Agency Information

  • Based in Lebanon, TN.
  • Founded in 1999
  • 50% life/health/benefits 35% commercial and 15% personal
  • 20 Employees
Richard Whitener - THW Insurance

Richard Whitener

“Partner XE exceeds any other program out there, delivering ease of use, shorter processes, fewer clicks, and more. SIS goes the extra mile for every customer, even developing forms and workflows specific to an agency’s needs. Consistent support and knowing you’ll get a timely resolution to questions or problems is essential to any application in an agency. With Partner XE and SIS, you’ll get that. We’ve never received better hands-on training or a higher level of customer service.”

Based in Sanford Maine, family-operated Batchelder Bros. Insurance has served clients in the Northeast U.S. for more than 140 years—and counting. They credit their longevity to the consistent, outstanding service and industry-leading home, auto, business, and commercial insurance products offered to customers.

When President Andrew Thayer began his search for an intuitive, reliable agency management system that could also provide a high level of personalized service, colleagues referred him to SIS and Partner XE. Read on to explore more on why this legacy agency selected Partner XE over the competition.

Tell me a little bit about THW Insurance Services—what were your beginnings?

I started our agency in 1999 with two business partners after having been in the industry for about twelve years. Around that time, the President of a large, local bank approached my business partners. He inquired as to whether they would be interested in offering insurance products to the bank’s customers so it could write all lines of insurance. I was brought into the discussions given my expertise in property and casualty insurance.

After about a year of deliberations, we came to a deal with the bank. They don’t own any of us and we don’t own any of their business but they give us referrals and provide us with office space at some locations. We are coming upon our 19th year of doing business and it’s been an excellent relationship.

Since 1999, we have grown from three to 20 employees. Half of our revenue is property/casualty and the other half is life/health/etc. Today, we have agents in six locations, soon to be seven.

What do you believe makes you stand out in your industry?

We are very customer service oriented at THW Insurance. Since so much of our business comes from the bank, we take great care to keep our customers happy.

We are a Christian-based agency and are pretty conservative and as such we have some great people working for us. Everyone here thinks of everyone else in our agency as family. We all help each other and enjoy each other’s company. Working with people that we care about in a supportive environment makes coming to work and serving our customers at a high level easy.

Our team is dedicated to assisting clients in selecting the insurance programs that best suit their unique needs. As an independent agent, we can offer products from several highly rated insurance companies at competitive rates.

What led you to consider making a change? How did you come to consider SIS/Partner XE?

We didn’t think we were getting what we were paying for with our previous provider. We were in an ancient system but paying a lot to use only 10% of the system’s capabilities day-to-day. We didn’t have any help or support and were tired of it.

SIS kept reaching out and as we got more discouraged with our existing system/provider, we finally listened. Nick called again one day and it sounded like SIS and Partner XE could meet all of our needs. The product was well presented and looked incredibly user friendly and intuitive compared to our existing system. It was also Windows based, which we liked.

We evaluated other products and providers but after reviewing all of the data, Partner XE felt better suited to our user group. It allowed us to develop a workflow that was a perfect fit.

We talked to other agencies, which were only complimentary of Partner XE and the SIS team. Michael reached out to share some relevant company stats and Nick’s overall presentation sold us. Jake and Stacy have served us at a high level from day one, answering our questions and guiding us through the transition. We couldn’t be happier.

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

The SIS team faithfully fields every question we have. Really, everything Partner XE does is opposite of our previous system— in a good way.

Partner XE can be set up on any computer— laptops, computers at home, etc.— so we are never limited in serving our customers.

The phone app enables us to access customer information without sitting in front of a computer. Partner XE also introduced us to “RPost,” a registered email program that we were able to integrate with our existing systems. It is significantly easier to attach files from email now than it ever used to be.

Ultimately, with SIS, you get what is promised. So many other sales teams mislead you into believing their systems can do things that it can’t actually do. With SIS, everything they told us the product would do, it has done.

SIS and Partner XE bring an ease of use, shorter processes, and fewer clicks. We can also develop forms and workflows specific to our agency. That was vital for us and SIS went the extra mile to ensure our program came with that.

The hands-on training and consistent customer service with SIS is unlike anything else out there.

How was the transition over to SIS/Partner XE? Did it go smoothly or were there bumps in the road? How did you feel any challenges were handled/addressed?

The transition wasn’t nearly as bad as we were expecting it to be. It is normal to be nervous when the combining of files takes place but with Partner XE it went incredibly seamlessly. The SIS team was quick to clean anything up that got missed.

The implementation team ensured we were making the necessary progress with training videos and stayed in touch to keep everyone on our team up to date and where they needed to be.

What in particular about SIS stands out to you and your agency?

The individual customer service is outstanding. When we have a problem and we send an email, we get an answer within the hour.

Support is key to any application in an agency. Knowing you’ll get a resolution in a timely manner is essential. We know we will always get a quick response with SIS. We never got that from our previous provider. When we needed anything, that company would find a way to charge us for it. We rarely got responses to our inquiries and if we did we had to pay for help.

Now, we know the people we are talking to. We have relationships with so many of the people at SIS. SIS is customer-service oriented like we are at THW Insurance.

One of the other big things we had to have with a new system was the ability to download Blue Cross/Blue Shield benefits statements. SIS developed a process specific for that. I don’t think any other provider would go to that length to get our business.

Which Partner XE capabilities stand out to you?

We scan and attach forms constantly and it is much easier to do with Partner XE than our previous system. We are able to go more paperless than ever before.

Tracking and reporting functions are crucial to our day-to-day operations, particularly in terms of new business. We are able to easily perform daily downloads now.

We are inputting more information into Partner XE than with our previous system because we can now easily identify clients based on the line of business they have purchased. We can tell commercial clients vs. health lines, etc.

The feature that enables us to automatically add information to a client file based on an email address saves us a lot of time too. The system can automatically import new information to the correct client file based on an email search. That is fantastic for us.

The user-friendliness of Partner XE is a huge selling point.

What advice would you offer to someone weighing SIS and Partner XE against big name providers?

Make sure you set up meetings with each agency to preview how their systems work. Examine whether the systems are truly user friendly. Can other systems provide accessibility via a phone app like Partner XE?

Determine whether you can customize the programs according to your agency’s specific needs. SIS and the Partner XE teams will go out of their way to make sure you have what you need before selling you the product, so pay close attention to what promises will actually be kept.

With Partner XE you will get help and support to make the transition easier. Before and after— for about a month after we transitioned to Partner XE, Staci stayed on site with our team to help. That was awesome.

Don’t be afraid that Partner XE isn’t a nationally branded name. With SIS and Partner XE, it’s a personal relationship. That makes all the difference for businesses like ours. You will never get lost in the crowd with SIS.

If customer service and user-friendliness is paramount to your agency, look into Partner XE. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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