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Keeping Insurance Client E-Signatures Secure

E-Signatures

Upholding client privacy and security has always been important for independent insurance agencies, and recent security breaches in other sectors have brought these issues to the forefront. This is especially true with e-signatures. Although e-signing provides great benefits to both client and agency, it is important to know and comply with the rules and regulations guarding this practice.

Currently, the legislation guarding e-signature security include:

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
  • ESIGN (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act)
  • UETA (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act)

Although many states have adopted the above legislation, each varies. Some states may not have enacted all the above, and others may have additional legislation. It’s important to check out your individual state(s)’ legislation regarding electronic transactions.

Check Your Compliance

With numerous items of legislation covering e-signature security, it may seem daunting to cover everything. However, the Electronic Signature and Records Association outlines some of the important areas to cover to protect your agency and your clients.

1. User Authentication

Make sure client identity is verified through a pre-created username and password, each with complex multi-character alphanumeric codes. You may choose to ask for other verification information such as date of birth or social security number prior to signing.

2. Document Validity

It is important to ensure documents do not change after signing. This protects both your agency and your clients. Ensure all signed documents are locked and include timestamps that verify signature date and time.

3. Evidence of Process

There have been cases in which contracts were deemed invalid due to a lack of user authentication and document validity proof. To prevent against this, it is helpful to use a system that captures each step of the e-sign process. This includes items such as send date/time, page views, and timestamp of signature. This high level of detail will ensure your contacts hold up in court.

4. Proof of Compliance

Compliance items are outlined in the above legislation, and generally apply to alerting the client of terms and conditions such as:

  • Right to sign paper copies
  • Notice of hardware/software requirements for e-signatures
  • Agreement to e-sign

In order to stay fully compliant, the client’s signature must be present on the same page listing the terms and conditions of e-signing, and both should be connected to the signed document. Keeping the terms and conditions, the document, and the client’s signature all in one place means easier verification of compliance and validity for your agency, your client and any third-part reviewers.

5. Transmission Security

As the document moves back and forth, it is important to maintain security. The best form of security is your agency management system due to its password protection and data-encrypted security. However, documents in transit may be on your mobile device or laptop for a short time, so it is best to create an encrypted folder or hard drive to store documents in the meantime. CNET keeps a current list of encryption software (complete with user ratings) that will allow you to create an encrypted folder or hard drive for temporary storage.

The best way to stay in compliance with e-signature standards and maintain high security is to choose an outside provider to focus on this important area of your independent insurance agency’s business. We at SIS. Also, as you strive for security, be careful of overkill. Some agencies make the mistake of adding in so many complex security barriers that potential clients may be turned away.

At SIS, we take security very seriously. We partner with RPost for e-signatures because it’s simple, secure, and effective, just like our Partner XE agency management system. Partner XE blends security with usability so you can feel confident and streamline your workflow at the same time. To find out more about Partner XE’s security and usability features, contact us at 800.747.9273 or [email protected].

Strategic Insurance Software Announces Partnership with Risk Management Technologies

Strategic Insurance Software (SIS) and Risk Management Technologies (RMT)  today announced a partnership for the benefit of SIS Partner XE agencies. This partnership will allow agencies using Partner XE to create interactive, web-based insurance proposals and coverage review checklists via RMT Insight at a significantly reduced price.

Michael Doran, President of SIS, states, “Providing our agencies with the right tools and technologies is critical to our mission.  With RMT Insight added to the capabilities Partner XE provides, it allows agencies to differentiate themselves in the market and sell more business. Their unique proposal engine paired with their ability to ensure that agencies are tracking all potential coverage options is unique in the market and will be a benefit to our agencies.”

Starting in August 2014, this partnership will go into effect for all customers of SIS. RMT Insight will offer specialized implementation leveraging the Partner XE customer data.

Daniel Luketic, President of Risk Management Technologies, added “This is an exciting development for RMT Insight. SIS values their clients and has a strong agency management system. They are the type of organization we want to work with, and we believe our technology can augment Partner XE very well and help their agencies in market.”

About RMT Insight

Headquartered in Boardman, Ohio, RMT Insight is a product of Risk Management Technologies LLC. RMT Insight was created by agents, for agents. Our mission is to help agencies grow sales and avoid errors and omissions issues by making easy-to-use web-based applications for agents and agencies.

RMT Insight allows agencies to quickly produce detailed, customized coverage proposals that outshine the competition. RMT Insight also allows agencies to create more touch points with current clients by automating coverage reviews aimed at rounding out accounts and capturing critical documentation of coverage rejection. Qualifying agencies can even receive up to a 5% discount on Utica National Insurance Group E&O premiums. Even small agencies could save hundreds of dollars immediately, mid-size and large agencies could save thousands.

Following Up On Your Insurance Leads

Insurance LeadsFrom our last posts, you know how to gain leads and how to grow leads, but it’s all for naught if you don’t follow up. This is the missing link between bringing in potential clients and fostering a relationship. As with lead nurturing, lead follow-up can be a delicate dance between staying on the potential client’s radar and respecting their space. With this simple acronym, you should be able to F.I.N.D, and convert, new leads.

Focusing on the best

This means zeroing in on the most qualified leads. It’s important to follow up with every lead you gain, but you don’t want to expend energy on a contact that is leading nowhere. To find out if a lead has the potential to become a client, first find out if the person you’re talking to is the decision maker. If not, try to get in contact with this person. You can also gain information by asking what prompted the lead to contact you. There is a difference in potential between “I just moved and must get new insurance,” and “I’m just browsing around.”

Immediate follow-up

There are compelling studies that show following up within 5 minutes can make a lead 20 times more likely to convert in to a client. Once a request form is submitted, reply immediately. This not only gets the potential client connected to you, but also puts you in contact with them at the height of their need. It may benefit you to have an “off-hours” person following up on leads that come in after business hours. This extra touch can really make your insurance agency stand out.

Nurturing the relationship

As mentioned in our post on lead nurturing, it is important to build a relationship with this potential client. Find out everything you can about them by tracking all your conversations and taking good notes. It’s important to find out when is the best time to contact each lead, so you will be sure to be in conversation with them and respect their space

Dilligent follow-up

Perseverance is often the key to success. You should follow up a minimum of 7 times before “giving up”. If you still do not hear from a lead, it is best to shelf the lead for a month or so, and then get in contact again. By not giving up, you show your prospective clients that each individual is important to your agency and that you’re willing to go the extra mile.

As you track your follow up, be sure you are logging your activities within you agency management system. You can make things easier with a system that already has key integration capabilities like synching with Outlook and mobile access. Partner XE includes such capabilities, as well as real time connection to carrier sites to help answer prospect questions. To find out more about how Partner XE can help you track, convert and retain leads, contact us today at [email protected].

 

Nurturing Insurance Agency Leads: Moving from Prospect to Client

Nurturing LeadsFinding qualified leads takes time. Once you get them, you don’t want to lose them – you want to convert them to clients.  The biggest mistake you can make is to push too hard.  The second biggest mistake is giving up too quickly.  Pushing too hard can push away a great lead. And giving up… well, you know the consequences of that. The key is to practice lead nurturing, a processes in which you build a relationship, and keep your agency visible so when your prospects decide they are ready to make a move, yours is the first agency they will consider.

Successful lead nurturing comes through building trust with a prospect, and knowing when to give some space. It’s a delicate balance between staying in contact, and not pushing so hard as to lose the lead. As you practice lead nurturing, keep in mind that 80% of leads are never followed up on. This means you are likely the only insurance agency pursuing each lead, increasing your chances for success.

1. Build a Relationship

Know that it takes time to gain the trust and confidence needed for an individual to choose your agency. Prospects will commit when they’re ready, and your job is to stay on their mind, in a positive light, until they’re ready. This can be done in a number of ways, but the point is to move at their speed, contacting prospects just often enough to stay in mind but not too often that they feel berated.

2. Provide Free Resources

If your prospects feel like they’re getting something for nothing, they’ll begin to see you as an agency that cares more about clients than profits. These giveaways can be pamphlets, workshops, whitepapers or other materials covering topics of interest, like how to understand coverage and PIP.  Be sure to follow up after, asking what they thought and what other resources they’d like to see.

3. Show Your Expertise

This goes along with giving away free resources – the resources you provide not only show your commitment to clients, but also your knowledge and expertise in the insurance field. Ask prospects what they’re confused or concerned about, and follow up with information addressing these concerns. This can come in the form of blog posts, articles, whitepapers, or presentations from your agency showing you have the know-how they need.

4. Stay in Touch

As mentioned, it’s important to stay on your prospect’s mind. Depending on the prospect, you may want to give them your direct line or email, invite them to follow you on social media, and/or add them to your mailing list. Any way you can remind them about your agency is great, as long as they have given their consent to be contacted in such ways.

5. Respect Their Wishes

It can’t be stressed enough that the key to nurturing a prospect is to go at their pace. Don’t move to “sales” mode until they have indicated they’re ready. Acting this way shows you value your clients, which is something they’ll pass on to new prospective leads. When in doubt, err on the side of “slow” – as long as you stay on the prospect’s radar you’re moving in the right direction.

Throughout the lead nurturing process, you’ll want to track each lead and your agency’s interaction with them. Keeping these records helped you know what works, and gives great detail on that prospect that you may need in the future.

The best way to track prospects is through your agency management system. Partner XE makes it easy to prospect track with Outlook integration that automatically syncs all email communication and mobile access so you can add in notes anywhere, anytime. To find out more about Partner XE’s great prospect tracking capabilities, contact us today at 800-747-9273 or email [email protected].

eGuide: How to Make Your Independent Agency Website A Great Sales and Service Resource

Sales & Service Resource eGuideYour independent insurance agency’s website is your storefront to online insurance shoppers. If your “storefront” looks stale and dreary, you won’t have any customers. But, if you use your website right, it can be an excellent sales and service resources for you and your clients.

In our latest eGuide, A Great Sales and Service Resource: Your Independent Insurance Agency Website, we share some great tips on how to make your website attractive to current and potential clients. We cover how to make your website attractive, findable, actionable and educational as well knowing how your website is performing. These tips will help you:

  • Gain future clients
  • Boost your business
  • Bolster your client reputation, and
  • Become a leader in your field

This is only one of our many useful eGuides. Check out our others, which focus on topics like Effective Marketing on a Limited Budget and Improving Agency Communication with Cloud Apps. If there’s a topic you’d like us to cover, contact us today!