Agency Management System

Your response to industry hot topics.

Moderators: Josh, independent guy

Which System You Like?

NexSure
23
16%
Applied TAM
18
13%
Applied Epic
5
4%
AMS360
4
3%
Ebix
24
17%
Newton
3
2%
EbixASP
1
1%
Hawksoft
16
11%
Nasa Eclipse
1
1%
Other System
45
32%
 
Total votes: 140

freesoul
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Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:57 am

Re: Agency Management System

Post by freesoul »

Greets,

After using AMS Prime on an in-house server for the past 5+ years we are faced with having to replace our server because Dell will no longer offer a support plan. So after getting an initial sticker shock at $7,000+ for a new server I started looking into a "cloud based" option.

AMS wanted almost that much ($6,800) for an upfront cost and almost $500 per month for 3 users. Honestly I felt like I was buying a new car during their sales process (let me check with my manager first on the pricing, etc). For a loyal customer of theirs for the past 5+ years I was a little taken aback by the upfront cost. $4,300 to convert the data from Prime??

So I started looking at other options and found QQ Catalyst first based on a friends recommendation. No upfront cost, $1,500 to convert my data and less than $200 per month. The brief demo I did looks like it will do far more than Prime does now with a better UI and they retain all files up to 10GB. I am also looking at Hawksoft and EZ Lynx.

I have been looking for feedback on these other systems but coming up empty, I know Catalyst is new. One of the downsides I have heard mentioned about cloud based systems is that someone else is holding our data. Well thats pretty much the way it is now with AMS even though we run Prime on our own server- they told me I have to work with sales, have them send out a "tape drive" which I put my files on and send it to them and they "unencrypt" it and send it back. Are we living in the 1990's- tape drive?? Why can't they send me a key that allows me to unencrypt it? I feel like they are holding our data hostage.

Any feedback? Thanks! :)
nexsure
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Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:48 am

Re: Agency Management System

Post by nexsure »

Hello freesoul,

I work for XDimensional Technologies, the makers of Nexsure, and I would be happy to provide you with a cost-effective solution in moving from Prime.

Freel feel to call or email and I will be happy to address all your questions.

Thanks much.

Roger

Roger Banks
VP Sales
208.755.4303
roger@xdti.com
SteveAnderson
Insurance Journal Enthusiast
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 8:51 am

Re: Agency Management System

Post by SteveAnderson »

Hi Freesoul.

Choosing the best agency management system for your organization is a difficult process. At my last count there are 36 different agency management system products available to insurance agents from 24 different vendors. A place for you to start the process of evaluating agency management system options is my free email course “How to Select the Best Agency Management System.” There is no cost or obligation.

The course details the 5 step process I recommend for managing the system selection process. You will receive one email per day over 5 days.

You can sign up here: http://steveanderson.com/choosing-the-b ... nt-system/

You can also go to http://www.AgencyUserReviews.com to search for feedback from other agencies about different products and services. A major category is agency management systems.

Another recommendation I make to agencies to carefully consider IF you should convert data from your old system to the new. I realize it may seem like a daunting task to start over, but you may be better off. The real question is the quality of the data and information within your existing system.

I hope this information helps in your search.
gforaker
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Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:58 am

Re: Agency Management System

Post by gforaker »

I was going to say to myself "Geez, just what we need is to hear from another vendor or consultant." Then I saw who it is from. I don't think there is anyone who knows the topic better than Steve.
epatience
Insurance Journal Fan
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:08 pm

Re: Agency Management System

Post by epatience »

Freesoul....

Marketing guy from QQSolutions here...I'll try real hard to keep the sales rhetoric down!!

"Catalyst is new": New is somewhat subjective, so I would offer the following as a means of defining "new". QQCatalyst was first installed was in September 2012, and as of last count, we have a little over 600 agencies using the product - day in and day out.

"Cloud based systems is that someone else is holding our data." Absolutely true, and that is what you want. Your service fee covers the cost of running backups, provisioning machine upgrades to keep response time fast, installing OS and app updates, etc. Few clients really want their data stored locally, for all the work it creates in keeping backups, maintaining hardware, etc.

Cloud computing has evolved and is no longer "bleeding edge" technology. There is not a credible vendor of any service or product that is not in the cloud or moving there quickly. There are just too many benefits for everyone. Huge cost advantage over previous architectures. Easier maintenance and support. Faster deployment of new sites/users. The list goes on and on.

And a fun fact - one of the largest cloud providers is...wait for it...Amazon. Yep. This online retailer is not just an online retailer, but a giant and technology leader, in cloud solutions.

To the meat of your concern, is whether your data is hostage with a vendor. It will depend upon each vendor of course, but in the case of QQCatalyst, you get a free of charge external backup in a form you can read upon request, once a year.

I hope this helps.
JZanders
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Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Agency Management System

Post by JZanders »

Formers Farmers agent here, told them to pound sand a year ago and am IA now...should have done this years ago..

I pulled the trigger and signed up for the Hawksoft cloud based AMS today.

The upfront is about $1,100 then monthly $260.50 for one user, myself. Each additional user is about $45 more monthly. The way I look at the cost is that it is going to be doing the job of a partial CSR so that's how I justify it.

Since I like to use a Mac this was one of the only choices for me as I run windows using parallels but did not want to get into moving back into a windows environment. That said I know the cloud based system, is using microsoft windows but since it's operating in the cloud I don't have to keep buying upgrades to windows and all their products like office, outlook etc

Trying to stay lean and mean for the first few years managing the agency myself as long as I can and although I have been using FSC rater combined with a spreadhseet to track commissions and a Mac based contact management system, I just feel like taking this on now is a good call. I really like investing in technology rather than hiring staff to run a lean and mean ship. I know I'll need to get a csr at some point probably in the next 3-6 months and having Hawksoft in place and being fully implemented and up n running will allow me to track many more things.

So we'll see....I really liked all the positive reviews I read about the company and support. I know there are lower cost options out there but I did not want to go with one low cost system then have to migrate over to something else in a few years

Seems like Hawksoft is the ideal AMS for me and I don't expect to be a large agency but probably at some point may have a handful of people.,producers and CSR's so it should allow me to stay with them throughout the scaling up processes I foresee.

I never cared for farmers system CMS system when I was a captive so I started using ACT years ago for calendar, email and general contact management, then when I moved to a Mac system 4-5 years ago I discovered Daylite which has been grate but it's not a insurance specific application.

So since I already use Quickbooks for accounting and Hawksoft support this, they also synch with the FSC rater and the online version solves the problem of not wanting to go back to a pC windows platforms soooo we'll see how it goes, this will be my first time using a dedicated AMS ...I'm really hoping it lives up to my expectations.

As the marketplace evolves we agents really have to embrace technology and bring more to the table for our clients or we'll get left behind.

http://www.eTrustedAdvisor.com
:D :D
gforaker
Insurance Journal Addict
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:58 am

Re: Agency Management System

Post by gforaker »

Last time I looked at Hawksoft a few years ago, it seemed to be one of the better choices for a very small agency. It is minimal and not as complete as they like to claim, but still OK as a starter system.

Give up on the Mac's. I know there are lots of Apple Fanboys out there and I use many Apple products myself, but you will be out of compliance with many company websites and unable to use them. Using Windows and Office are the business standard and essential.
SP Mooney
Insurance Journal Fan
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:46 pm

Re: Agency Management System

Post by SP Mooney »

I just signed up for QQ Catalyst and its a very nice system. $0 money down to initiate the system and $125/ month per user. It's web based software and very easy to use. I looked into the AMS and Applied systems but couldn't get over how much they wanted as a down payment and additional monies for "education".
OldbutNew
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Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:35 pm

Re: Agency Management System

Post by OldbutNew »

We are an old agency, that needs new software. We have been on AFW in-house since it's beginning, Vertafore is forcing user's to abandon in-house and utilize their 360 product at BIG BUCKS! We are currently looking into Partner XE, QQ Catalyst as well as Applied TAM; a must have is agency accounting. Any opinions?
yoyowordup
Insurance Journal Addict
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:43 pm
Location: The Valley of the Sun - AZ

Re: Agency Management System

Post by yoyowordup »

OldbutNew wrote:We are an old agency, that needs new software. We have been on AFW in-house since it's beginning, Vertafore is forcing user's to abandon in-house and utilize their 360 product at BIG BUCKS! We are currently looking into Partner XE, QQ Catalyst as well as Applied TAM; a must have is agency accounting. Any opinions?
I will be very interested to see your findings. We are a small agency 6 users and have been on TAM for 26 years. It is very pricey and has been for years it's just such a major commitment and project to make a switch.

The way management systems work in a small agency has changed substantially in the past 10 years with the advent of the internet as well as document management. It used to be the integrity of the applications within the system was THE most important thing. I've found that the DEC page in the document management system is now number one. Now that we make 90% of the policy changes online, everything is different.

With how we use TAM, I'm just not sure that it is the best option for us. Mabye a good database system with ACORDS as well as a good document management system and quickbooks would work well for us.

Keep us informed. . .
AgencyEquity
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Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:19 pm
Contact:

Re: Agency Management System

Post by AgencyEquity »

The great thing is, there are no shortage of options of available management systems, furthermore there is more and more innovation going on because of the competition. Do agencies all really want to be alike by using the same system? One size does not fit all, what may work for one agency may not work for another agency. We have agencies of all sizes, different target markets and different budgets. The innovation and options available is a great things for agencies. Thank goodness Agencies have a choice to select from so they can choose a system that best meets their needs.
http://www.agencyequity.com
The Premier Website for Insurance Agency Principals, Executives, and Producers with Executive-Level Business Needs
ccox
Insurance Journal Fan
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 8:42 pm

Re: Agency Management System

Post by ccox »

There's a new cloud system for small to medium sized agencies (including independents) called the Broker Business Management System (http://empiricalefficiency.com/products). It's a great new platform that integrates all the required tools to manage an agency and a valuable set of extra features. There's a live demo video available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPonQeeXJY8.

For those interested, the system includes nice features like portals for brokers underwriters claims adjusters and clients, internal external incoming and outgoing emails, accounting, a built in CRM, submissions management, a dynamic online documentation manager, business intelligence, claims and tasks management and a lot more.
Colby Cox
gregcw
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Posts: 160
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Location: Newport Oregon

Re: Agency Management System

Post by gregcw »

I originally posted to this thread in May 2009. Seeing that it's active again I decided to post on it again with an update of my opinions and suggestions. I am currently sill using TAM v10.7 which is what I was on when the monthly maintenance expense got out of control. I've since looked at Hawksoft and still think that TAM is better. The only regret that I have is that by not paying the support fees for TAM that I've lost the accounting system which I've replaced with Quicken and which I was already using for my payroll since TAM did not have payroll software included in their accounting system.

The other thing that I lost was the ability to add employee/producers, I am still able to rename the employee/producer so at this point the only thing that I would do differently when I quit paying for the support would have been to add several employee/producers to my list to allow me to have them available.

The primary reason I stopped paying the support fees was due to the support expense, which I find is still only marginally higher than their competition.

One of the things I like about TAM that I didn't Like about Hawksoft is that TAM has two sides of their customer system, A Customer side and a Prospect side. This makes managing the data base simpler. If a customer dies or has left the agency for many years I can just rename then to ZZZZZZZ and then delete the file since it no longer an E&O issue where I have to defend my actions. With the Prospects on another side deleting stale-dated prospects just cleans up the file and keeps it manageable. Hawksoft has them comingled.

I guess that what I'm saying is that functionality and planning ahead are more important than a marginal difference in monthly service fees. My fear for anyone else currently using TAM is that they (Applied Systems) may read this and add some other dead msn switches that affect current users ability to stop paying maintenance fees and still having a functional management system.
Gregcw
vla01001
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Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:35 am

Re: Agency Management System

Post by vla01001 »

We have been selling trucking insurance for the last 7 years. Primarily with progressive, some northland and through a few brokers. We never needed a management system. progressive has a nice system and 80 % of our book is there. We just used quick books for accounting and mostly excel spread sheets to keep track of prospects and a few other details. But diversifying from progressive, selling some personal auto, getting into contractors, etc. made it impossible to handle the business without a system. Plus issuing certs was getting ridiculous, so many requests that some days all we did was issuing certificates. We looked at AMS of course, but its just too much money. They have accounting, but we already have quick books and their accounting is nothing compared to quick books. We looked at QQ, but it does not have much for commercial accounts. For personal sure its alright. Then we looked at ITC, same thing, even the rep told us they cater to the personal P&C agent. We found http://www.nowcerts.com We are on their free trial at the moment. Still thinking about it. But so far not bad at all. No accounting, but we dont need it, plus their system connects with our quick books. The commissions is nice, the certificates is really good, the reports are nice too. Overall I think we are good with this system. One thing which is quite nice is the loss runs tool. We always had subscription to a system that helped with the loss runs, but this one is better, plus its included in the price. And the cost is not gonna be much. 50 a month plus 30 for more users. Not bad, we need 4 users total, I guess little over 150 for the agency, not bad. I am going to ask, but I dont think they will charge me to put our data from excel sheets and from progressive into the system. I asked once they said they will and did not mention any cost, but I will verify.
gforaker
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:58 am

Re: Agency Management System

Post by gforaker »

VLA, take a look at Hawksoft. I think if you are not ready to pay for AMS or Applied, they are a decent choice. They use QB for accounting and also have the forms, database, and activity tracking you need.
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