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Be Diligent with Data Entry

Using automation technology to enhance your business

Best Practice #4 – Be Diligent with Data Entry


If you, or any of your coworkers, got hit by a bus tomorrow could business continue on without a hitch? If you use your agency management system correctly, are diligent with data entry and adopt established file naming conventions and procedures across the agency (refer to best practice #3) there is no reason why not.

That leads us to Best Practice #4 in our agency management system best practice series:

Be diligent with Data Entry. Train producers and CSRs to log all necessary information into your agency management system so that anyone who gets a call from a client can log in and have all the information they need at their fingertips.

agency management system best practices - document everything

  • Log ALL conversations and voice mail messages into your system.  (In Partner XE you would do this in the “Notes” section so that it will be permanent record and cannot be deleted.)
  • Utilize the “To-Do Lists” function available within your agency management system to track and record agency workflows and make sure they are consistent across the agency.
  • Log ALL reminders into the system.  If you need to call a client back with some requested info, don’t leave it on a sticky note taped to your monitor, or in a notebook kept on your desk. Put the reminder into the system.  That way if you are out sick  (or walk in front of a wayward bus) the message will get through to whomever is covering for you while you are gone. Once the task is completed, be sure that gets recorded in the system as well.
  • Add ALL client related emails to the agency management system and attach them at the appropriate level of the client folder. Emails from prospects, clients, adjusters, certificate holders, underwriters, etc… should all be stored as permanent records.

If all of these things are done without fail, any user should be able to go into any client folder and know exactly what has happened at any given time and what the next step should be.

Not only will this help with workflow and consistency, it is also important for E&O protection since these records are permanent and cannot be modified or deleted then they will hold up in court.

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For over a decade SIS has provided independent insurance agents with feature rich, affordable, easy to use, scalable insurance software that streamlines workflow and increases productivity. Find out if our Partner XE agency management system is the right solution for your agency. Give us a call at 800-747-9273, ext. 1 today.

 

Time Management

Why independent insurance agents need to “eat the frog”

and other self-management tips


As an independent insurance agent, do you ever feel like you’re on the hamster wheel?  Do distracting email pop up messages, buzzing cell phones, random texts,tightly scheduled appointments and an overloaded inbox keep you from knocking things off your to-do list until well after normal business hours?  If so, Christin Myers, Beyond Insurance blog post, Manage Yourself. Not your Time is a must read.

Nothing she says is earth shattering, but once in awhile it’s good to see common sense put down in black and white.

Her tips?

  • Keep a next actions list
  • Know how long tasks take
  • Set a date
  • Focus
  • Eat the Frog ( Huh?? – we’d explain it here, but really, it’s better if you just read her full post.)

The good news for independent insurance agents using SIS’ Partner XE agency management system is that they have the tools at hand already to start implementing a lot of Myers’ tips.  Notes, To-Do Lists and Messages are an excellent tool to help prioritize activities across the agency. As for the frog? You’ll have to handle him on your own.

About SIS: SIS is the company behind Partner XE, an innovative, scalable and easy-to-use web based agency management system designed for one simple reason—to help independent agents grow their business. Want to learn more?

 

Real Time Case Study

More and more independent insurance agents are realizing the benefits of Real Time connections with carriers through their agency management systems. For one reason or another, however, others hesitate. Truth is, as long as your agency management system offers the functionality, there is no real reason to hold back. There are many resources available to help get you up and running and the benefits in terms of increased efficiency will be well worth it.Real Time Logo

Key takeaways:

  • Before implementation – Check with your agency management system vendor to verify specific Real Time functions that are available for each company for both personal and commercial lines.
  • Ongoing – Adopt every Real Time functionality offered by your agency management system vendor.
  • Ongoing – Make Real Time a habit for everyone in your agency.
  • Ongoing – Get management involved from the outset. “Immediate management intervention to resolve apparent problems establishes early confidence by the staff that Real Time is a real benefit to them that WORKS”
  • Ongoing – Make sure to thank the Carriers that are utilizing Real Time technology.  “Hearing from the agents is the best way to assure continued investments by the carriers in Real Time and other improved agent-carrier connectivity.

At SIS, our implementation team is ready, willing and able to help Partner XE users get set up with Real Time. We’ll set you up with Transformation Station and have direct connections to select carriers to make the process easy. We’ll walk you through the nuances of working with the different carriers. We also support download of over 600 carrier and line of business combinations and are adding more all the time. Bottom line? We know how much time you can save with Real Time and we’ll do everything we can to help you do so.

About SIS: SIS is the team behind Partner XE insurance software – an innovative online-hosted insurance agency management system that helps independent agencies streamline workflow and grow their business. Built on a foundation of strong technology and exceptional service, we’re moving forward with a constant eye on innovation that will make independent agents’ lives easier. We’re out to take the industry – and your agency – to a new level.

 

 

Best Practices: File Naming

Using Automation Technology to its Fullest

Best Practice #3 – Establish Documented Workflow Procedures & File Naming Conventions


If you want to maximize productivity in your independent insurance agency, establishing documented workflows and file naming conventions ( inside and out of your agency management system) is critical. best practices for using agency management system

Ever spent hours looking for something that was filed incorrectly? Or trying to find something a co-worker worked on only to be stumped by his or her unique filing procedures? To say that it is “no fun” would be an understatement – especially when the rest of your work is piling up minute by minute. The time it takes to get organized up front will pay dividends 100 times over in terms of increased productivity.  Make a plan. Stick to the plan. Enforce the plan.

Though important in any work environment, established, documented, enforced workflow procedures and set file naming conventions are critical for independent insurance agencies moving towards a paperless system.

Filing Conventions Within Your Agency Management System

Each agency management system will work slightly differently when it comes to the naming of documents—some making files simpler to retrieve than others. (Partner XE, for example, will allow the user to filter “like” documents to help them get to the one they are looking for quickly.) Regardless of which system you are on, (and even if the filter is available) it makes sense to come up with a consistent naming system and make sure that everyone on the system uses it. In most cases you should be able to add a custom description when saving a file. File names should include:

  • File type
  • Date
  • Client Name
  • Description of Document

Some pointers:

  • Be specific with your descriptions. Avoid generic terms. Remember, over a period of time you may end up having 10 “Applications” for John Doe and you’ll want to be able to determine one from the next just by glancing at the file name.
  • Separate File Name, date, etc. by a hyphen, an underscore or a period. Just make sure whatever you choose up front is what you stick with for the duration.

… And on Your Desktop

Although this post is about using automation technology (a.k.a. your insurance software) to its fullest, consistent file naming conventions should by no means be relegated to files saved in your agency management system. The same logic applies to files saved on your desktop, your office server or in any type of shared file arrangement. Doing things right the first time will save time, headaches and hours of frustration.

 

Best Practices: Go Paperless

Using Automation Technology to its Fullest

Best Practice #2 – Go Paperless


Go Green, improve workflow and empower a virtual workforce with digital document storage solutions tied to web-based insurance software. Follow these best practices for increased productivity, reduced overhead and improved customer service.agency management system best practices go paperless

Get the right insurance agency management software
  • Implement an agency management system that uses an E&O compliant internal transactional filing system to manage storage and store all system files and activities.
  • Use a web-based agency management system so that files can be accessed while you are on the road or working from a satellite office.
Establish workflow procedures
  • Work with staff to determine the best method to scan and import documents into the system. This may depend on what type of scanning equipment you have in your office (big multiplex scanners vs. individual workstation scanners.) If choice is an option, our suggestion is to go with the latter. Overall, we have found that the workstation scanners tend to be the most effective, primarily because they alleviate bottlenecks at the scanner.
  • Set up a consistent document naming system. This is critical to be able to find files (no matter who created them) where you need them, when you need them – even several years down the road. Example: Emails should be tagged with “EML” and then the description, ACORD forms with “ACORD,” etc.    By doing so, you can easily run a “sort” and group all of your emails / forms, etc. together.
  • Make sure all personnel are properly trained on the new procedures.
Make a plan for the old paper
  • Determine how the office will handle old files. The two main choices here to: a.) Scan all old files into the system, or b.) To pick a starting date and go digital from that point on. It is important to speak with your service staff to collectively determine what makes the most sense for the agency. Making a big decision like this could lead to frustrations if team members aren’t on board and it’s not all planned out ahead of time.

 

Click Here for more best practices to make the most of your agency management system 

About SIS: SIS is the company behind Partner XE, an innovative, scalable and easy-to-use web based agency management system designed for one simple reason—to help independent agents grow their business. Independent insurance agencies of all sizes can benefit from Partner XE insurance software from SIS. Partner XE is an easy to use, web-based agency management system that offers logical workflows, exceptional download and comparative rater integration capabilities and best in the business Outlook integration.
 
Let’s talk about whether our insurance software is the right solution for your independent insurance agency. Give us a call at 800-747-9273 today.