N.J. agents view insurance companies’ real time capabilities

June 4, 2007

Nearly 150 New Jersey insurance agents recently got a firsthand look at how real time transactions work and save time.

The Get Real Time program held last month in Edison, N.J. by the Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey Inc. featured improvements in agency-company electronic communication.

Moderated by Steve Anderson of The Automated Agency Report, the event showed various transactions that companies now enable their agents to carry out in real time, using their existing agency management systems. In the first half of the program, representatives of three agency management systems — AMS, Applied Systems and Ebix — demonstrated various real time transactions involving accounts with the carriers that sponsored the event, including The Hartford, New Jersey Skylands, Ohio Casualty and Progressive Drive Insurance.

Starting in the client account information sections of the agency management systems, presenters showed how a single click brings agents directly to the correct screen on the carrier’s own Web site. Once there, they can view the information they need or initiate an endorsement or quote request.

Since agents’ various passwords and user IDs are embedded in the system, turning on the real time component of the agency system provides instant authentication and access to carriers’ Web sites, eliminates continual logging in and out of carrier Web sites, and provides better security for an agency’s sensitive access keys.

In most cases if an agency has any version of a mainstream management system, it can turn on real time transactions with only minor adjustments to workstations or networks, and at no additional cost.

Agents were also shown how to document precisely what they did and when they did it. In some cases this means capturing images of screens where transactions took place and attaching these to the client file.

The second half of the program provided examples of real time comparative rating, using systems provided by IVANS Transformation Station, AMS SETWrite, Webcetera’s EZLynx and SeaPass. Presenters submitted a single set of data to multiple carriers electronically and received quotes back from the carriers’ own rating engines.

Carolyn ‘Cal’ Durland of ACORD, the standards-setting organization, unveiled the Get Real Time web site, www.getrealtime.org, sponsored by a coalition that includes PIANJ.

“Thanks to much effort by a lot of people, we’ve reached the point where it’s feasible for agents to start making real time the standard workflow in their agency,” said Keith Savino, a member of the PIANJ board who also serves as PIA’s ACORD representative.

“Anyone who knows me, knows I hate keystrokes,” automation expert Anderson said. “Using real-time transactions originating in the agency management system, agents can overcome pain points like endlessly logging into carriers’ sites with passwords and user ID’s. They also avoid duplicate entry of clients’ policy data, which is a major barrier to quoting new business efficiently. Agency personnel can use these savings to devote more time to building customer relationships, counseling clients individually and building a sales-oriented culture.”

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Insurance Journal West June 4, 2007
June 4, 2007
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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