1 ACT Commercial Lines Download Report - This May, 2005 report outlines the latest efforts in the industry to make commercial lines downloads more accurate for agencies. It recommends that carriers newly implement an agency testing process and contains prototype documents for carriers and vendors to use so that agencies can implement these downloads from a particular carrier more effectively.
Trends/Strategic Future Issues
1 Act Agenda 2007 ACT's April article discusses ACT's 2007 agenda, and how it flows from the planning work ACT and the industry did over the last two years (identification of "hard" trends, their implications, and the issues the industry agreed upon as "must do" issues).
2 Important Technology & Consumer Trends Driving Change in the Independent Agency System This report endeavors to identify the most significant technology and consumer trends that will impact how our distribution system does business over the next five to 10 years, along with some of the implications for agencies, carriers, and vendors.
3 Identifying Key Trends that Drive Real Opportunity 03/06 - Provides methodology for agents to identify key trends that create real opportunity for their agencies, as well as discusses some of the key trends upon which ACT has been focused. click here
4 AUGIE Survey: Agency Technology Having Big Payback for Many Agencies 06/06 - This article discusses how many agencies are deriving a big payback from staying current with technology, while others are not. It suggests reasons for the dichotomy, all based on the agent responses to the AUGIE Survey. The article provides insights as to how all agencies can improve their bottom-line using technology. click here.
Improving Agency Workflow
Systematic Adoption of New Technologies/Business Processes agency case study
1Best Practices Guide to Agency Business Processes and Workflows - The Agents Council for Technology (ACT) and the Council for Best Practices have jointly developed this guide to help agencies create more efficient workflows that fully utilize the agency’s technology.
2 Emerging Tools to Give Independent Agents & Brokers Better Information on Claims 11/05 - This article discusses how claims download used along with real-time claims inquiry, FNOL, and loss runs can keep agents better informed, improve the service provided to clients, and add considerable efficiencies to an agency's daily operations. click here
2 Backlog Should Not Be Acceptable in Your Office 08/03 - This article helps an agency face the backlog problem and overcome it. click here
3 Checklist of Profitable Opportunities to Improve Agency Workflows - Developed for ACT by Laura Nettles, President of Nettles Consulting Network, Inc., a firm specializing in helping agencies improve performance and production through workflow consulting, automation implementation, and change management. This checklist will be helpful to agents in identifying workflows and business processes that need improvement, and areas where technology can have a real payback.
4 Checklist of Commonly Underused Agency Automation Functions - Prepared for ACT by Sharon Cunningham, President of Business Management Group, a management consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry. Agents will find this checklist extremely helpful in identifying improvements and cost savings that they can achieve using the technology they have already purchased.
5 Five Steps to a Better Agency Bottom Line 08/05 - This article points to five steps agents can take to improve their bottom line and enhance their agency's value, taking advantage of the many workflow and technology opportunities that are available today. The article also references the many resources ACT has available to assist them. click here
6 Sandbox Discoveries - Former ACT Chairman Ed Higgins discovered several workflow improvements while “playing around” with his technology. He shares his discoveries with the reader. click here
Last A Technology/Process Agency Culture Drives Continuous Improvement 06/03 -This article speaks to the importance of establishing a technology/process oriented culture in the agency and describes a number of technology implementations that have been made by technology oriented agencies. click here
1 Best Practices Guide to Agency Electronic Information Management - ACT and the Council for Best Practices are proud to publish their latest jointly produced Best Practices resource. It was produced in conjunction with Laura Nettles of Nettles Consulting, the noted expert on agency work flows and business processes. This guide is an essential tool for independent agencies and brokers making the transition to the most modern techniques of information management. Agents will find this interactive guide to be practical and written from their perspective. It will help them take the necessary steps to become paper-lessand to manage all of the different kinds of media—both electronic and paper—that agencies and brokers must file and retrieve today.
2 Roadmap to Effective Agency Information Management 10/03 - This article provides a good overview of ACT’s new product The Best Practices of Agency Electronic Information Management. click here
3Turning Off the Paper to Agents Phase Two Report- The trend is for carriers to provide agents with electronic information and discontinue sending the paper policy information. This report takes a close look at the workflow and procedural issues agents and carriers face when the paper is turned off. It is hoped that the carriers will heed the recommendations so that the changes work efficiently for their agents and brokers. The work group’s Phase One Report is attached to this report, because its recommendations continue to be very important for the parties to take into account.
4 Turning Off the Paper to Agents Phase Two Report- The trend is for carriers to provide agents with electronic information and discontinue sending the paper policy information. This report takes a close look at the workflow and procedural issues agents and carriers face when the paper is turned off. It is hoped that the carriers will heed the recommendations so that the changes work efficiently for their agents and brokers. The work group’s Phase One Report is attached to this report, because its recommendations continue to be very important for the parties to take into account.
5 Improving Agency Workflows when Carriers “Turn Off the Paper” 07/04- This article highlights the findings of ACT’s newest report which helps agents adjust their workflows when their carriers turn off the paper and provides carriers with several recommended actions to take so that the change works efficiently for their agents. click here
Desktop Faxing- Agency case study
Digital Cameras Agency case study
Going Paperless Agency case study
Scanning Agency case study
1 Independent Agency Preferences for Carrier Electronic Communications - This report sets out how agents would like to receive electronic communications from their carriers for specific types of notices and transactions, so that agencies can benefit from a consistency of approach. The report includes a very helpful chart outlining each type of communication, how agents would like to receive the information, and, if the recommended method is email, a recommended format for the subject line.
Agency Web site & Search Positioning
Agency Intranets agency case study
Reaching out to Clients 24/7 - This article highlights the opportunity agents have to improve their agency brand as well as their service by providing customers with 24/7 access using the agency’s web site as well as after hours telephone service. The article discusses the areas where 24/7 has provided an early payback for agents. click here
2 The Right Way to Find New Insurance Prospects & Sales on the Internet Gary Savelli is one of the most successful independent agents selling insurance on the Internet. He shares with us the tips he has learned both from his own experience, as well as from those of other agents he has helped to sell on the Web. He also discusses the importance of agents establishing a brand on the Web and learning how to position themselves on search engines. Click here.
Sales and Marketing Technology
1 The Transition to an Agency Sales Organization—Culture and Process First; Then Technology - ACT has published phase one of a new two-part report to help independent agents and brokers build a disciplined, sales-driven agency culture and then take advantage of the technologies necessary to sustain and manage sales processes. ACT's Sales & Marketing Work Group has examined the existing sales culture of independent agencies and brokerages nationwide and is devising ways to help them embrace technology in their efforts to sustain an effective sales management process. In phase one of this report, the work group focuses on positioning the agency to be a disciplined sales organization by establishing the needed culture and sales processes.
2 Bolstering Agency Sales & Marketing with Technology - This report tracks how agents are using technology to enhance their sales, marketing, and sales management functions. It provides a great checklist to assist agencies in using technology more effectively in these critical areas.
3 Insurance Client Prospecting, 2006 Style 01/06 - This article provides practical Internet tools and other sources for independent agents and brokers to use to prospect for new clients. click here
4 Show Me the Money...in My Files! 01/07 This article encourages agencies to centralize these prospect information in their agency management systems. This information is an excellent source of future leads, and having this information available facilitates real-time rating and issuance with a minimum of duplicate data entry. Click here.
5 The Right Way to Find New Insurance Prospects & Sales on the Internet Gary Savelli is one of the most successful independent agents selling insurance on the Internet. He shares with us the tips he has learned both from his own experience, as well as from those of other agents he has helped to sell on the Web. He also discusses the importance of agents establishing a brand on the Web and learning how to position themselves on search engines. Click here.
6 Building Agency Sales Power with Technology 01/05 - Learn how to build an agency sales culture and how agencies are using technology to enhance their sales, marketing, and sales management process. click here
7 Sales: The Next Frontier for Agency Technology 12/03 - This article assists the agency in creating an environment that is conducive to using technology effectively to enhance the firm’s sales power. click here
Worksite Marketing—Multi-Company, Multi-Product- agency case study
Agency Security Customer privacy
1Protecting Agency Customer Information from Identity Theft
This report discusses key issues agencies must tackle to safeguard private customer information, prevent identity theft, implement an effective security policy, and protect agency data both while at rest in the agency's systems as well as in transit to and from the agency. Click Here
2 Managing the Security Risks of Portable Devices 05/06 - This article focuses on the special security risks presented by laptops and other portable devices and the specific steps agencies can take to manage these risks. It also discusses the importance of agencies taking pro-active steps on the security issue overall to safeguard their core data and the confidentiality of their customers' information, as well as to fulfill their legal obligations. click here.
3 The Independent Agent's Guide to Systems SecurityThis guide lays out the risks and steps to take, and includes a self assessment tool and sample security policy. It is written for the agency business leader. Download Here
4 Protecting Agency Security Takes Center Stage 05/05 - This article discusses the lessons to be taken from the recent major profile identity theft cases, the importance of effective agency password management, and the availability for download of a comprehensive agency security guide from ACT. click here
5Safeguarding Non-Public Personal Information: A Guide for Independent Agents and Brokers - This ACT report stresses the importance of agencies’ safeguarding the privacy of their clients’ private information, such as the medical information governed by HIPAA, and provides agents with practical implementation guidance.
6 ACT HIPAA & Privacy Supplement: A Companion Resource to ACT’s Report, “Safeguarding Non-Public Personal Information”- This report includes more detailed information about HIPAA, including security considerations, frequently asked legal questions about HIPAA requirements, and HIPAA’s impacts on the workflows of Benefit Departments.
7 Take Charge of Your Agency's Digital Security 03/04- Alvito Vaz, Progressive Insurance, provides agency principals with a clear and succinct overview of the security issues they should be thinking about. click here
1 It's Time to Update Your Disaster Plan 07/06 This article provides agents with a succinct checklist of the major issues they should be considering to assure the continuity of their operations should they be struck by a disaster, a major virus, or an equipment failure of some sort (power, systems, communications, etc.) click here
2Key Considerations in Disaster Planning and Management
This checklist reflects the lessons learned from recent disasters and is applicable to every agency. It emphasizes systems, telecomminucations, and people issues. Download Here
3 Some Communications & Technology Lessons Learned From Katrina10/05 - This article traces the experiences of an agency managing its way through the aftermath of Katrina and points out lessons relating to communications and technology that will be helpful to all agencies in their own disaster planning. click here
Agency-carrier technology agreements
1 "Agency-Carrier Technology Agreements; What Every Agency Principal Needs to Know" 12/05- This article discusses a major agency's experiences in seeking to obtain needed improvements in these agreements to conform them to the way agents and carriers are doing business today. click here
3 Focusing on Improved Agent-Carrier Technology Agreements 04/04 - These agreements have become a lot more important as agents and carriers have increased their electronic interactions. This article overviews the key principles contained in ACT’s recent report, Guidelines for Effective Agent-Carrier Technology Agreements, which is also found on the ACT web site in the Technology Reports section. ACT encourages agents and carriers to negotiate and include these key principles in the technology agreements running between the parties. click here
Improving ease of business.
1Industry Commits to Promote Agents’ Ease of Doing Business 03/07 Our March article is designed to introduce you and the broader agency force to the industry's Real-Time/Download Campaign, which is now launching, and how the Campaign's broad group of supporters, including every type of stakeholder, are making a major commitment to promote agents' ease of doing business. The article draws upon several pieces of the Campaign's work which are directly relevant to the agents. Please feel free to use this article in your agent communications and publications. Click here.
2 Ease of Doing Business: A Winning Strategy 04/05 - Several carriers are taking important steps to be easier to do business with for their independent agencies. Here are the top 10 ways these carriers are improving agent-carrier workflows. click here
3 Effective Communication and Training of Technology Issues to Independent Agencies and Brokers- This report provides the industry with guidance on how to communicate and train agencies in new technologies and workflows most effectively and provides compelling "success stories" that will motivate agencies to implement real-time interfaces, commercial lines download, and strategies to become "paperless."
1 Evaluating ASPs: Issues Agents Should Consider - Agents will find this comprehensive checklist to be extremely useful as they evaluate moving to Application Service Providers (ASPs) where particular hardware and software that the agency uses are housed off-site.
2Checklist of Key Questions and Hidden Costs to Evaluate when Considering an Agency Management System, Company Interfaces, and other Technology- Developed for ACT by Mele Fuller, SAFECO Insurance Company. Mele draws on her experiences working with agents and software developers while at Agena and SAFECO. Agents will find this checklist very useful when evaluating the numerous factors involved in making these decisions.
3 Managing the System Upgrade Process - Written by Mele Fuller of Safeco, this article helps the agent handle the systems upgrade process where the agent has to juggle multiple software on the agency’s system. click here