My Agency’s Journey With Applied Client Network
| Ron Brunell, The Signature B&B Companies | Jul 18 2019
An insurance agency or brokerage invests a tremendous amount of money — it's probably one of the largest investments we make — in its management system. So, when an agency makes the decision to invest in a product like Applied Epic, because it's the most state-of-the-art system out there, the stakes are high.
I equate it to driving a Ferrari: You can't get behind the seat of a Ferrari unless you've had some lessons and understand how to drive it. And, you can't start driving a Ferrari at 100 miles per hour. You have to start slow. Working with Epic is the same. Like a Ferrari, Epic is an incredibly powerful system, but you need to start slow and build into it. If you don’t, you're destined for failure.
When it comes to Applied Client Network (ACN), I think about it like this: It’s all good to learn about something from a textbook, but learning from someone who is working in the field is a whole different thing. To connect with people who actually operate the system every single day is a major benefit that ACN provides to an agency or brokerage principal investing in Applied Systems technology.
The networking and sharing of ideas, to me, is the single greatest value that ACN offers.
ACN listens to its members and finds problem areas that multiple agents or brokers are having, then sets up training opportunities to help them navigate and learn how to drive their “Ferrari,” or use the system, appropriately. To me, the question isn’t “why should you join ACN?,” it’s “how could you make one of your single largest investments and not subscribe to being a part of a user group that can help you capitalize on it?”
Beyond the community and networking value that ACN affords, there are two other key benefits of membership that stand out for me and my colleagues at The Signature B&B Companies:
ACN and Applied Systems education teaches users how to navigate the systems efficiently, and often reveals shortcuts and even marketing tips or tricks. It's one thing to learn how to use a system like Epic to manage your agency or brokerage, and it’s a whole other thing to learn how to attract new clients. In short, all the training and education offered is a huge value add.
Applied Net is the place to go where the networking and education come together to round out the ACN. At the annual event, users can share ideas directly with Applied Systems in order to effect real change in areas where you think a system is lacking or needs to be expanded. Through this opportunity, ACN helps bridge the gap between Applied Systems and its users. And, in turn, Applied Systems supports ACN because it understands that its users are the ones who are going to give the greatest feedback.
My Agency’s Story
I don't think as an individual agency the problems we have are always necessarily unique to us. In fact, I believe that, more often than not, multiple other agents have come across the same (or at least similar) issues. Using ACN and its network as a liaison to Applied Systems has helped The Signature B&B Companies on more than one occasion.
When we first went on Epic, the closest user group chapter was in Albany, New York, and, with our team in metropolitan New York, we’d have to drive three hours for meetings. So, we worked with Applied Systems and ACN to form the Long Island user group. What that did was help enormously in connecting our team with other users in the area so that we could share ideas and real-life experiences. There are all kinds of accounting glitches in our office that have gone through tremendous change as a result of us being part of ACN and forming that group. We've seen real change happen as a result of the power of numbers.
In my 35 years in the insurance business, I've seen the most amazing innovations ever out of Applied Systems and I cannot wait to see what’s next. I am also more thrilled than ever to continue improving our use of “what’s new” thanks to ACN.
Ron Brunell is a managing principal at The Signature B&B Companies. He has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance business and is a current member of the Applied Client Network Board of Directors.
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Tags: Commentary , Applied Client Network , Membership