Applied in the Workplace
| Connections Editor | Feb 14 2019
This article originally ran in the October 2018 print issue of Connections, “The Innovation Issue.”
In insurance, every day is unique. Each role at an insurance agency or brokerage has a number of “unknowns” as employees start their day, but an optimized agency management system can help mitigate some of those items before the day even starts. Applied Client Network is all about member perspectives and insights — this is the key to the Applied Client Network advantage. Below, we talk to two members, Tanya Salyers, assistant client manager at Overmyer Hall Associates, and Kassie Weidner, operations manager at Hauser, about their Applied Systems technology, what they’re rolling out in the near future and how they got up to speed on their own systems to truly be effective in their roles.
On the Role of Applied Technology
Kassie Weidner: There are new technologies that have caused great improvements in our productivity and reporting. Both third-party products and Applied products are revolutionizing the way we do business, which in turn results in better service to our clients. We have offices across the United States and clients across the country.
Tanya Salyers: Applied technology makes handling every part of our jobs easier. Although many that have worked in the insurance industry understand all of the moving parts involved in managing a book of business, those new to the business are not as savvy. Relying on the system to manage our workload through activities ensures that nothing gets missed.
We are also able to spend more time with the system, going through trainings and webinars that are available to us through Applied University and the Applied Client Network, and we become very familiar with the procedures and ins and outs of Applied Epic. While we are learning about coverage and insurance from our mentors, we know that we can take the time to focus on our education and ask questions rather than struggling to input data and documents.
Weidner: With CSR24, we are excited about having policy documents accessible to clients through the portal. This is something that can be used across all departments and has multiple benefits for us and the client. File size limitations can be a challenge when transmitting large policy documents and sometimes even zip files are too large for our clients to receive via email. We can use the CSR24 portal as a kind of Dropbox or ShareFile to make the documents accessible to the client. They can access their documents from anywhere that has internet access, which can be helpful for our clients that do a lot of traveling. Using the portal for document delivery also decreases the burden on our company to create password-protected email encryption, which at times can be frustrating to use.
We began using the multiple-named insured feature in CSR24 last year. It’s saved us time in not creating multiple duplicate templates for different named insureds. This has resulted in an improvement of turnaround times.
Salyers: The portal is a wonderful tool for clients that are more technology oriented. We find it very successful when there is an administrative position at the company to learn and master the system. We can customize the permissions and access that our insureds have to their documents and certificates, making it easier on us to not worry if they are issuing something incorrectly.
We are also able to receive a copy of everything that is issued out of CSR24 by our clients, just so we can double check. I know that many of them enjoy the freedom of being able to get what they need without having to send an email — especially those that are familiar with certificates of insurance and without complicated contracts that require endorsements. We are also able to make documents accessible to our clients through the Portal, which has been useful, and I believe is a more secure way of getting electronic documents to them directly.
On Applied Mobile
Weidner: We’ve not had the opportunity yet to get a client on Applied Mobile, but we are preparing our marketing documents on it now and ramping up to start offering demonstrations. We think the clients will like the availability of these functionalities whereever they are. It improves the ease of doing business with our company and shows that we are dedicated to staying current with technology.
On Agency System Management Education
Salyers: The Applied University courses were great because they were so small and digestible. I was able to just watch what I needed to get a foundation, but I was also able to go back through when needed to watch things I might have missed or needed to refresh on, like issuing an auto ID card. Also, as I began to take on various projects at the agency, the Applied Client Network provided so many resources to me. I have been researching testing download and eDocs/messages with our system for many months now, and any time I have a question or issue, I know I can turn to the forums and the question has likely been addressed. I have also been able to reach out personally to others working on the same problem or who have already implemented what I am trying to do, and they have always been more than gracious to help answer my questions. Without the forums and contacts, I’m not sure I would have access to this sort of resource.
Weidner: For anyone new to an agency management system, I would suggest joining a network of users, a local user group and participating in industry product conferences. Agencies have come up with a lot of creative ways to make their systems work for them, and partnering with them to share ideas is invaluable. Our Applied users come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and keeping an open dialogue about options and how things are working or not working is helpful to fine-tune our processes. Standardization is important, but so is understanding the need for deviation when appropriate. Epic allows us to audit in so many different areas that we have a lot of data we can use to paint a complete picture of work volume, productivity and areas of training needed. Analysis of these results and instituting a plan of action will keep everything running as efficiently as possible.
Tags: Technology , Commentary , Applied Systems , Mobile , Connections Magazine , CSR24 , Agency System Management