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Real Time & eServicing

Using instant technology workflows to sell and service business

What is Real Time?

When we speak of Real Time, we mean the ability for you to click on a button from a client file in your agency management system or comparative rater for immediate access to carrier information on that client. The transaction may be a quote, billing inquiry, claim inquiry/loss runs, policy view, endorsements or a request for information.  This provides a single workflow for servicing or quoting - Personal or Commercial Lines.
To learn more, check out the articles and documents below. 
Using input from ACT’s Small Commercial Rating work group, as well as input from identified ‘best practice’ carriers, ACT has compiled this Best Practices Recommendations document for bridging Small Commercial information to carriers for quoting. We intend for this document to assist with increased Bridging adoption among agents in using carrier portals and ultimately help carriers become the ‘carrier of choice’ of their agents. Updated 07/12/18
Agencies using commercial lines real-time rating are saving enormous numbers of keystrokes and time. This article shows the progress that is being made in commercial lines real-time rating and how agencies and carriers can implement it today successfully. The industry’s Real Time/Download Campaign has identified increased implementation of commercial lines real-time rating as one of its two key priorities for 2014. The article makes a great case that now is the time for agencies and carriers to implement the technology and for agencies to start to use it today with any carrier that has it available.
This article overviews the highlights of the 2013 Real Time/Download Campaign Agency & Brokerage Technology Survey Report and includes a link to the full survey results. The survey, reflecting the responses of 2200 agencies and brokerages, shows that Real Time and Download usage continues to grow and that those agency employees using the technology are saving significant time using both Download and Real Time. It also shows that our job is not done – pointing to areas in need of continued improvement and attention.
Agents, carriers and vendors alike will get several useful tips from the author’s experience in implementing Real Time. Agents will learn how to get started and implement Real Time successfully and consistently throughout the agency. Carriers will see the importance of making contact information for implementation support readily accessible to their agents. Vendors will be encouraged to provide charts delineating the real-time transactions offered by each carrier, including the carrier’s contact information.
The Real Time/Download Campaign was founded to champion the adoption of Real Time and Download for independent insurance agencies and companies. Real Time provides agencies with a consistent workflow through agency management systems or comparative raters when doing business with multiple carriers, rather than having to learn the workflow of each carrier portal and enter data multiple times into these portals.
This report, developed by the Agency Real-Time Experience Work Group of the Real Time/Download Campaign, will provide a very useful roadmap for carriers and vendors whether they are implementing real-time transactions for the first time or enhancing and expanding their current real-time capabilities. This implementation tool spells out the 'best practice' real-time workflows which agencies would like to have and which some carriers are already delivering. For real-time implementation to continue to grow among agencies, we need to achieve more consistency in the real-time transactions that are offered to agencies across carriers and lines of business coupled with better performance from those transactions.
The current disparity of carrier handling of passwords within the real-time environment is reducing the benefits of real-time workflows and is discouraging some agency employees from using Real Time. In this report, the ACT Real-Time Management Work Group makes the business case for changes in carrier and vendor password handling in the real-time environment based upon new password workflows that some carriers and vendors have already started to implement.
Every one of us wants to find more ways to earn new clients, write more policies, and generate new revenue. Our agency has found that centralizing the storage of all prospect data in our agency management system has had a dramatic impact on converting these prospects into clients, as well as on using real-time rating and issuance most effectively.
This ACT report describes the vision that independent agents and brokers have for real-time endorsement, new business submission, and activity and note transactions. The report then sets out the incremental steps that agents and brokers recommend to the industry to move us toward the ultimate vision for these transactions. This report seeks to set out the agents’ business requirements for these priority transactions to assist carriers and vendors in their development efforts. Several user group leaders representing AUGIE actively participated in the ACT-AUGIE work group that developed this report.
The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) believes it is critical for the industry to accelerate current efforts to implement real-time multiple company rating. This improved workflow would free up considerable time for independent agencies to sell new policies and improve customer service at a time of unprecedented opportunity for the Independent Agency System to grow its market share. Moving to this new workflow also would alleviate current agency frustrations with having to deal with a multiplicity of company websites
Independent agents and brokers and their companies are in a war for market share. They face unprecedented competition, and these competitors are doing everything they can to increase their sales power and productivity. In such a market, our distribution system should be doing everything it can to make the sales process as efficient and effective as possible for independent agents and brokers, so that they can easily compare among companies, rate business and then put it on the books. But are we doing everything we can to enhance the sales process for our agents?
135 dedicated agents and industry representatives attended the recent ACT and AUGIE meeting and discussed the progress being made with Real Time implementation and the need for more attention to the quality of Real Time and Download implementations. The article also discusses the other top process improvement priorities the participants voted the industry should tackle in 2008.
The senior marketing executive for MetLife Auto & Home weighs in on the importance of Real Time to the future of our distribution system and the key role Company Sales Managers should play in its implementation. The article discusses the four “must-haves” carriers should possess to maintain strong, profitable relationships with the best agents and how being easy to do business with has become the most critical of these components. The Company Marketing Manager of the future must understand and support the technology direction of both the industry and the company and assist agents with Real Time…
More agency owners/managers will see a higher return on investment in technology systems if they help employees approach workflow in a new way. Employees must understand how to fully utilize the management system. And they need training and a defined path of work. In this article agency consultant Patricia Alexander gives practical advice on leveraging technology and workflow. Most agents won’t need to invest in yet more technology to make these changes!
In the six months since the Real Time/Download Campaign launched, Real Time has been a dominant subject of discussion at agency association and user group meetings across the country. Thousands of agencies are already saving significant time with Real Time – cutting in about half (or better) the time it would take to make the inquiry or get the comparative quotes using carrier Web sites. This article focuses on the progress the industry is making with Real Time and provides tips on how we can increase Real Time usage in our agencies and carriers. (See for more information on Real Time and its implementation.)
Do you want to provide superior customer service to your clients? Do you want to improve productivity? These are proven results that you too can achieve by implementing the Real Time features available today. As a consultant working in the insurance industry for the past 20 years, I’ve heard the pleas of the service staff – “Please rescue me from all this paper. Please help me keep up with all these passwords. There are too many transactions. I can’t keep up.”
This supplement is not intended to provide specific advice about individual legal, business or other questions. It was prepared for use as a guide, and is not a recommendation that a particular course of action be followed. If specific legal or other expert advice is required or desired, the services of an appropriate, competent professional, such as an attorney or consultant, should be sought.
Laptops, Windows based portables, and smart phones allow agents and brokers to stay in touch with their customers and offices and to have access to their agency systems from anywhere at any time. These portable devices will continue to get better and better offering larger disk storage, very convenient user interfaces, fully functional Office suites, as well as wireless Internet access, email, and Internet browsing. We expect use of these devices by agency principals and producers in the field to continue to increase dramatically.
“Real-time saves our agency time and energy. We have information at our fingertips which assists in providing better customer service tailored to each customer’s needs. Real-time saves steps in our workflows, eliminates backlog, and results in more sales.” – Angelyn Treutel, Treutel Insurance Agency
Broad segments of the industry have come together and have taken the unprecedented step of forming the Real-Time/Download Campaign to promote agents’ ease of doing business. The participating agents, brokers, carriers, vendors, user groups, and associations have seen how Real Time and Download are benefiting agency workflows, customer service, and bottom lines, and they want to see more agencies gain these advantages.
Independent agencies are using Real Time, Download, and Going Paperless to make major advances in their efficiency and in how they service their clients. This is not just a technology issue, this is an issue every agency owner and manager should care about it, because agencies that are moving to these advanced workflows are growing in this soft market, increasing their value, and gaining a competitive advantage.
With all of the issues facing agents and brokers today, it’s hard to get their attention on technology issues. This is tragic, because the new technology tools available today can help an agency—probably more than anything else—achieve the goals its leaders want for the business. I urge agency principals and managers to look at the technology tools available to them in this new light—as the great “enabler” for the agency’s other goals.
Real-time multiple company rating represents an enormous improvement over the current rating process where independent agents must deal with the websites of multiple carriers in order to compare rates among them. The carrier website approach requires the agent to logon to each site, remember the unique password, navigate to the proper screen, enter the same data multiple times, and train agency staff on each carrier’s workflow.
Agents and brokers: You can influence the decisions of your national and regional companies to adopt Real Time workflows. Use these talking points at every opportunity—e.g., during marketing meetings, advisory councils, carrier panels, one-on-one discussions, etc.—to state your case. And remember, you can make the best case when 100 percent of your employees are using Real Time at every opportunity!
Independent agents and brokers have a historic opportunity right now to determine how efficient their electronic interactions with their carriers will be over the next decade. More efficient interfaces will not just happen. It will require that a much broader cross-section of independent agents and brokers get involved in the movement to implement and advocate for these interfaces through their agency management systems than is the case today. This article discusses the opportunity we have, the progress that is being made, and what the grassroots agents and brokers of this country need to do to make this more efficient future happen.
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