Steam lining the Goliath

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It turns out the purpose of ISO is to provide the strategic tools that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors, and increasing productivity.  Now teamed with Verisk, it’s a pretty hard core smarts plus technology business.  A lesson the NAIC – those insurance commissioners – could use.

I just wonder, when they will realize that insurance isn’t on paper any longer.  With every year, we become more technology based.  To me agents should only be paralyzed (if at all) by a changing guidelines of each carrier.

They should not spend half the day – trying to log into a company’s online form, filling out said form, experiencing errors, dealing with underwriters/customer service agents, and exasperating customers.  Which one of these agencies will step up first to sort this out – because industry MGA’s and companies are not?

The main issues – the online application and the in-house system.

THE ONLINE APPLICATION

If you work for a large independent agency or wholesaler, I imagine you spend your day fighting the various online applications provided by the carriers and MGA’s out there.  When you come down to it, they all ask for the same information – so why can’t they be the same system, the same display and the same response time?

In my experienced opinion, carriers and MGA’s should be providing good product all around.  That includes assisting agents/insureds online with their provided technology.

The worst consequence here, is that most of the carrier’s expect the underwriter to provide technology/internet based assistance.  So, in addition to reviewing the submissions, upholding the guidelines, and binding coverage – the underwriter in now responsible for resetting passwords, fixing issues on internet based applications and being the go between with the IT department.  If they get it wrong, oh well.

Bottom line – companies providing poor, ill equipped and cheap online applications should be sited and fined by the NAIC.  I am sure this disgusting practice would end forthwith.

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THE INHOUSE SYSTEM

Recently, I went back to doing homeowners policies.  I was reintroduced to ‘360’ which is what originally started out as Boechks, then became Marshall/Swift until this newest reincarnation.  That got me thinking.  How many systems have I worked on since the beginning?  How many are out there now?

At the carrier, most of us converted over from some sort of DOS system that looks like the old Commodore 64 computer screen when you start it up.   When it converts over into the new system – the notes don’t carry over.  If you don’t have the paper files, don’t have anything noted elsewhere – you’re flying blind on the account.

Additionally, since we all have different systems, if you change jobs or get promoted to a different part of the company – the carrier has to retrain you.  Often, as a money saving measure, they’ll group the experienced agent in with the newbies and expect you to sit patiently as they ‘teach’ you insurance.

This is disrespectful, boorish, and demeaning.  Again, companies should be fined and chastised for this type of behavior.

Strong opinions from me this week, I know.  Those companies are lucky I have enough grace not to call them out.  Listening to stories from agents earlier this week – a week after Labor Day – actually lead me to think about unionization.

I applaud the NAIC and all changes they’ve introduced recently, but there is definitely more to do.  Currently the NAIC does not have a Technology department.  What would it take to develop one?  If you agree, contact them and ask – I just hope they get the message.  http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm

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