Applied's Epic vs AMS360

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Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby wyoagent » Fri Dec 05, 2008 7:29 am

I know epic has only been available for about a month, but has anyone had any experience with it? I am interested in feedback on AMS 360 as well. We have multiple locations in multiple states with a centralized accounting system. We need a very good functional system.
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby jpmorgan5150 » Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:58 am

We just moved to Nexsure - they are very good, web based and can easily integrate multi locations for accounting.

They also offer client web access - their system takes a while to get used to, but is very slick and offers features that I've didn't see anywhere else when looking.
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby jimmyr1978 » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:04 pm

Some Applied folks gave us a 2-hour EPIC demo last week. It's been "launched," but won't be fully functional for about 6 months as they work out bugs. All I can say is...WOW! We're a regional agency, with a couple dozen offices/business groups, and we're excited to upgrade from Applied's TAM product to EPIC. We're already planning a late '09, early '10 move to the new system.

One of the best features on Epic is the "opportunity cost" metrics that are easily generated. It measures how much time is spent, by employee, on any specific account. Say you have a little BOP that brings in $500 revenue, but you're spending $1,000 in payroll on it. It makes it easy to decide to set that account on auto-renew or market it to a company that has a service center. Our agency isn't set up to effectively handle little BOP's, and we're excited to implement this tool to clean up unprofitable business.

In addition, EVID's and COI's, which can take days for some of our clients that require hundreds or more certs/evid's, can be done in about 15 minutes. A few of the brokers here believe this will, over time, enable us to reduce staff (through attrition, not layoffs), as CSRs are trained on the system.

We're probably at least 2 years away from seeing the full benefits of EPIC, but everyone is excited for the switch.
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby ckelsoe » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:09 pm

One of the best features on Epic is the "opportunity cost" metrics that are easily generated. It measures how much time is spent, by employee, on any specific account. Say you have a little BOP that brings in $500 revenue, but you're spending $1,000 in payroll on it. It makes it easy to decide to set that account on auto-renew or market it to a company that has a service center. Our agency isn't set up to effectively handle little BOP's, and we're excited to implement this tool to clean up unprofitable business.


That is an awesome feature. I have seen agencies so focused on the bottom line commission check that they lose sight that a particular customer cost more than the commission on the policies due to high service and sales requirements. Unprofitable business can quickly kill an agency.
Charles R Kelsoe
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby Rus » Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:42 am

Great that agents are seeing both vendors make investments in new technologies. 360 version 3 is on the way out and sounds like it has new cool features as well, simplifying commercial lines processing.

Rusty from Docstar
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby mica.cooper » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:57 am

Hmm,

From a technology standpoint, I see Epic as a step back into the past. Both AMS and Nexsure have the latest version of product in a web environment. Epic seems to be an installed software with all of the issues and problems we have become accustomed to with installed software for the past 20 years. I would have thought that something named Epic would be something pointed to the future. Who wants to install and maintain patches??? I could be wrong but it does not look like online software and the demo shows something being installed.

Anybody else know?

Did they actually write new a new system or did they just put a pretty wrapper on the same old stuff?
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby mica.cooper » Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:35 am

I received this in my inbox but the person would not post directly:

I didn't want to post pubically as I work for Applied and didn't want to taint peoples opinion, but I assure you this is 100% new without one line of code coming from TAM or Vision. It runs in a rich client enviroment either thick or thin and places less files on a workstation than the cookies needed to run a browser. 360 does require files to be loaded on a laptop. The agency doesn't have to maintian updates, Epic automatically updates when needed.
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby jimmyr1978 » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:58 pm

Epic is nothing like TAM (which I'm not a big fan of), so I wouldn't call it a step back at all. It's completely web-based...so you can access anywhere w/out having to go through that stupid desktop login program (Citrix?), which is sloooooooooow.

I like working from home when I can, but TAM's current platform makes it very cumbersome. Working on Epic will be like working from a web-browser.
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby dddugdale » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:34 pm

Our agency (6 users) has been on AMS360 for about 2 years. I'm not at all impressed with it because of the slowness. We have fast machines, a full T-1 and the lag time between screens is enough to make my CSRs just pull their hair out. In all fairness, I haven't seen TAM or any other system in the last several years, as we were on AFW Online before 360, and AMS 360 is better than it used to be, but our productivity is still far below what it used to be...
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby chickenman » Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:53 am

Not to stray from original thread, but has anyone used or demonstrated Hawksoft? Any feedback is appreciated.
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby JSigler » Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:46 pm

In the past I've used both and trained both TAM and AMS (multiple products) and am currently in an office of 22 AMS360 users.

I am unsure how you can accurately and effectively compare a new management product that remains in somewhat of a beta functionality to a product that has been on the market for 4 years or more. While "features" may well seem comparable until you dive into the ultimate functionality the comparable features are only introspective. Comparing Epic to AMS360 would be similar to comparing a Honda CRV to a Ford Escape. The two are vehicles designed for the same business use but each unit has been researched, developed, tested and released to perform totally differently. Epic has the allure of the "new product" status that compares "new functionality" to "developed functionality" -- we are not comparing apples to apples. We are comparing a un-known to a know. The two vehicles like the two products are not marketed as identical duplications of each other. Their fits are different, their options are different and each require their own training. Training is key for either of the management systems, preparation is also a large consideration. Effectiveness, efficiency and results will be as good as that backbone of the business plan that you implement. I am unsure how you can make a business plan on a product that isn't yet "fully functional" In this season of new presents under the tree, new is always nice on the outside looking in. Shiny and clean and gives the illusion of "freedom" new brings wonderful plans and dreams but reality always seems to have a way of showing us that that what we perceive will be the end all be all is just another version or a different pattern to the same end.

TAM, AMS360 and Epic are all developed on a different platform with features that resemble each other but operating and functioning differently behind the scenes. TAM, AMS360 and EPIC will all fit differently for different agencies. Speed in this internet world will always be a love/hate relationship. We all know that the line you purchase isn't always the speed you get because of the vendors and how they are handled behind the scenes. We have three T1's in our agency for voice and data, we move fast with little to no backlog 90% of the time -- we've carefully chosen vendors with a great backbone. The research was time consuming, the reality of switching carriers was a pain in the rear end but it was a necessary evil. Even with all this there are periods of time that the internet is attacked and the best carriers shut down connectivity. Our computers are replaced every 24 months usually 2 to 3 times the minimum specs for the SUM of all the products which we run. Speed or lack there of is not always a reflection of any management system. We are on version 3.0 and with each release the speed and reaction time of the software is raised to a higher level of functionality. Each update raises the agency to a level of productivity and functionality that in retrospective to even a year ago seems like an un-achievable goal. (we are doing two-thirds more with few bodies) If I told my employees that I was going backwards to any version of the product prior I would have a mutiny on my hands. As a good consumer you should always know the products you use but also know what other options are available to you. That is just good business.

Now I want to ask about this "opportunity cost" -- We continually look at accounts to determine the "cost" the account may mean to an agency. I am interested in how any piece of software can determine the true true value or expense that a policy incurs for an agency. Time spent on an account via key strokes, processes or procedures is only a fraction of the snapshot of the account. We have many accounts that on the first blush are not profitable but when you factor in referrals, payroll deduct opportunities the accounts pay for themselves over and over again. Does this matrix functionality impose those incomes generated into your matrix. One other thought, how does this matrix (or does it) also account for training needs.

I believe TAM to be a good product, I believe that EPIC to be developed for future product options different than what Vision gave Applied users. I KNOW AMS to be a product that continues to develop to meet users needs as well as business needs for the insurance industry. It is a ever maturing product with great management behind it that carefully and effectively listens to its users and moves the product forward in a concise business manner that benefits all agencies in an ever-increasing transparent and approachable manner.
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby WashingtonAgent » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:41 pm

I took note of chickenman's post and I must respond regarding Hawksoft.

Our primarily personal lines agency converted from AMS to Hawksoft approximately 6 years ago, and I couldn't be more pleased! It is a robust, highly intuitive program that allows us to spend time with our clients evaluating their protection needs rather than on tedious processing.

Training is one of the largest costs of most agency management systems. We recently hired a new adminstrative assistant/receptionist with NO insurance industry experience. Within 1/2 day, she was using Hawksoft to produce renewal review letters and lead warming letters. She had mastered the suspense system so that she could monitor cancellations, and she was comfortable adding notes to the client logs as she made "Thank you for your business" nurturing phone calls on renewals! This is no exaggeration....the system is that user-friendly!

Hawksoft's customer service is amazing! Not only do they answer their phones promptly and courteously, but all of their employees are former agents, so they understand our language and focus when we call with a question. Recently, I needed a special report that was not already available within Hawksoft. I called Hawksoft and explained how critical it was for me to extract this information quickly, and offered to pay for custom programming. They not only delivered the report within 48 hours, but instead of charging me, they made the enhanced programming capabilities of that report available to all subscribers!

Our comparative rater is EZ Lynx, and to my knowledge, Hawksoft is the only agency management system that not only exports client information into EZ Lynx with a few quick keystrokes, but also exports prospect information from EZ Lynx into Hawksoft. This has dramatically improved our workflow when quoting new business. We can ask all of the questions we need in EZ Lynx, complete the comparative quotes, and then bridge/export the prospect information into Hawksoft without dual entry so that we can spend our time following up and closing sales, rather than re-keying data.

If you haven't yet seen Hawksoft, ask for a free demo (http://www.hawksoftinc.com) You will be glad that you did.
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby pita3333 » Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:47 am

In all fairness "Jsiegler" should disclose her position as regards AMS. If I recall correctly she is a very active member of the AMS User Group and past (if not current) member of the Research and Development Committee for them.

I do not disagree with anything in her post at all, just know that some on here will take her to task for that. Her position gives her some unique insights into the good and bad of systems. I know that in some of her posts on the user group side and having heard her speak at regional/national events that she is as much a critic of AMS products as she is a supporter. Both support and criticism are good, especially from an informed users position.

Non-subjective comparison of any automation product is damn near impossible! We each have different expectations/needs/desires from a system and we each have unique circumstances that influence decisions (price, resourses available etc).
Michael Trouillon
Greater LA
Agency Operations Manager

Industry since 82

Past: Compliance Mgr master pol pgm, Ops Mgr niche agency, Marketing Mgr, Account Mgr
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby Rus » Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:57 am

Just remember that the only 'perfect' software is that which is not in general release yet.
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Re: Applied's Epic vs AMS360

Postby jpmorgan5150 » Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:45 pm

I would encourage everyone to step away from the AMS vs. Applied line of thought.

As I mentioned, we moved to Nexsure. It integrates with EZLynx and from a technology standpoint is one of the few systems you access completely through a web browser.

Contacs sync with Outlook, Clients can login and see what you want them to, you can easily create multipolicy account summaries. Not the crappy kind that are 300 pages long (here's looking at you AMS 360), but a relevant summary that isn't full of BS.

Nexsure is also pretty cheap when compared to those two. The best thing, though, is the coordination between lines of business and the ACORD applications. Nexsure nailed this - you track everything by line of business, not policy. Our reports are better than they ever could have been with our prior system, because we can pull how much earthquake, crime or any other line we want right out of the system in a report.
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