Agency Information

  • Based in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Founded in 1915
  • 45% commercial and 55% personal
  • 7 Employees

Kirk Haldeman

“The one thing I tell everyone is that what I pay for Partner XE in one quarter is what I used to pay on a monthly basis to my old provider— and I’m getting more functionality than I had before. Since switching to Partner XE, our CSRs have been able to handle 50-70% more business than we used to.”

Having served western Pennsylvania for over 100 years, Pinnacle Group is an organization dedicated to its clients. A hands-on personal approach makes this full service, independent insurance agency stand out. With a strong network of carriers and superior insurance products and services, Pinnacle Group offers the best of the best to every client.

When Kirk and his team realized they needed a new system to help them automate more processes, saving time and money, they turned to SIS and Partner XE. Read on to discover why they continue to recommend Partner XE to other agencies.

What led you to consider making a change in management systems?

We were with our previous provider for about 15 years.

Two things motivated our decision to change management systems. The first being that we needed a system that could be easily accessed from outside the office, as we have employees that work from home on occasion. At the time, our agencies were also not all centrally located, so we needed a solution to support our agents wherever their “office” might be.

Secondly, we needed to scale down from an automation standpoint. With our previous provider, we had to have servers, a unique workstation and to sign in a certain way so that our employees could have remote access. If we had to replace a PC, it could take more than a day to integrate email and get a new computer set up in the system. We needed a better, more flexible solution.

What led you to consider SIS and Partner XE?

We researched the Internet to see what systems were out there. We found Partner XE and SIS online and started the conversation with the sales rep to see what different functionalities the system offered.

We narrowed it down to three or four vendors, including Partner XE. One of the things that encouraged us about Partner XE was the fact that even if it couldn’t yet do something we wanted, our suggestions would end up on the agenda to incorporate down the road. The Partner XE team was willing to take our ideas and integrate them. We have seen a lot of our ideas come to fruition.

With our previous provider, we would call and talk to someone maybe once every five years. When you did speak to someone, the answer was always “Oh no, we can’t do that.” Or “We might be able to do that, but you’ll have to pay more.”

SIS is willing to make Partner XE work for your agency.

What have you found SIS to provide that larger providers do not?

One word: Service. No other provider out there can compare with SIS. With SIS, you can develop personal relationships. We have gone to a number of workshops now and have gotten to meet so many people face to face. We know the people at SIS and they know us.

We’ve also noticed that SIS takes our suggestions seriously. With each upgrade to our system, we have seen past recommendations incorporated.

How was the transition over to SIS/Partner XE?

Overall, the download and transition of our data went smoothly.

The biggest challenge we had was the training of our staff and teaching them to do things in a different way.

At first, we kept two workstations up and active with our previous provider, so our CSRs could go back in and check a case if they felt something was missing. After about a month, we realized they didn’t need to go back to the old system, as everything was in the right place.

What have you found SIS and Partner XE are able to provide that larger providers do not?

The biggest shock to me was that when we call in and talk to someone at Partner XE, we talk to the same people. We can get to know them and they understand our problems and can work through any issue. With our previous provider, you would never talk to the same person twice, let alone get your questions answered.

The high level of customer service with SIS and Partner XE has never waned. They keep up with all of our service needs.

We like that Partner XE is set up in an organized fashion that makes sense. It aligns with how we had organized our paper files. When someone has to go look for something in a policy, we know right where to look in Partner XE. All of our filing is electronic now, which is new, but it has worked extremely well for us.

With Partner XE, we found that flexible solution we were looking for, with the right features for our business. If a computer goes down we can get a new desktop fully functional in Partner XE within about half an hour. That’s a big deal to us when it used to take at least a day and cost us extra. As an agency-owner, I never want our team to be unable to service even one customer.

What about Partner XE stands out to you?

The ease of use with Partner XE and that we can scan documents and immediately incorporate them to the right client files stands out. Anything that we print is automatically put into the correct place. If we need to look up an ID card that was sent out, as soon as we hit that print function, it is automatically stored in the correct client’s file. We don’t have to think about it, it just occurs.

That allows myself as a principal to take a look at files and see what is going out to customers. I can see exactly what a problem might be if we have an issue with a certificate, etc. Partner XE helps me protect my business reputation and provide that high level of customer service our clients desire.

What advice would you share with another business owners considering SIS and Partner XE against big name providers?

I’d share the fact that our CSRs are able to handle 50-70% more business than we did prior to switching to Partner XE. While Partner XE isn’t solely responsible for that achievement, it is a significant part.

In addition, I’d share that with Partner XE, agencies can have as few CSRs as possible to handle as much business as possible in an effective way. That can really add to the bottom line.
I’d also point out that not having a system or using an antiquated system adds so much unnecessary work. With Partner XE, you are freeing up more time to really serve your customers and grow business.

What advice would you offer to other agencies considering making a change but still holding back?

The one thing I’d tell everyone is that what I pay for Partner XE in one quarter is what I used to pay on a monthly basis to my old provider—and I’m getting more functionality than I had before.

I’d also say that although there is always a learning curve with a new system, a break-in period in which staff do things slower or won’t know how to do things, that learning curve needs to occur no matter what system you switch to. But once you get through it with Partner XE, you’ll significantly reduce automation costs. Our automation costs are about 60% less than what they were before.

In addition, this business is a business of relationships. Whether relationships are with clients, companies or vendors. I’ve always had a good relationship with the local sales people at Partner XE, as well as with Michael Doran himself.

When we made the decision to sign with Partner XE, Michael talked with me and walked through some of my questions. He continues to be available to me to this day. Anytime I want to pick up the phone and chat with Michael, he answers my call. That means a lot in our industry, to be able to reach out and talk about a problem or anything else with the President of a company.

It’s the same with our trainers over at Partner XE. Candace walked us through accounting. Jake is always there for us too.

Any other final thoughts?

Since my agency has been with the system, I have discussed, talked to, and showed my Partner XE system to around eight different agencies in my area. The vast majority of those have bought the system and I have yet to hear a complaint from any one of them.

To put myself on the line like that, to speak for Partner XE and then get only praise and positive feedback is significant. And I’ll keep doing that, recommending Partner XE, as I know it will leave other agencies as satisfied as it has us.

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