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Agents Council for Technology Releases “Carrier Bridging Best Practices” Recommendations

Effort is key to work group’s real-time comparative rating goal.

ACt logo updated.jpgALEXANDRIA, Virginia, Sept. 6, 2016—The Agents Council for Technology (ACT) Small Commercial Rating work group has released “Carrier Bridging Best Practices” recommendations. This project’s intention is to assist with increased Bridging adoption among agents in using carrier portals and ultimately help carriers become the ‘carrier of choice’ of their agents. 

“Bridging” is the process of an agency transmitting existing quote data from its agency management system where data is exported (‘bridged’) from the management system, then ‘bridged’ into the carrier’s agency portal to complete the quote in fewer keystrokes. 

“These recommendations are an important step to reaching the ultimate goal of Real-Time Comparative Rating but, even more importantly, give our distribution channel the strategic template needed to implement consistent, intuitive workflows,” says Ron Berg, ACT executive director. “Ultimately, we hope the Small Commercial Rating work group’s hard work will lead to an increase in return on investment in bridging and carrier portals.”

The guiding principles for these recommendations were provided by Best Practice carriers for the development, testing and rollout phases. As one example, bridging development should focus on the following as guiding principles (listed in order of priority assigned by surveyed carriers):

• Agent ease-of-use (overall intuitive flow and integration into workflow)
• Minimal field entry
• Data prefill functionality wherever possible
• Intuitive error messages (guides correction on edit mismatch, or missing field entry)
• Good training & support (dedicated team to handle training & support) 
• Minimal underwriting questions
• Speed – returning a result quickly
• Interview’ process (screen dedicated to confirming accuracy on required fields)
• Quote accuracy (returning a bindable quote)
• Use of ACORD XML

The work group is co-chaired by Jim Armitage, owner of Arroyo Insurance in Arcadia, California, and Susan LaBarre, Liberty Mutual Insurance director of agency automation and quoting.

Additional recommendations and the full working document is available on the ACT website.

Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) was founded in 1896 and is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million 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.

The Agents Council for Technology (ACT) was established in January 1999 by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) to provide a candid, action-oriented forum to address the critical workflow and technology issues facing the independent agency system. ACT helps participants understand the perspectives of the other stakeholders in the process and provides excellent networking opportunities with the participants who are shaping the future for the industry on these issues. For more information about ACT visit www.iiaba.net/act.

ACT members include:
Industry associations and consultants: AAMGA, ACORD, CSIO, IIABA, Insurance Brokers Association of Canada, NAPLSO, Angela Adams Consulting Services, Red Barn Consulting;
Technology providers: Applied Systems/IVANS, CoreLogic Insurance Solutions, Citrix Sharefile, EZLynx, HawkSoft, ITC, InsureSign, My Insurance Videos, North American Software Associates, Simply Easier Payments/EchoSage, Strategic Insurance Software, Vertafore/QQ Solutions;
User groups: Applied Client Network, InStar Users Group, National Association of S.I.S. Partner Agents, Inc., NetVU, Nexsure User Group;
Carriers: Allstate IA, The Berkley Companies, Central Insurance Companies, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, The Cincinnati Insurance Companies, CNA, Columbia Insurance Group, Dryden Mutual Insurance Company, EMC Insurance Companies, Grange Insurance, The Hanover Insurance Group, The Hartford, Kemper Preferred, Liberty Mutual Insurance, The Main Street America Group, MetLife Auto & Home, Motorists Insurance Group, Nationwide Insurance, New York Central Mutual Insurance, Penn National Insurance, Progressive, Safeco Insurance, Selective Insurance Company of America, State Auto, Travelers, West Bend Mutual and Westfield Insurance.
                                                                                   

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