LAS VEGAS, Sept. 21 - The Agents & Brokers Roundtable of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) today hosted a special “Large Agent & Broker Technology Summit” that brought together agency management system vendor presidents, CEOs and chief technology officers (CTOs) of eight major carriers, and large agent and broker CEOs and CTOs to address critical technology and workflow issues facing large agents and brokers.
The Summit lasted several hours and took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas just prior to the start of IIABA’s Convention & InfoXchange. This event marked the first known time that executives and technology officers of both major companies and large agencies have met to specifically address the current technology opportunities and looming challenges confronting this segment of the industry.
“Our members who comprise IIABA’s Agent & Brokers Roundtable wanted to put a special focus on technology issues this year because efficient processes are so critical to the future profitability of their firms,” explained IIABA CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt. “This Summit brought decision-makers into the same room from both the large agency side and the company side to heighten our mutual understanding of the technology and workflow issues affecting them and to recommend improvements that will make both parties more efficient.”
The bulk of the Summit was dedicated to providing large agents and brokers and their CTOs the unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with the CEOs of their agency management system vendors and then with the CTOs and senior executives of three of their major carriers in a roundtable format. AMS Services, Applied Systems, Ebix, and InStar participated in the vendor portion of the program, and CNA, Encompass, Fireman’s Fund, The Hartford, Safeco, St. Paul, Travelers, and Zurich Small Business hosted carrier roundtables.
“As planned, this Summit gave the large agents and brokers an excellent opportunity to meet in small groups with those in the vendor and carrier ranks who are making the ultimate decisions with respect to the direction and priority of the technology that is greatly impacting their businesses,” said IIABA's Agents Council for Technology (ACT) Executive Director Jeffrey M. Yates.
Carriers provided their large agents and brokers with an overview of their major implementations of technology—both completed and planned—to improve interfaces and workflows with their large agents and brokers. Carriers discussed both commercial and personal lines and recommended steps that agents and brokers take to benefit fully from these innovative carrier interfaces, workflows and technologies.
Agents and brokers, in turn, provided carriers with specific feedback and recommendations regarding which aspects of each carrier’s interfaces and workflows are working well for them and which are in need of improvement.
With vendors, agent and broker attendees raised issues related to commercial, personal and benefits business. Vendors shared their perspectives with large agents and brokers on the most important steps they would like to see their carriers take in order to achieve improved interfaces and downloads with the agency management systems. Vendors also recommended steps that large agents and brokers and their staffs can take to benefit fully from the enhanced functionality they have introduced, including enhanced interfaces with carriers and connectivity with agent and broker clients.
Among the topics agents and brokers raised with carriers and vendors during the Summit were downloads; consistency of downloads based on AL3 ACORD standards; real-time interfaces; electronic transmission of property and vehicle schedules; more efficient handling of passwords with carriers; incorporating ACORD standards for directors and officers and professional liability business; client contact and other sales tools; attaching electronic documents; and 24/7 capabilities with clients.
The Summit concluded with each carrier reporting to all attendees on the insights it gained from the roundtable discussions it hosted. Agents and brokers then voiced their final perspectives to the discussion.
“Such a candid exchange of ideas as that which took place at our Summit today will prove vital toward realizing improved implementations of technology that not only meet the needs of large agents and brokers, but also further the needs of the entire independent agency force,” Yates said. “We encourage all parties to continue exchanging ideas and concerns and then act on the recommendations that have been made at the conference.”
IIABA’s Agents & Brokers Roundtable is comprised of large agencies that are completely dedicated to identifying, studying and addressing issues, problems and opportunities of particular importance to large agencies and brokerages.
The Convention & InfoXchange is IIABA’s showcase meeting taking place in Las Vegas from Sept. 21-24. The event features a compelling company CEO roundtable; several prominent guest speakers and panelists; a variety of innovative continuing-education (CE) classes and other cutting-edge workshops; the largest exhibit hall in the insurance industry; numerous networking opportunities; and many other exciting events.
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.