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ACT Work Groups

Please note the date of our last official updates – as technology is constantly evolving so are our work groups.

ACT facilitates multiple work groups focused on key industry issues to create tools in the form of best practice recommendations, advocacy, and educational materials.  These are communicated to all our stakeholders and are used to assist with setting technology strategy and enabling effective, consistent agency workflows.

 
ACT benefits from volunteer participation by our key stakeholders; agents & brokers, carriers, technology providers, and other industry associations and user groups.
 
Most work groups meet monthly via a web meeting conference call, for 45-60 minutes.   

 
NOTE: For a 2019 strategy update on each work group, visit their individual web page below. 
 
For more information on how you can get involved please contact Ron Berg, ACT Executive Director.
 
 
*UPDATED:   July 17, 2019 

ACT is moving forward rapidly with 2019 strategies - and we need YOU! 
More precisely, we need your input and vision - and you do NOT have to be a tech expert. 
Our work groups create valuable industry tools by bringing together carriers, vendors, agents & brokers, user groups and associations.  Each stakeholder takes off their company 'hats' and address tech issues and create consistency, education, and best practices.

We are looking for additional volunteers for work groups - see details below.

      The Commitment:   
Each of our Work Groups meet once a month for approximately 40-50 minutes via web conference.   We handle all the scheduling, facilitation, and notes.

     Get Started
It's easy just email our team at act@iiaba.net sharing which work group(s) you'd like to join.  And it's pressure free - you don't have to lead or even share immediately.  Instead, you can observe how a particular group works and share when you're comfortable - or dive right in! (we like that second option)

We succeed because of YOUR input. 
Please join us as we work together to improve agent workflows for our industry!


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This new ACT work group is being created in January 2019 to address the significant need for education and openness around API opportunities in our distribution channel. We are bringing together reps from carriers, vendors, agencies, as well as state associations to develop a level understanding on this issue.   

Areas we will define:

  • How does each stakeholder define 'API'?

  • What will different levels of success look like?

  • How does each stakeholder work openly with others?

  • What areas can/should ACT impact?


2019 Strategy Update

In January, we began meeting with the individual stakeholder groups separately to address the above questions.  We then compiled responses and analyzed, looking for opportunities,   bringing our entire work group together to discuss and develop our overall goals.  We featured focused API sessions at the May 2019 ACT Meeting in Cincinnati (see presentations HERE).  


CURRENT NEXT STEPS  

Based on discussions in June-July work group meetings, we are developing an 'API Partner Security Guide' to provide background for discussion between development partners.

Working drafts of 'Data Protection' and 'Security SLA' sections are available:

In our Oct 23 ACT Meeting, we will hold a dedicated breakout oin APIs.  Backround and discussion points available here.


 

The goal for completion of the full guide is yearend 2019.

 
Work Group Chairs
Steve Anderson (Steve Anderson Consulting), and Duke Williams (EchoSage and SimplyEaserPayments)
 
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2019 Strategy Update:  The SFI work group is meeting in the July/August timeframe to begin work on projects for the remainder of 2019, including the creation of an AI 'deep dive', updating our 'Autonomous Vehicles' Risk Advisory, and creation of other Risk Advisories on Chatbots, Messaging, and Marketing.  

This work group has traditionally been the technology trend beacon for ACT and the industry, keeping an eye on the key hard trends, and informing/directing focus areas for other ACT Work Groups and industry associations.  Some of the work groups created or directed by SFI include the Customer Experience, Mobile/Mobility, Social Web, Agencies of the Future, Mobile Strategies, Business Intelligence, Carrier Communications, and Mid-Commercial. 

The SFI Work Group released the first phase of the 2015 Hard Trends Report, providing a comprehensive update and enhancement of the major 'Hard' trends impacting both the way we do business and the way we serve our customers. The work group then developed the second and final phase of the report which highlights key Must-Do action items that ACT and the industry should pursue in response to the challenges and opportunities brought about by the hard trends.

In October 2018, the work group released a new '2018 Key Tech Trends Report ', assisting our industry in accurately planning technology strategy.
 
The SFI Work Group also directed the creation of the Changing Nature of Risk work group, which creates 2-3 page 'Risk Advisories' on individual topics.  From the Risk Advisories, the SFI work group has identified the top areas the industry must address; the Internet of Things, Smart Homes & Buildings, and the Sharing Economy.  
 
Chair: Rick Morgan (WAHVE and Rick Morgan Consulting).
 
Click Here to review the '2018 Key Tech Trends Report'.

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From the SFI work groups creation of the 2015 Hard Trends Report and the resulting Must Do actions, one primary work group recommendation is to create a new ACT Work Group focusing on the changing nature of (insurance) risk.  

This work group reviews the individual topics that will impact risk Machine Learning, Voice Computing, 3D Printing, the Sharing Economy, IoT, Drones, Telematics, Machine Learning, and others and determining for responses needed by ACT and the industry.  
 
The CNoR work creates Risk Advisories; short, focused advisories on each topic, defining the trend, importance, implications, economic impacts, recommended actions, and resources for more information.  These 'Risk Advisories' are intended to drive strategic discussions among all industry leaders, resulting in accelerated distribution channel movement forward. 
The 'Risk Advisories' are located on the 'Changing Nature of Risk' web page, and the group will continue to populate the web page with new Advisories as they are finalized.
In 2018, this group focused on updating key previously-issued Advisories that have seen the greatest continued evolution.  In addition, volunteers from the group completed an "Internet of Things Deep Dive", published March 2019. 

2019 Strategy Update:  The group has confirmed to create the next 'deep dive' on Artificial Intelligence ('AI'), utilizing the same format as IoT - We are working on this now, and targeting completion by end of Q4/19. 
If you're interested in joining the discussion, simply send a quick email to ACT@iiaba.net! 
 
Co-Chairs: Steve Anderson (Anderson Consulting), Rick Morgan (WAHVE), and Jerry Fox (Systems by Fox)

To access our March 2019 'IoT Deep Dive', click HERE.
Click here to watch a Changing Nature of Risk breakout session from one of our ACT Meetings.




 
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The objective of this work group is to create a digital roadmap for independent agents and their carriers to deliver an outstanding customer experience ('CX') at each stage of the customers' journey one that stands out from what the competing distribution systems are able to offer. This work group has documented the agent touchpoints which prospects and clients experience across their research, buying, renewal, and advocacy journey.  This lead to the development of a Customer Experience Journey Recommendations document.
 
In August 2018, the CX work group created an online CX Planning website which agencies can use to understand their current CX position, then create a customized recommendations plan that provides step-by-step recommendations with resources.  

2019 Strategy Update:  The work group is now convening to develop strategy and tactics to enhance the CX website to include online interactive CX assessment and project planning tools.  Let us know if you
would like to join the conversation!  Contact ACT@iiaba.net. 
 
Co-Chairs:  Ginny Winkworth (Merchants Insurance Group), Shepard Bosworth ( Cole Harrison Insurance), and Dina Buxton (Crane Agency)
 
Click here to access the ACT 'CX Planning website'
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This work group has generated excellent tools around security and privacy for agents and brokers. The group investigates emerging security issues and determines what guidance we need to provide our IA distribution. Last year, the work group released our 'Agency Security Issues Pocket Guide and supporting Reference Guide to aid agents in setting their security strategy. These guides cover topics such as data encryption, updating security plans, data breach, and laws, issues with mobile devices, texting and others
 
ACT also partnered with the Center for Internet Security, offering free 'Cyber Hygiene' toolkits for agents (now available).

In fall 2017, the group released the 'ACT Agency Cyber Guide 1.0' - This addresses all security regulations from entities like Gramm-Leach-Bliley, NYDFS, and the NAIC.  The Guide provides descriptions and resources for all regulations, including a downloadable template to create an Agency Cybersecurity Policy. 

As of October 2018, the group has now released the next iteration of the 'Agency Cyber Guide 2.0 ' - creating a matrix of vendors offering cyber resources to address regulations, as well as release 'quick hit' advisories focusing on security aspects such as routers, passwords, security testing/and others.   

2019 Strategy Update:  This work group will have no shortage of security-related issues to address - emerging state cyber regulations, NY DFS, NAIC, and many others.  
For the remainder of 2019, we will be working to update the Agency Cyber Guide to version 3.0, and also create additional ADA?Accessibility resources.
If you'd like to be involved, please contact ACT@iiaba.net.
 
Co-Chairs: Steve Aronson (Aronson Insurance) and George Robertson (Rockingham Insurance)
 
Click here to view the 'Agency Cyber Guide 2.0'
Click here to view the Agency Security Issues Pocket Guide
Click here to view the supporting full Summary Reference Guide.
Click here to access the ACT/CIS 'Cyber Hygiene' toolkits.
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The need for agencies to be fully prepared for catastrophic storms and other disasters has never been greater.  Think of the tropical storms and wildfires our country has dealt with across 2018.

Previously, our ACT 'Disaster Preparedness' work group created a great document for agents to use in planning for disasters.

Though the older ACT 'Disaster Prep' document has many aspects that are still relevant, much has also emerged in technology advancement, social media, and resources that we can add.
We have re-engaged the Disaster Preparedness work group to review the existing document as well as other ACT & industry resources, determine what format to use to move forward, and complete update.  

2019 Strategy Update:  As of April 2019, we have completed and released the Disaster Plan Guide.  Across 2019, we will work to communicate the Disaster Plan widely and update key areas as additional resources are identified.  If you would like to review and provide input, please send an email to ACT@iiaba.net. 

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This work group is dedicated to identifying Carrier pain points on Bridging, and real-time comparative rating.  A preliminary discussion between key industry representatives determined that there is an opportunity to re-address rating for Small Commercial Lines. This work group will work to 1) facilitate improvement, consistency, and education on existing 'bridging' functionality from management systems to carrier sites and 2) determine direction and advocacy for the desired end-state of consistent Real Time Comparative Rating for Small Commercial Lines. The work group held a kickoff meeting in September 2015, then fielded an industry-wide survey to confirm challenges and further refine its goals.
 
Our Small Commercial Rating group used this survey data to assign projects and deliverables  In August 2016, the work group created a "Carrier Bridging Best Practices" Recommendations document as advocacy to carriers for consistency and agency ease-of-use in Bridging quotes to carriers agent portals.  The group will also create a focus group to address existing issues with data and download/rating standards.

2019 Strategy Update:  This work group will: 
1) finalize an 'Agency Bridging Best Practices Workflow' guide, identifying additional carrier and vendor Bridging pain points, and 
2) run 2-3 focused comparative rating pilots to gain insights into challenges and benefits of comparative rating for small commercial lines of business.  The goal will be to create and share best practice learnings that will benefit all stakeholders, driving increased carrier participation, as well as agency awareness & utilization.  Current status:  
  • We landed on separate pilots with two comparative rating vendors - InsureZone and IBQ who graciously offered to let applicant agencies use their rating platforms free of charge for 90 days.  Two other vendors declined to participate.
  • Both InsureZone and IBQ have worked to set up 18-25 agencies each, providing training and support.
  • Participants have also agreed to consistently use the raters every day, as well as provide feedback via a detailed survey we have created.  The comparative rating vendors are also collecting direct feedback during training and support calls and will provide details to us.  ACT will likewise share the feedback we capture with these pilot vendors.
  • While the 90-day pilots will not fully begin prior to the May 20-21 ACT Meeting in Cincinnati, we shared a status update during the meeting.
  • At the conclusion of the pilot, this work group will be engaged to review results and assist in providing summaries/ROI to our distribution channel.

This work group contains very passionate volunteers - If you'd like to join the conversation, please contact ACT@iiaba.net.
 
Chair:  Jim Armitage (Arroyo Insurance Services).
 
Click here to access the "Carrier Bridging Best Practices" Recommendations document.


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This work group assesses and guides a wide variety of marketing and communications strategies to advance ACT awareness and impact.

The group is currently creating a comprehensive plan for ACT focused on more effective communication methods, website enhancements, as well as strategies for ACT to employ - taking advantage of available new tools & technologies.  ACT seeks to reach and engage a broader audience (the right people within agencies and carriers), increase its educational effectiveness, provide a forum for ongoing discussion of key technology-related industry issues, and create content that motivates agents and carriers to implement. 

The work group also has subgroups focusing on the ACT website, member best practices, getting the most from ACT, as well as brand and communications strategy.

2019 Strategy Update:  This group will use feedback from our dedicated session at the Oct 14, 2018 ACT Meeting to develop focus areas and objectives.  We have no shortage of communications improvement opportunities to help ACT and our industry!

Are you interested in lending your voice to the evolution of a more impactful communications plan that benefits all stakeholders?  Email 'ACT@iiaba.net' and we'll make it easy to add you to our roster and meetings!

 
Chair: Peter van Aartrijk (the Aartrijk Group, Chromium)
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This work group has updated ACTs agency-carrier technology agreements guide. We have confidentially reviewed a number of national, super-regional and regional carrier agreements with agencies and are in the final phases of generating a ‘recommendations’ document that addresses a number of technology-based areas that have emerged in recent years which current carrier/agency agreements do not contemplate. The work group is comprised of representatives from carriers, vendors, associations and agencies. The final recommendations document was also reviewed by carrier and industry legal representatives to provide full feedback.
A Formal Document, which will be reviewed and refreshed periodically, was released October 27, 2014. A future focus for this group will be to address the use of ‘click-wrap’ agreements on agent portals.
 
Chair: Jim Armitage (Arroyo Insurance Services)
 
Click here to view the Carrier-Agency Technology Agreements Recommendations.
Click here to access a 2016 whitepaper on "Privacy & Data Breach Language for Insurance Company Agency Agreements"
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ACT engaged this work group beginning in September 2015 to address our distribution channel's struggles with adoption by agents and acceptance by carriers. The work group focuses on clear recommendations on workflow and integration to agency systems, advocacy to carriers for acceptance of vendor eSignature solutions that meet UETA and ESIGN requirements, along with their own proprietary systems, education to agents and the industry, and use and updating of existing reference documents. 
 
In June, the group created and delivered a 'Carrier eSignature Advocacy' document - Reaching out to carriers not documented as accepting UETA- and ESIGN-compliant vendor eSignatures from agencies.  This document provides significant background and rationale to urge carriers to accept agency eSignatures along with their own proprietary solutions.  We are seeing positive responses from carriers.
 
Across 2017 and early 2018, the group recently completed additional resources for agencies, such as eSignature Benefits Guides for agency reps and customers, Training & Troubleshooting documents, and an eSignature Workflow template.

2019 Strategy Update:   While this work group is officially on 'hold' having created significant point-in-time resources, we will proactively look for opportunities to update existing materials, as well as determine any new areas we can assist with.n
 
Co-Chairs: Joyce Sigler (Jones & Wenner Insurance) and Nick Khamarji, Jr. (New England Insurance)
 
Click here to access the ACT eSignature web page which lists the agency tools listed above, and much more.
Click here to access the ACT 'Carrier eSignature Advocacy' web page.
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