Insurance Consultants Group
- Based in Rocky River, OH.
- 35% commercial and 65% personal
- 20 Employees
“Our agency has grown up alongside SIS. We have realistically tripled or quadrupled in premium volume over that same amount of time… Partner has been scale-able right along the way.”
A decade and a half of organic growth, mergers and acquisitions have helped the Insurance Consultants Group partners grow from several individual agencies into a dynamic force of 20 producers and 8 full time office employees. Thanks to SEMCI Partner/ Partner XE’s comprehensive features, scalability and affordability; the excellent service provided by the SIS team and consistent upgrades to the product, SIS has been the agency’s management system provider of choice right along the way.
How long have you been using Partner XE as your agency management system?
Since the beginning really. I started with SIS and their agency management system over 15 years ago when I was a one-man agency within another agency. I didn’t have any back up staff. I was everything. So for me, it made sense to have the download function and filing function and updating function and note function and E&O concerns addressed by a management system. Eventually I merged my one agency with another and convinced them to go with SIS as well.
So, it sounds like your agency sort of grew up alongside SIS…
Yes, you could definitely say our agency has grown up alongside SIS. We have realistically tripled or quadrupled in premium volume over that same amount of time. We started as several individual sole proprietorships and now we are an LLC with over 20 full and part-time associates, representing multiple companies. SIS/Partner XE has been scalable right along the way. Every time we added a new company or merged in a new agency, it was very easy to just download whatever company we brought on. For example, a couple of years ago we purchased an agency that had EMC and Motorists. We just called up SIS, called up the companies, and ‘boom,’ we had the new book of business downloaded in Partner XE in one day.
Tell me about your decision to upgrade from the old SEMCI Partner to Partner XE.
Very specifically the reason we wanted to trade up was because Partner XE is a web-hosted system. We had a 3-4 year old server that was running low on space. Although we had a tech guy, I was the one who was in charge of the server, the anti-virus software, the malware software, the backup software and all the updates and when there was a problem I was the first one called in.
Now it is no longer my concern. (The switch to the online hosted system) released a huge load off of my mind. Before, our lifeblood was in the server. The only thing our server does now is routes mail and some storage of documents.
Did you look at other agency management systems when upgrading from SEMCI to Partner XE?
No, not in detail. We talked to agencies that had other systems and in talking I couldn’t identify anything that was a significant advantage or feature that I would be willing to pay twice the cost for. I am perfectly happy with the capabilities of Partner. It is a great system for a great value.
What are some of the features that you like best about Partner XE?
Remote access is very nice because I can access from home if I need to. The Outlook Plugin feature has also recently gone to the top of the list. It has made us extremely more efficient in documentation and E&O prevention. I cannot say enough about that feature. The third best thing is probably the direct download of commissions. When download commissions first came along it was like the heavens opened and manna fell out of the sky. It cut our time spent allocating commissions from maybe 40 hours to close to three.
The other thing we like is the ability to easily store documents in digital format and save them right to a file, right to a policy. Ideally we’d like to go paperless one day. Even though we are downloading as much as we can, we still have a lot of paper. But again, that is another reason we like Partner XE, it has the ability to allow us to get as paperless as we want.
If you had to list the top things you like about SIS/Partner XE what would they be?
Often, when it comes to insurance people say it is price first and then service. That’s not how we look at SIS. We value the price of the product but that isn’t the main concern. It’s the features such as the remote capability, the Outlook Plugin and the direct bill commissions downloads that make it so invaluable to us at our agency. The second thing would be the service for the product that is out there. If you have a great product with horrible backup service it doesn’t do anyone any good. At SIS they are very responsive and timely with any questions and if there is a problem, they fix it.
Can you tell me more about what SIS is like to work with?
Right from the very beginning, even when they were a new company and their system wasn’t that sophisticated, they were very hands on – very responsive, always willing to go the extra mile and do whatever it took to get problems resolved. As their system grew and they got more sophisticated, they developed a customer service staff, which has been wonderful.
A couple of years ago, SIS had an issue with connectivity and I somewhat jokingly sent an email to (someone in the service department) telling her that they were starting to chase me around the office with lighted torches and pitchforks. We needed to know what was going on – and soon. Although it was just really intended for her, she sent that email all the way up to the top and I got a phone call from someone in upper management almost immediately. He said, “You are absolutely right, we dropped the ball.” Starting then and going forward they have always been very forthcoming in communicating that, “If we have a problem, we own it, this is where we are, this is how we are going to resolve it and this is our time frame to resolve it.”