams to easily find if and when checks were deposited if a client calls in.
What aspects of the Partner XE system do you or your team use the most?
We do a lot of certificates. We also use a universal template for group insurance packages with more than one individual. This enables us to print certificates for more than just the policyholder. This is incredibly helpful at renewal times.
We also use notes quite a bit.
We are still new to XE and our use of the system is still evolving as we evolve. We still have more to learn and take advantage of with the system.
What advice would you offer to someone weighing SIS and Partner XE against other providers?
For those who have decided to go with Partner XE, I’d suggest that they make sure to do the learning videos. We did not spend enough time ahead of time to learn what the system could do, to play with the system and get used to it ahead of time. This left us at a slight disadvantage when we got started, as we had too many fundamental questions about the basics during the onsite training.
We didn’t do enough work ahead of time on our end. I’d advise others to make sure all employees watch the learning videos and utilize the test database to get ready.
For any agencies still weighing SIS and Partner XE against other providers, I’d say to be clear on your needs. But go for it. For the cost, the tech support, and the constant customer service, XE is worth it. You won’t be disappointed.
Anything else you’d offer to other business owners considering making a change?
It’s going to be tough to transition to any other system. You can’t avoid that. But if you have an agency like we have, committed to serving your customers, you will come out better in the long run. Even if you have employees who aren’t incredibly tech savvy, even they will be able to understand and use XE with a pretty short learning curve.
I’d also encourage agencies to identify a cheerleader who can help keep the team motivated during the transition. It can be helpful to acknowledge the challenges but to also make clear that “this is what we’re doing and we’re not going back.” Some people will resist any change but if you all take the necessary steps to get ready, you will all get through it.
I’d also say don’t be afraid to email or contact XE tech support when anything might not be clear or isn’t working right for you or your team. Give feedback and someone will always get back to you to answer your questions. Encourage your employees to do the same.
Any final thoughts?
With XE, if you need to contact the owner of the company, he is available to you. He responds, whether your feedback is good, bad or indifferent. That says a lot. You can go to anyone in the company with questions and get help.
XE and SIS bring key people to the table, giving insight into other aspects of your business. One day, when I was having trouble with reports in Excel, Jake spent more than thirty minutes with me on the phone to help me get what I needed.
The entire SIS and XE team is just an invaluable resource. They have people who are willing to help when you reach out, no matter what your need may be. You just can’t beat that level of attentiveness and support.