NetVU News Flash

April 7, 2017

NetVU17 Best-Attended Conference in Over a Decade

Nearly 2,500 property-casualty insurance professionals gathered in Nashville, Tennessee, last month for NetVU17. It was the largest attendance at a NetVU Conference in over a decade. Agents, brokers, MGAs and insurance carriers who rely on Vertafore products to manage their firms converged on the Music City Convention Center for three days of networking, educational sessions and industry recognition. 

“Whether it was learning from industry experts, networking with peers or seeing the latest solutions in the exhibit hall, NetVU17 provided attendees with cutting-edge knowledge to improve efficiency, enhance profitability and drive growth in their firms,” says NetVU CEO Kitty Ambers, CPIA, CIC, CISR.

“Attendees consistently tell us that they come to Conference for the education, so we continue to make that our main focus,” notes Ambers. “We had an amazing lineup of sessions — nearly 200 separate breakouts and 125 volunteer educators delivering exceptional content.”

Using a new “day-in-the-life” approach, sessions provided real-life training tailored to the role of the system user, rather than simple demonstrations of features or functionality. “The concept has been very well received and can be augmented easily via web-based, on-demand training throughout the year,” Ambers says.

It was NetVU’s 41st consecutive users Conference and the sixth time the group has been to Nashville. Not counting exhibitors, about a third of those attending were agency principals and managers; nearly half were account managers, customer service representatives or operations team members; and about a fifth were IT professionals. There were also 540 first-timers at the Conference. 

NetVU recognized those who have made significant and lasting contributions to the NetVU community and insurance industry at its Awards Gala. Winners of this year’s automation excellence, technology advocacy, leadership, volunteer service and Chapter awards will be featured in upcoming articles.

Other highlights from this year’s Conference included a hugely popular Agents Council for Technology (ACT) meeting that covered such topics as SignOn Once, security and emerging innovators; a Day of Caring where NetVU members helped put together snack bags for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee; and an opening session  that featured Ambers, Vertafore CEO Amy Zupon, NetVU Chairman Barb Dale, CPIW, CISR, CPCU; and NetVU Chairman-elect Brent Rineck, CPCU, CLU, ChFC. 

NetVU17 attendees kept up with Conference activities with the interactive NetVU17 app, downloaded by 85% of attendees. The app had an activity and photo feed, a complete schedule and a list of speakers, exhibitors and attendees.

No NetVU Conference is complete without entertainment. This year’s Friday night party, the “Nash Bash,” featured regional culinary favorites and music from Asleep at the Wheel, Parker Millsap and Crooked Creek.

Next year, NetVU will celebrate its 40th anniversary by going back to Atlanta, where the very first NetVU Conference was held. Make plans to be at the 2018 NetVU Conference, May 17–19, 2018, in downtown Atlanta. Stay tuned for registration details! 

Vertafore’s Zupon Announces New MyVertafore Portal at NetVU17

During a March 23 opening session presentation at NetVU17 in Nashville, Vertafore CEO Amy Zupon spoke about what drives her company and what lies ahead for users, including the launch of a new MyVertafore support portal in May.

“MyVertafore,” she said, “will have an enhanced user experience and improved features such as search and chat capabilities.” As part of that launch, Vertafore will roll out “Ideas,” a new tool designed to replace the current Product Enhancement Request System (PERS) for submitting product enhancement ideas to Vertafore.

“We’re developing Ideas in partnership with NetVU,” Zupon said. “Our goal is to have a stronger collaboration tool so that we can all work together — spending more time problem-solving and less time on process.”

Zupon, who became CEO of Vertafore last year, talked about her goals for the company, telling the audience, “We believe we can do more for you and with you when we work as partners. We’re successful when you’re successful.”

She said Vertafore product enhancements will focus on four main “themes”: 1) driving more connection across the industry, 2) getting closer to Vertafore users’ end customers, 3) delivering valuable data insights to users and 4) improving business efficiencies — all with the goal of creating a stronger community of users.

Zupon joined NetVU CEO Kitty Ambers, CPIA, CIC, CISR; NetVU Chairman Barb Dale, CPIW, CISR, CPCU; and NetVU Chairman-elect Brent Rineck, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, on stage for a discussion of industry and technology trends, and to answer questions submitted by NetVU members from across the country.

Here are some takeaways from the panelists:
      General Session Panel (left to right): Kitty Ambers, Brent        
        Rineck, Barb Dale and Amy Zupon

Barb Dale on increasing agency productivity: “Look at your processes. Are they efficient? At my firm, we discovered we were entering the same data into multiple systems that did not integrate with each other. Our research led us to purchase AMS360 because it integrates with ImageRight, which we already had. Now that our systems are in place, our next big project is to focus on our customers, who want 24/7 service, with information and documents on demand. Giving them that will allow my staff to spend more time as their trusted advisers.”

Kitty Ambers on the importance of user groups:
“Maximizing the use of your technology is the smartest investment you can make. That’s why it’s important to get involved in NetVU at the grassroots level. Join a Chapter, participate in NCOM, connect with other users, agencies and carriers. It’s all about collaboration. It’s learning and staying connected that impact consumers, as well as our businesses.”

Brent Rineck on growth and security: “Growth comes when you invest in your staff and give them the training they need on Vertafore tools. Switching to ImageRight is one of the best things we ever did. I also recommend using Amazon WorkSpaces for security and convenience. I believe that 2017 will be the Year of Security. What are you doing to protect your firm against hackers? Get client data off of removable devices, and use the tools available to protect your data.”

Amy Zupon on what success looks like at Vertafore: “Success to me is being the best technology provider in the industry, period. I measure that in three ways: 1) our customers’ success and how well we partner with the industry, 2) the success of our people at Vertafore in creating a high-performance culture, and 3) company success through operational excellence.”

To view livestream highlights from NetVU17, including Zupon’s remarks and the panel discussion, follow this link.

IDR Focuses on Six Key Digital Technologies

The Insurance Digital Revolution - based on work with its Advisory Council - will focus on six key technologies that will improve agents' capabilities to market, sell to and service clients, and be more efficient. The six digital tools to be featured are: e-signature, client portals, claims download, eDocs, interactive websites, and providing 24/7 service.

IDR has planned a series of outreach activities to promote the technologies and to provide tools, resources, and advice for both agents who are more advanced, and those who are just getting started. Outreach includes: agent stories and Digital Toolkits featured on the website, industry webcasts, social media programs and a new survey at the beginning of next year.

IDR is currently promoting the digital technologies that help agents meet their clients' service needs: 24/7 service and client portals. Continue to check the IDR website for new information on these tools, as well as blog posts featuring agent stories. We are also in the process of organizing a webcast to help agents learn about these tools and will be sending an invite out shortly.

Mindfulness and Movement: The Case for Incorporating Gentle, Healthy Self-care Practices into Your Workday

By Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, WAHVE

Science continues to demonstrate that a commitment to intentional, healthy activity like walking, stretching, deep breathing, and meditation, has lasting positive impacts on our health. Professionals with sedentary jobs often feel daunted at the prospect of finding time in the workday to prioritize their health and wellness. And even remote workers like wahves, who know and benefit from the flexibility of time and location to devote to self-care, can find it difficult to set aside time for centering, healthy activity. For the many of us who don’t find ourselves able or inclined to engage in rigorous, long-duration exercise, it’s often unclear as to how beneficial it really is to find only a few moments to quiet our minds or engage in brief intervals of low-impact exercise, rather than big commitments like long walks, or intense workout sessions at the gym. 

Thankfully, recent research has shown that our bodies and minds respond well to brief, intentional periods of both meditative stillness and purposeful activity. Conclusions regarding meditation summarized by the Mayo Clinic emphasize that “spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace,” which enables us to “clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress.” And a new study recently covered found that brief intervals of walking are actually “more effective at improving well-being than a single, longer walk” (emphasis added). In its piece, “Work. Walk 5 Minutes. Work,” the New York Times reported that participants in this study (who were asked to “numerically rate their moods, energy, fatigue and appetites”) reported higher numbers “when they did not sit for six uninterrupted hours.” So, what the researchers concluded was that when the workers rose and walked most often and for the briefest amount of time, they reported “greater happiness, less fatigue and considerably less craving for food than on either of the other days. Their feelings of vigor also tended to increase throughout the day.”

Another recent study’s findings underscore the benefit of incorporating gradual wellness practices and self-care habits, indicating that just “a single, moderate workout beneficially alters telomere biology in
the heart.
” Telomeres prevent damage to our DNA, and their shortened nature indicates aging cells. But incredibly, scientists have found that telomere shortening is not limited or solely dictated by our age, because our cells’ aging can be reversed (or accelerated) based on our lifestyle. This inspiring conclusion indicates that simple, regular activity has lasting anti-aging and heart-sustaining impacts on our wellbeing, according to the study’s lead author: “‘It looks like getting up and moving may start to immediately change how the heart’s cells work, […] in ways that ‘seem to make gene expression more youthful and keep the heart young.’”

In addition to the encouraging evidence that supports a gentle, regular practice of activity such as brisk, brief walking, we know that mindful quiet and stillness is an excellent complement to increased activity. A simple exercise such as this meditation offers an opportunity to focus on the needs and status of our bodies and whole personhood, by taking a moment to be still and check in with ourselves throughout the day. The meditation encourages professionals to “be mindful of your body and its needs. At a minimum get up out of your chair, stretch and move at least once an hour” and to “remember to breathe. At least once an hour, do a few 10-count breaths.” 

We’re now almost four full months into the new year, after a season of ambitious resolutions for some, or perhaps discouragement for others who may have found themselves wanting to feel healthier but unsure of how to proceed. Remembering that there are tangible benefits to be gained by engaging in brief and focused activity like a five-minute walk on the hour, taking time to stretch, breathing deeply, and centering ourselves throughout the day, is encouraging for anybody seeking to feel energetic, balanced, and engaged, at their desk and beyond.

About the author:
Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, is the CEO and founder of Work At Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE), 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.

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, 4/12 at 1:30 p.m. Central – Making the Most of TransactNOW for Sagitta Users
TransactNOW® is a powerful solution that connects agencies with insurance carrier databases and various Vertafore sites in real time, all from the convenience and security of your Vertafore agency management system. During this webinar, Nellie Massoni from Vertafore will get you started by walking through the setup and implementation process – start to finish.

Wednesday, 4/12 at 2:00 p.m. Central – AIM Highlights from NetVU17 & Open Forum
Please join the NetVU AIM & MGA User Group for our upcoming meeting. We’ll review highlights from the 2017 NetVU Conference and have an open forum for questions.  

Thursday, 4/13 at 12:00 p.m. Central – Access Markets and Optimize Download, Presented by IVANS
Join IVANS’ Cal Durland to learn about the latest digital technologies available to you to optimize your insurer relationships. Provided by IVANS, a NetVU silver partner, these complimentary tools for agents will enable you to shorten the sales cycle, increase retention, and mitigate E&O concerns. 

Wednesday, 4/19 at 10:30 a.m. Central – Making Download Work for You - 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.

Tuesday, 4/25 at 11:00 a.m. Central – Making the Most of AMS360  
Join NetVU and Angela Painter of Angela Adams Consulting Services, Inc. for an hour-long session that will include tips and tricks with: Navigation, Using Grids, Finding and Using Documents in Your System, and Data Entry for Your Commercial Lines CSR and/or Account Manager.

Tuesday, 5/2 at 1:00 p.m. Central – WorkSmart NetVU Chapter Meeting
Save the date to join the WorkSmart NetVU Chapter for our upcoming meeting.

View our Meetings & Events Calendar, and Register Now.

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