NetVU News Flash

June 2, 2017

Stay Connected with YOUR Users Group - NetVU

Are you staying connected with the value of your membership in NetVU, the Network of Vertafore Users? As a Vertafore product user, your membership is automatic. Click here to watch a short video to learn about NetVU and the resources available to help organizations boost productivity and profitability by enhancing your firm’s use of Vertafore systems.

Having an updated profile and cleaner data allows NetVU to deliver relevant and targeted education and advocacy resources and services. It also helps to connect you to those that can help you more fully utilize the investment in your Vertafore technology solutions and operations.

We are excited to now open the functionality to our members to update your own profile online at any time.

  1. Go to www.netvu.org and Sign In with your user name and password.
  2. At the top of the screen, you’ll see “Hi, your name”. Click this link.
  3. The “About Me” tab shows information NetVU has on record for you. Please review and update as needed using the pencil icon on the right of each editable section.
  4. Verify and update your Title and Primary Role in your Organization.
  5. Ensure your Address information is correct.
  6. Add your Social Networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).
  7. Enter / Update additional details as desired.

Contact Info@NetVU.org for assistance with your credentials or questions about your profile.

NetVU membership gives Vertafore users the ability to connect and share ideas with member firms and their staff, all using Vertafore technology products. Having updated contact information for you and your organization allows us to connect you with the best resources to help you fully utilize your technology products.


Virtual Meetings You Shouldn’t Miss

It can be challenging to fit local user group meetings into your schedule, but NetVU Chapters, Education, and Partners are here to help. Our user group volunteers have been working hard to provide virtual opportunities on the latest hot topics to help you better utilize your Vertafore system.

The best part of these virtual meetings is that they’re open to all NetVU members, so you have the opportunity to connect to other users and education that you might not normally have access to for a local meeting. Sign up to receive a copy of the webinar recording if you aren’t able to join during the designated meeting time.

View our Meetings & Events Calendar, and Register Now.

Wednesday, 6/7 at 1:00 p.m. Central  Agency Automation with E-Signature Solutions Webinar – Presented by RPost
Insurance expert Steve Anderson returns with a brand new educational presentation where he breaks down the most cost effective and simple ways to simplify your agency's producer administration and management so you can cultivate a truly great customer experience while increasing agency profits. Special guest: Brian Garrett, network operations manager, Wells Insurance

Monday, 6/12 & Monday, 6/26 at 11:00 a.m. Central  Carriers & Download – What Agents Need to Know Webinar
Join this two-part series to learn about Download from the Carrier side of the process. You can’t fully understand what is going on with the data coming into your system without knowing what’s going on with the carrier side of the equation. NetVU Member Joyce Sigler will be joined by two of Vertafore’s most knowledgeable Download gurus – Nellie Massoni and Kristin Hicks. Registration includes both sessions.

Tuesday, 6/13 at 11:00 a.m.  Client Portal Adoption Series, Part 1: What Is Client Portal? Webinar – Presented by NetVU Education
Join part one of this five-part series to learn what Client Portal is, how using this tool can impact both employee effectiveness and customer satisfaction, and decisions and changes necessary to make the most of this valuable tool. Presenters: Joyce Sigler-Jones & Wenner, Tim Campbell and Jim Spinosa-Vertafore

Wednesday, 6/14 at 10:30 a.m. Central  Making Download Work for You Webinar, Part 1
Come away with the knowledge and tools to build your download plan for your agency. With this class, go beyond the tools and information to make download work to your advantage, and come away with the ability to build a written download plan for your agency regardless of whether you are NEW to download or REVISITING for a check-up.

NetVU offers monthly download webinars. Stay tuned to our Meetings & Events Calendar for details on the next webinar.

Wednesday, 6/21 at 1:00 p.m. Central — Empower Your Agency Email with RMail Webinar – Presented by RPost
Save the date. More information coming soon! Questions? Contact NetVU Education at education@netvu.org.

Friday, 6/23 & Friday, 6/30 at 11:00 a.m. Central — Implementing & Using Integrated DocuSign with AMS360 Webinar
In this two-part webinar series, NetVU member Joyce Sigler will guide you through a discussion of how to effectively use eSignature software as an integrated part of your workflows. 
Registration includes both sessions.

View our Meetings & Events Calendar, and Register Now.


Closing the Talent Gap

By Sharon Emek, Ph.D.
Here’s a sobering thought – by next year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports there could well be upwards of 200,000 positions in the insurance industry that will go unfilled. That’s because 25% of the current insurance workforce is expected to retire in 2018, according to Insurance Business America.

And the problem could snowball over time. The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation says today’s average insurance professional is 45 years old. Over the next 15 years, BLS reports that nearly half of the current insurance industry workforce will retire.

While that may not come as a total surprise given the widely publicized exodus of 70 million baby boomers from corporate America, it’s an issue that becomes more critical coupled with the news that millennials just aren’t interested in the insurance industry. According to a study by The Hartford, just 4% of millennials have an insurance career on their wish list.
For the agency or brokerage looking to hire, that creates a significant gap in the talent pool. If attracting millennials isn’t working and locating talent is becoming increasingly difficult, the industry must innovate in how they hire and employ, and how they perceive the way we do business.

The “New” Talent
That includes rethinking who your next worker will be. There’s a wealth of talent and skill with proven expertise that could be employed today - retiring workers. At WAHVE we interact with many retiring or retired workers (“pretirees”) who want to continue working, but not necessarily in the traditional sense. Some veteran insurance pros are looking to downsize their careers, either to gain more work-life balance or to change direction and focus in new areas. 

Plus, economic pressures compel some insurance veterans to continue working. Some are looking to supplement retirement income, while others are looking to recoup losses sustained during the recession. These are engaged, interested, and skilled workers eager to bring their knowledge back into the market in a support role. And they want to work from home.

The New Office
It’s a business model that’s increasing in popularity and use. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, 43% of today’s workforce performs all or part of their work from home. And there are distinct advantages to hiring with remote workers:

Low or no overhead. Adding to your employee pool usually comes with additional expenses - benefits, dedicated office space, training and the like. Remote workers remove nearly all those costs, and require minimal training, usually just a few days to a week learning your management systems, if they don’t already know it.

Improved communication. Our clients report that they communicate more frequently with their wahve workers than if that worker were sitting in the office. That’s because wahves are connected through messaging and video chat technology whenever they’re working for a client.

Affordable consultancy. If you’ve hired a truly experienced remote worker, you have at your disposal a consultant who has worked in the industry and can advise on complex issues. 

Access to a large talent pool. A remote worker removes geographical boundaries. Your next underwriting specialist, claims adjuster, or policy rater needn’t be next door. 
As the talent shortage heats up and agencies struggle to fill positions, a pretiring insurance professional can offer more than just a helping hand. No matter the need, agencies can get talent, knowledge, and right-sized skills all at an affordable price. That kind of remote, dedicated worker can help agencies grow and profit in a shifting employment market.

 

     About the author
Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, is president & CEO of Work At Home Vintage Experts, an innovative contract staffing talent solution. WAHVE matches retiring insurance professionals leaving the regular workforce to insurance firms to meet their full- or part-time staffing needs. Insurance firms benefit by improving productivity and lowering costs. WAHVE’s unique qualifying process and technology platform match the right “pretirees” wherever they may live to the needs of insurance firms wherever they are located.

WAHVE bridges the gap between insurance firms’ staffing needs and seasoned professionals’ “work-life” balance preferences as they phase into retirement.

You can reach Emek at sharon.emek@wahve.com or 646.807.4372, ext. 3754.


These 5 Agency Technology ‘Sacred Cows’ Need to Be Put Out to Pasture 

By Keith Savino, CPIA, Broadfield Insurance Group

 One of my favorite business books from the 1990s was Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers by Robert Kriegel, the Olympic trainer, sports psychologist and performance expert.

Kriegel, you may remember, also penned If It Ain't Broke … BREAK IT!, another favorite of mine. Like our current decade, the ’90s were a period of tremendous growth in technology. We saw the rise of the internet, the introduction of download, and the creation of ACT and AUGIE.

When I look at how agencies are using technology today (or not using it), it makes me think that we still have some sacred cows that should be rounded up and turned into burgers. That's especially the case with small to midsized agencies, which — if they embraced these new tools — could compete toe-to-toe with the larger players in their markets.

Here are five sacred cows that I suggest we need to put out to pasture once and for all:

1. I’m already paying for computers and automation.

If you’re simply writing a check each month for “computers” and not seeing any improvement in productivity, there's a reason. Stop viewing these expenses as a cost, and start looking at them as investments in business tools that can increase your efficiency and better serve your clients.

If you’re an agency principal, you need to make these tools a priority in your office. Take the time to prioritize implementation, then drive your operation to actually use those tools that may already be sitting on everyone's desktop.

Make sure you’re using real time or moving toward a client portal. You need to embrace these new tools and make them a part of your business operation. That's when the real savings start to come in.

2. We upgraded everything six years ago.

That's good, but did you know that systems today are faster, have more features and cost half as much? Everything is changing, and as Kriegel says, if ain't broke, maybe you need to break it to stay ahead of your competition.

You can't be innovative if you’re tied to legacy systems. Consider telephones, the most basic of communication tools. We know what our end game is — 24/7 communication with our customers, no matter where we are or they are. We can't do that with old phone systems. We need Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity.

We need to be able to talk to clients in our office or on our mobile devices, and have everything available at our fingertips. We need systems that can route calls to designated staff in the middle of the night or on weekends so that we are virtually never closed.

Once you’ve decided what your goals are, you can determine whether you have the systems to meet those goals. Don't let your systems dictate what you can do. You should be in the driver's seat.

3. We just don't have the money to invest in new technology.

Sure, technology costs are high, but compared to what? If you look at what it takes to run an office, you’ll find that technology lowers those costs. It's how small agencies drive efficiency.

Profitability is always a challenge for smaller agencies. So you need to invest in a good agency management system, one that does more than process binders and certificates. You need a system that can provide good data analytics, one that has third-party integration with all of your business tools and partners.

Then you need to look at your customer-relationship management tools. Do you have a good CRM, and are you using it to its fullest advantage?

Whenever I hear agents talk about how they can't afford technology, I generally find that it's not the money. It's usually about making the time and setting priorities.

I also tell agencies to join their user group. User groups are a great way to stay current on your systems, learn what other agencies are doing and plot the next step forward for your firm. It's all about using your business tools to their fullest.

4. I’ve wrung out all of the expenses I can through automation.

First of all, you’re never done with automation, but the bigger issue today is connectivity — connectivity between systems, and among the office, the producer and the client. Have you integrated all of your carriers in your system for billing, claims and loss runs? Are your account executives using real time to provide a better customer experience?

Are you fully utilizing your CRM system? And I’m not talking about just generating new leads. I mean CRM systems that can manage renewals and claims, run drip marketing campaigns and remind your producers when to make follow-up calls.

Integrating social media with your CRM is also a must. All of these tools are critical for better customer service, efficiency and — most important — retention.

5. Relationships are what's important to me, not technology.

Here's the thing about technology: It actually helps you develop personal relationships. Many of these business tools are a throwback to the ’60s and ’70s when the principal of an agency had his home phone number listed in the white pages.

These new tools enable you to stay in touch with clients in many ways. Smart agencies are using these tools to connect in innovative ways and develop new relationships.

Kriegel defined a sacred cow as “an outmoded belief, assumption, practice, policy, system or strategy, generally invisible, that inhibits change and prevents responsiveness to new opportunities.” Are there sacred cows in your office? If so, it's time you turned them into burgers.

Keith Savino, CPIA, is a managing partner at Broadfield Insurance Group (previously known as Warwick Resource Group). He can be reached at keiths@warwickresource.com.

This article was published on National Underwriter PropertyCasualty360 website.
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