Blog

Agency and Carrier Interfaces, Part I

Angelyn Treutel Zeringue
Insurance Experts' Forum, May 3, 2012

I recently had the opportunity to present to a delegation of agents from Japan while attending the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America’s (IIABA) National Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. We had a spirited discussion, through an interpreter, about technology in agencies.

I was proud to share with the Japanese delegation how critical the relationship between American carriers and agents is, and how hard carriers here work with agents to ensure that our technology is helping to result in more sales.

The message I shared was that carriers need to view the agent as their customer, and the agent’s customer as the end consumer. We must have efficient workflows in both the carrier and agent offices to sell our products most profitably. Our sales and servicing workflow is still too inefficient between agents and carriers, which is keeping costs too high, profit too low and causing us to lose sales.

Agents appreciate significant investment in technological improvements, and much progress has been made. As agents, we are committed to providing more business to those carriers who help us become more efficient and allow us more time to sell policies, instead of having to re-enter data into different carrier systems. Ultimately, carriers and agents both want the same thing, and that is to provide a high-quality consumer experience so we can sell more policies.

Carriers must implement what is required to allow our agency systems and carrier systems to communicate effectively. This requires that we all use ACORD standards; every industry has standards, and we must have standardized ways to allow our systems to talk to each other. Once the standards are being used, then we can easily upload data from the agent to the carrier.

Agents need real-time interfaces for quoting, inquiries, making payments, obtaining loss runs and making endorsements. Then we must be able to obtain downloaded data from the carriers for both personal and commercial lines, so that our systems will be synchronized and we can work together to effectively service our clients. Agents and carriers have much work to do to improve the handling of passwords to allow easy yet secure access to many carrier systems, and we must all use secure e-mail technology for the protection of our client data. These are the basic needs that should already be in place between carriers and agents. The technology is built, we just need carrier and agent adoption.

Next month, I will delve into additional technology improvements that are needed in the next couple of years. I invite your questions and comments.

Angelyn Treutel is President of Southgroup Insurance and the chair of the IIABA Agents Council for Technology and ASCnet's Industry Solutions Committee.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Angelyn by using the “Add Your Comments” box below. She can also be reached at atreutel@southgroup.net.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

Product Configurators: Moving Insurers toward Self-Sufficiency

Insurers may like a vendorís full service model for updating policy content rules, but they donít want to be held captive if the vendor doesnít offer fast speed-to-market.

How Quote Data Can Deliver Powerful Business Insights

Quote data often is disregarded due to its volume, but properly managed can offer insights into product and pricing strategy, expense control, cross selling and upselling.

Insurers: Let's Be The Best

I donít like when insurance companies are hectored by people inside or outside of the industry about how they arenít innovative. Many insurers are leading the way in gleaning real results from emerging technology disciplines, including big data, analytics, mobile technology, and telematics.

6 Crucial Guidelines for Digital Insurers

Going digital isnít just something that can be accomplished by decree. It takes finesse to keep everything in sync.

The Security Breach of the Day – and Why You Should Consider Cloud

Is your budget for security larger than Google, Amazon or Microsoft?

Top Stories in Property/Casualty

Novarica Commentaries are available to clients only, but weíve posted direct links to some of the most important stories below.