Only one day left until Real Time Day 2013! Don’t miss out on the many events and activities put together to help independent agents increase productivity through the use of Real Time tools. For more information read the the following release put out by RealTime.org:
Real Time Day 2013 Packed with Content For More-Efficient Workflows
April 9 Event Gives Carriers, Agents, Vendors Chance to ‘Spring Forward’
PEARL RIVER, N.Y. (April 4, 2013)—More than 20 webinars, panel discussions, and video interviews featuring independent agents, carriers, vendors and technology user groups are scheduled for the second Real Time Day on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. All the sessions explore opportunities for faster and more profitable agent-carrier connectivity using Real Time tools.
Developed by the Real Time/Download Campaign, the Real Time Day event showcases ways for independent agents, general agents, property/casualty insurance carriers, and service providers to work together more effectively to save time and be more efficient with insurance workflows.
Real Time Day is a virtual event supported by social networking using the hashtag #RTEddie.
Each session will be delivered either via 1) a webinar (hosted by an insurance carrier, vendor, or user group) or 2) web broadcast originating from the video studio of ACORD in Pearl River, N.Y.
2012 Conference Recap
Alex Deak | President + CEO
The National Association of SIS Partner Agents (NASPA) Partner XE Today and Tomorrow conference held earlier this month was a great success. Many thanks to the NASPA board for helping to plan and organize this important event and to all those who made the trip to Columbus to join us.
The conference provided a wonderful opportunity to interact personally with NASPA members and share information about Partner XE and SIS. Attendees were treated to informative sessions from various members of the SIS Product Development and Client Support Team, industry experts, and fellow NASPA members.
All of the presentations given over the course of the two days can be accessed on PartnerNet.
The best part was the opportunity to meet and talk with Partner XE users. The input and feedback we received was tremendous and is extremely important to our planning. It’s clear from our discussions that NASPA members want more of these types of interactions and SIS supports that wholeheartedly! We are making plans for the next national conference in 2014 and in the meantime working with NASPA to organize regional user group meetings. If you have interest in helping to coordinate a meeting in your area, let your NASPA board know.
SIS is pleased and proud to be your partner in success. We look forward to continuing our long term relationship with you and delivering information systems and services to help you grow & manage your business. SIS is focused on serving the independent insurance agency and investing in people, relationships, and technology to continually improve the value we bring to our partnership. Look for the latest releases of Partner XE, our industry leading Outlook Plug-in and the introduction of Partner XE Mobile over the coming months.
I look forward to seeing you at the next NASPA user conference.
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.
- 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.
Partner XE User Group to Host Conference
October 4-5, 2012, Embassy Suites, Columbus Ohio
Partner XE agencies are invited to join the NASPA board and SIS team October 4-5, 2012 at the Embassy Suites in Columbus for a day and a half of networking, educational sessions and small group training sessions with SIS and NASPA members. Sessions have been designed to benefit the actual users of the system, as well as the Agency principals.
Conference highlights include guest speakers, Cal Durland, Director of Member Relations, ACORD, Bill Tedrick, CEO, NxTech, Nathaniel Seevers, Social Media Expert, Paul Fuller, EVP – Product Management, SIS and Alex Deak, CEO, SIS. A packed agenda also includes multiple sessions on NASPA approved best practices for your agency using Partner XE and roundtable discussions that will help shape the future of your Partner XE agency management system.
Here’s a sampling of what you can expect:
- Best Practices Workflows in Partner XE – Setting your Agency up for Success!
- Real Time, Transformation Station, & Weblink – Maximizing the Time you Have Through Real Time!
- Agency Accounting Principles and Practice using Partner XE
- Social Media Marketing for the Independent Insurance Agent
- Making your Producers More Productive – Leveraging Partner XE with Some Great Sales Best Practices
The following article was published by Jeff Yates, Executive Director of ACT.
It is reprinted here with his permission.
Independent Agencies Prefer Real Time Over Carrier Portals
Recent Survey of Over 3,100 Independent Agents Confirms a Strategic Vision
Download a .pdf of this article
The Real Time/Download Campaign was founded to champion the adoption of Real Time and Download for independent insurance agencies and companies. Real Time provides agencies with a consistent workflow through agency management systems or comparative raters when doing business with multiple carriers, rather than having to learn the workflow of each carrier portal and enter data multiple times into these portals.
Some 7,500 independent agents answered a survey on carrier communications in 2006, leading to the campaign’s launch that fall. They said their primary challenge was dealing with “different proprietary company interfaces.” That challenge was followed closely by “duplicate entry,” “multiple IDs and passwords,” and “training agency staff” on different carrier workflows.
Real Time workflows were designed to ameliorate the challenges created by carrier portals. Today, carrier portals continue to play a role in enhancing some Real Time transactions and in providing additional information to agencies that is not otherwise available. But portals should not be seen by carriers as a substitute for implementing Real Time transactions for the many agencies which prefer to work through their agency management systems and comparative raters.
Over the past five years, the adoption of Real Time has continued to expand and deliver outstanding benefits to agencies. This confirms our vision that Real Time offers these firms a more efficient and responsive workflow than navigating through various carrier portals. Consider what 3,110 agencies and brokerages told us in the campaign’s latest agency survey, conducted a couple of months ago:
- Fully 63 percent of agency management system users employ real-time rating on comparative raters and management systems to access multiple carriers at once. This represents an increase of six percentage points over a similar 2010 survey.
- The use of real-time rating tools for personal lines saves agencies an estimated 68 minutes per employee per day.
- About three fifths (62 percent) of those using real-time rating also use real-time inquiry and service transactions through management systems, most often for billing, policy and claims inquiries, but also for endorsement processing (55 percent for personal lines, 29 percent for commercial).
- Real-time inquiry and servicing are saving 50 minutes daily for those employees using the functionality, because the real-time tool can enter IDs and passwords automatically. And it can either return the information directly to the management system or navigate precisely to the information on the carrier website.
Our industry has an excellent opportunity in 2012 to increase implementation and enhance the benefits being delivered by Real Time to our distribution channel. To encourage more agencies to implement Real Time, the campaign is planning a National Real Time Day on Feb. 29, 2012, during which the campaign, individual vendors, user groups and carriers will hold events to help agency owners and employees fully understand what real-time functionality can do for them. Details for the day will be announced soon.
Independent agency owners are busy people, to be sure. But as we enter a new year, the campaign calls on even more agency leaders to take a step back and examine—desktop to desktop—how employees write and service business. Real Time provides strategic benefits that enhance agency productivity. But there’s more: If principals insist on Real Time as the required workflow for all employees, it promotes consistent workflows across the firm, which simplifies staff training, allows managers to monitor employees’ performance more effectively, increases the security of processing, and creates better transaction records for E&O protection.
Carrier & Vendor Role
More carriers need to offer Real Time and carriers and vendors should continue to enhance the functionality they provide. Agents clearly told us in our latest survey what further improvements in Real Time they want to see:
- Have additional carriers introduce Real Time.
- Have those carriers offering Real Time provide the full array of real-time functions across the major lines of business, so that agency employees can count on Real Time as a consistent workflow across carriers.
- See vendors and carriers continue to improve the real-time functions they do provide so that the response times are faster.
To give carriers and vendors a road map for implementing “best practice” real-time workflows—whether they are just starting to build out the functionality or seeking to improve and expand the transactions being provided— the campaign has just completed Agency Real-Time “Best Practice” Workflows & Implementation Strategies.
In addition, in 2012 ACORD will be developing specifications and implementation guidance to assist the industry in implementing ACORD standards and forms. The campaign also will encourage greater use of real-time transactions and download within the E&S market and for mid-commercial submissions.
About the Campaign
Launched in 2007, the Real Time/Download Campaign (www.getrealtime.org) is dedicated to improving the competitiveness of the independent agency distribution channel. The campaign isn’t advocating a specific technology, but a workflow approach that frees up more time for agencies to sell, process and service business. Most agents can leverage tools already contained in their agency management systems or comparative raters.
Campaign participants include agents, brokers, carriers, technology providers, user groups, and agent and industry associations. The campaign is led by industry groups and sponsored financially by ACORD and the ACORD-User Groups Information Exchange (AUGIE); Allied Insurance; Applied Systems; Applied Systems Client Network (ASCnet); Artizan Internet Services; CNA; EMC Insurance Companies; Erie Insurance; Grange Insurance; Harleysville; The Hartford; Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) and its Agents Council for Technology (ACT); IVANS; Liberty Mutual Agency Corporation; MetLife Auto & Home; Network of Vertafore Users (NetVU); PIA of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut & New Hampshire; Progressive; Travelers Insurance; Vertafore; and Westfield Insurance.
Thanks for a Terrific Year!
A letter from Alex Deak | President + CEO
Greetings from SIS,
On behalf of the entire SIS team, I would like to take a moment to thank you for helping us make this past year one of tremendous innovation and progress.
2011 saw a 50% increase in the number of individuals using Partner XE. While this is undeniably good for our business, it is also good for yours. These increasing numbers make continuing product investment possible and collectively strengthen the voice of the National Association of SIS Partner Agents (NASPA).
So much has happened over the course of the last year, that I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve done and where we are going. Here are some of the highlights from 2011:
Ongoing Product Development:
2011 saw two different version releases of Partner XE as well as the release of a new and improved Outlook Plug-in. These releases combined to provide you with:
- Enhanced marketing campaign functions,
- New searches and reports,
- Enhanced certificates workflow,
- The ability to open documents with a Windows default viewer,
- Improved ACORD 125 forms printing,
- New accounting reports,
- Improved server communication, overall performance and response time
- And much more.
New streamlined features in the Outlook Plug-in include the ability to sync recurring appointments, add an entire email folder to Partner XE at one time and tag emails with a category.
Increased Service Staff:
In keeping with our commitment to providing excellent customer service, we have increased our service staff by 50% over the last six months. We’ve also added experienced developers to accelerate the pace of product enhancements and adjustments. With these additions, we now have the operational scalability we need to best serve our customers now and well into the future.
A New Online Resource:
In addition to increased service personnel, we’ve also created PartnerNet , a centralized online support website intended to reduce the volume of service requests and allow our service staff to delve deeper into product and workflow issues as needed.
Increased Capacity & Security:
Not only have we improved our product and added staff, we’ve also upgraded and migrated to the latest Cloud technology for increased system performance and capacity and added a redundant offsite backup to insure that your data is safely stored in multiple geographic locations.
What you have in SIS today is a growing organization focused on continuous improvement. We are committed to making Partner XE and our service delivery the premier solution in the industry for our customers.
Having invested in technology, people, and process to scale, we are now well positioned to do that and are looking forward to more improvements and an even broader customer base in 2012. We’re working with NASPA to form workgroups defining priorities and deliverables, because the old adage is true:
Together Everyone Achieves More.