The Big "I" and ACT are active supporters of the industry's Real-Time/Download Campaign.
The Real-Time/Download Campaign is a major all industry initiative supported by IIABA and ACT. Click here to learn more about the origins of the Campaign and about how the Campaign represents a major commitment by the industry to enhance agents' ease of doing 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.
Latest Real-Time Articles & Reports
An Agency Case Study in Implementing Real Time
Ed Higgins details the steps he went through in implementing Real Time after he completed a conversion to his new agency management system. He gleaned several insights that will be very helpful to agents in getting started with Real Time and accomplishing a successful implementation. Ed also finds that it is often difficult to ascertain the "go to person" at carrers for implementation assistance and provides useful recommendations for both carriers and vendors. Ed notes the critical role agency management plays in successful implementations by both making sure the functionality works for employees and tracking employee usage to assure that the workflow is consistently adopted. He then describes the efficiency boost his agency has gained from Real Time.
Independent Agencies Prefer Real Time Over Carrier Portals
This statement by the industry's Real Time/Download Campaign describes the progress the industry has made with Real Time over the past five years, citing the results of its recent survey of over 3,100 agencies. It also states that carrier portals should not be seen as a substitute for implementing Real Time transactions for the many agencies which prefer to work through their agency management systems and comparative raters. The Campaign also outlines what it intends to do going forward to continue to increase real-time implementations by agencies and carriers and to improve the functionality that is provided.
Guidance for Carriers & Vendors (Revised December 7, 2011)
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.
Improving the Handling of Passwords in the Real-Time Environment
At its February, 2009 meeting, ACT approved this major business case to encourage carriers and vendors to improve the way passwords are handled in the real-time environment. The problem today is that real-time transactions frequently error out because the user’s password has expired. It then takes the agent 5-10 minutes to update the password on the carrier Web site, the agency system real-time tool, and to begin the transaction all over again. The Business Case outlines the pros and cons of the current real-time environment and then provides carriers with several recommendations to improve their real-time password workflow-- most of which are in practice today with some carriers. The recommendations include giving agents advance notice before passwords expire; considering non-expiring, more complex passwords for real-time transactions or at least passwords of a longer duration (such as annual); implementing password synchronization with the vendor systems so agents can make password changes in the midst of real-time transactions; and working with vendors to develop a delete user real-time transaction.
Below are additional resources that ACT has produced relating to Real Time:
Agent and Broker Real-Time Talking Points
It is critical for agents to advocate for Real Time with their carriers-- both large and small. Also, make sure and send a letter or email to your companies' senior executives when they provide your agency with Real Time functionality. This will encourage the company to provide you with new transactions for more lines of business. The talking points will assist agencies when meeting with carrier executives or marketing representatives to press these points. Make sure to bring up these issues at agency council meetings, marketing meetings, and when you see your carriers at conventions and other events. It is important to note that several smaller carriers have implemented Real Time transactions, proving that even smaller companies can implement Real Time cost effectively. Full Story
Additional Real-Time Articles and Reports
Real Time: The Next Major Advance in Agency Workflow
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. Full story
Real Time Makes Real $$$$
AUGIE has produced this excellent guide to help agencies make the transition from processing organizations to consultative sales organizations. New workflows (such as Real Time. Download, and going "paperless") are enabling agencies to free up time for their staffs to be more pro-active with their customer service and sales. This guide references a wealth of additional resources agencies can use to enhance their service and sales, such as client letters, surveys, and checklists.
The Future Role of Company Sales Managers and Real Time
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… Full story
Taking Time to Work on the Business
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. Full story
Enhance Your Bottom Line with Technology
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! Full story
Taking Real Time to the Next Level This ACT article discusses the progress the industry is making with Real Time and provides tips on how the industry can increase Real Time usage among agencies and carriers. The article reflects the discussions at several recent industry meetings. Full story
Real Time: A Feature of Distinction 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. Today, the paper transaction is disappearing and being replaced with the electronic transaction. We watched as the fax machine replaced the U.S. mail. Now, email is replacing the fax machine. The iPhone puts the Internet, calendar, contacts, email and my phone all in hand! These features are changing the way business is conducted. Full story
Looking at Agency Technology A New Way Accomplish your agency's key business goals by freeing up staff resources by implementing Real Time and Download tools. See the ACT article to learn more.
Show Me the Money...in My Files! Learn a new workflow for handling prospects in the agency management system that not only boosts sales but positions the agency effectively for real-time rating with a minimum of duplicate data entry.
The Real-Time Revolution: Redefining How We Work This ACT report defines the commonly used real-time terms, describes the real-time interfaces that have been introduced today, and then discusses the potential for Real Time to radically reshape how we do our work in the future. The report encourages agents, brokers, carriers, and vendors to embrace Real Time in order to improve their efficiency and responsiveness.
Real-Time Endorsement, New Business Submission, and Activity and Note Transactions- Along with inquiry, these are the most important real-time transactions for agents. This report spells out the agents’ business requirements for these transactions.
IIABA Real-Time Multiple Company Rating Policy Statement for IIABA's call for the industry to accelerate implementation of this breakthrough technology. (PDF Version)
Real-Time Multiple Company Rating: An Important Growth Driver for Our Future download this article for a greater explanation of the importance of this issue and how agents, carriers, vendors, user groups, and associations should work together to make this improved rating and sales workflow a widespread reality for our distribution system.
Agent Talking Points to assist agents in discussing the need for Real-Time Multiple Company Rating with their carriers and vendors.
See AUGIE's Real-Time Study showing the actual time and dollars agencies are saving by implementing real-time inquiries and transactions through their agency management systems and comparative raters, even in cases where only some of their companies offer these new technologies. See also AUGIE's Cost Savings Evaluator, a series of two spreadsheets you can use to determine the cost savings your agency can accrue if you implement real-time inquiries/ transactions or commercial lines download.
To return to www.getrealtime.org.