Agency and Carrier Interfaces, Part II
Insurance Experts' Forum, May 31, 2012
Insurance is something everyone needs. Unlike jewelry, which is purchased only on special occasions, consumers need insurance year-round, every year. What a great industry to be in.
Today’s consumers want choice and speed. Studies have confirmed that people spend more time researching things they plan to buy, but they prefer to buy a complicated product from a trusted advisor. And that’s where agents and carriers can work together more effectively to help consumers.
In our industry, we should already have the capability for real-time transactions and download synchronization using ACORD standards.
Our current automation efforts must be spent enhancing the agent-carrier experience, which includes expanding the offerings available, so that agents are able to offer more lines of business and more transactions for clients. This would include capability for quoting, binding, notice of loss, document retrieval and providing alternate quoting options for personal lines and small business risks. As carriers and agents, we also need to work together to add these capabilities in the mid-commercial and wholesale partner market space.
As we evolve our interfaces, we must constantly strive to improve functionality and the quality of the experience. The Agents Council for Technology is promoting the concept of Round Trip Rating, which will provide quoting options delivered back into the agent’s system through the use of more embedded assumptions and third-party data interfaces to avoid excessive interrogation of potential clients. The use of carrier portals is inefficient and requires steep learning curves in agency offices, taking valuable time away from what the agent should be doing. Agents should be selling policies rather than keying in data over and over.
We should implement best practices for automation to ensure consistency, increase speed of transactions, incur fewer errors, and allow for the easy and effective rollout of new capabilities. The new ID Federation authentication (www.idfederation.com) offers carriers and agents a way to increase the ease of doing business while increasing security and will remove the need for logon IDs and passwords. Everyone reading this article should consider it; imagine if we could all use a standard way to authenticate our identities and improve the ability for our systems to communicate with each other.
Next month, we will look to the future needs for our industry and ways we can enhance agent and carrier interfaces and move our technology out to the end consumer. 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.
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