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Real-Time Study Summer 2006 A Glimpse into Differences between Manual and Real-Time Inquiry and Transaction Processing


Introduction A small group of volunteers came together under the direction of the AUGIE (ACORD-User Groups Information Exchange) Leaders Council to answer the question: “Is real-time really worth the time?” The driving force behind the question was the belief that real-time functionality might play an integral role in boosting ease of doing business. The importance of ease of doing business was validated in the AUGIE Agency Technology Survey, a much larger initiative that also took place in the first part of 2006. The volunteers – pairs of delegates from a half-dozen or so agency management system user groups – mapped out a plan, zeroing in on two key areas: inquiry and policy transactions. Inquiry included the processes of accessing billing, coverage, claim and loss information, as well as Web logins. Transactions included new business quoting, as well as endorsement, renewal, rewrite or cancellation processing. The group designed study questions and created a detailed spreadsheet to guide the data gathering process. The group recruited agencies to take part in the single-purpose study. For several weeks, staff members in participating agencies tracked the time it took to complete a variety of transactions, from a simple billing inquiry to more complex new business and endorse-

AUGIE Real-Time Summary 2006 1

© 2006 ACORD Corporation – All Rights Reserved AUGIE – ACORD User Group Information Exchange Updated 10/3/06


ment processing. Participants worked in agencies using various management systems from different vendors.

Involved volunteers Working group volunteers reached

During the study, participants tracked how long it took to perform manual tasks with each carrier – using paper files and faxes, phone or manually logging in to a carrier website. They then tracked the same transactions in real-time, either through the agency management system, using a comparative rater integrated with the management system, or via a standalone comparative rater.

out to get others involved in the

Findings and lessons learned

get them excited about taking part.

By the ACORD Conference in May, the group presented the Leaders Council a compilation of agent experiences that showed real-time is worth the time. Findings from the initial study indicate agencies save time by using real-time inquiry

real-time tracking. ASCnet’s Lisa Parry Becker, for instance, convinced a carrier she represents to invite its agents to get involved in the effort. Linda Rollings hosted an online meeting to explain the project to fellow AMS User Group members and Such efforts highlight the value of volunteers and demonstrate how taking extra initiative can yield positive results.

AUGIE Real-Time Summary 2006 © 2006 ACORD Corporation – All Rights Reserved AUGIE – ACORD User Group Information Exchange Updated 10/3/06

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‘The fact that a small, focused group created a study, recruited participants and delivered results in less than three months is a credit to the user group participants and the agents who volunteered to take part, regardless of what biases they held when they entered into the venture.’ — Keith Savino, agency principal and ACORD board member and policy transactions. That’s true even if only a few carriers – or just one – offer the functionality. The easiest agency tasks were made simpler. And more complex tasks were completed in a fraction of the time. When compared to the agency’s own internal benchmarks for manual processing, real-time inquiry often reduced processing time by 25 percent to 75 percent. Many agencies saw times drop from minutes to seconds. For instance, where a billing inquiry made using a proprietary carrier website took a minute and 45 seconds, in real-time it took 35 seconds. Billing and policy inquiry were most commonly tracked. And claims inquiry demonstrated some of

Agency 1 Personal Lines Claims Inquiry

30:00 30

Personal Lines First Notice of Loss

25

(Time does not include collecting info and documenting loss in client file.)

Minutes

20 15:00

15

10:00

10:00 10

6:20

5

1:10

1:10

:15

0 Manual

Phone

Website

Real-Time via Management System

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© 2006 ACORD Corporation – All Rights Reserved AUGIE – ACORD User Group Information Exchange Updated 10/3/06


the best time savings. For instance, claims inquiry by phone often took between eight and ten minutes. The same transaction done via carrier website took between 70 and 90 seconds. Using real-time transaction processing to eliminate redundant data entry at multiple websites, other software or forms, agents cut the time required to rate policies from an hour to just 15 minutes, using their management system. This can add up to hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in savings each year. Two somewhat intuitive facts were confirmed regarding time, money and staff. The first: time is money. CSRs need time and are attracted to anything that offers time savings. However, they may be slow to change until the agency proves the time-savings.

Fast food

Agencies encouraged participation in different ways. For instance, one ran a four-week contest, offering a free lunch to the person who completed the most real-time inquiries each week. According to the principal, the contest boosted real-time transactions. Before the contest kicked off, one individual had consistently ranked as the highest producer of realtime transactions. Once the contest started, though, others came on board, and a different individual won a free lunch each week.

Agency 2 2.5

Minutes

2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 1. Includes use of dual monitors by most reps. 2. Includes significantly below-average time reported by rep who “memorized all the prompts” in the automated menu. 3. Excludes results from one rep who “forgot how to use the website.”

AUGIE Real-Time Summary 2006 © 2006 ACORD Corporation – All Rights Reserved AUGIE – ACORD User Group Information Exchange Updated 10/3/06

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‘During the study, we learned that benefits of real-time are coming more quickly than many thought. You don’t need to wait until all carriers flip on the switch. The payback is here and now.’ — Lisa Parry Becker, agency principal and ASCnet interface committee chair Second, principals who focus on revenue tend to prefer comparative rating and real-time transactions – whether they start at a comparative rater or in the management system. As the AUGIE survey indicated, real-time can help agencies provide quotes and rates from multiple carriers, which can allow these agencies to maintain their independence. This lets them serve clients and carriers better and, in doing so, boost revenue and profits. Duplicate entry may not be at the forefront in their thinking, but they recognize the benefits of improving retention, staying competitive, offering multiple carrier and/or coverage options to clients and keeping producers happy.

Agency 3

Time spent on each task (hours:mins:secs)

Personal Lines Billing Inquiry

1:25

1:45

0:35

Personal Lines Policy Inquiry

5:00

1:15

0:40

Personal Lines Claims Inquiry

1:15

1:00

2:30

1:40

Commercial Lines Billing Inquiry

1:45

1:25

0:35

Commercial Lines Policy Inquiry

4:00

1:15

0:40

Commercial Lines Claims Inquiry

1:15

3:00:00

2:30

1:40

Commercial Lines Loss Runs

2:30

1:40

Manual

Phone

Website

Real-Time via Management System

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© 2006 ACORD Corporation – All Rights Reserved AUGIE – ACORD User Group Information Exchange Updated 10/3/06


Going forward

Making converts

The AUGIE Real-Time Study Group is building on data that showed real-time is, indeed, a significant contributor to ease of doing business. Study results led the group to make time tracking an ongoing process and create an online timer to let agents contribute their own data quickly, easily and consistently. The timer is designed to gather and deliver data for agency use. It can be used over time to continue to build support for real-time transactions and can boost agency profits.

In one agency, a CSR who is viewed by many

Beyond using the timer, agency principals should run and monitor usage reports, working group members say. They should talk to CSRs and learn how much time it takes to process work. They should educate staff and partners, contact carriers and advocate for

wrong. Within a mat-

as the most automated individual in the office told the principal that real-time did not work. As others showed it did, indeed, work, the individual admitted thinking she could process work as fast as real-time, until she was proven ter of weeks, the CSR became a top real-time user within the agency. “We’re slowly but surely converting,” the agency principal said. “It doesn’t happen overnight.”

AUGIE Real-Time Summary 2006 © 2006 ACORD Corporation – All Rights Reserved AUGIE – ACORD User Group Information Exchange Updated 10/3/06

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‘With the new AUGIE Timer, we envision having hundreds of responses from agency professionals in the not-too-distant future. That will send a powerful message.’ — Ron Binning, agency principal and president of NASPA, the user group for SIS (Strategic Insurance Software) real-time, and troubleshoot as necessary. It’s important to use the AUGIE timer, the group adds. As more agencies contribute data, opportunities to deliver results segmented by agency size will become possible. AUGIE sees a number of opportunities to increase understanding of real-time and its benefits. For instance, carriers can bolster communication with their agents, letting them know the value they place on real-time, and then share data to drive increased usage. Plus, they can communicate with their own marketing reps the role of real-time and the importance of AUGIE’s tools. Vendors, likewise, can drive increased real-time adoption by reporting usage numbers more broadly and consistently and encouraging agents to use real-time and the tools AUGIE created to help agencies understand the benefits. Agencies can quickly find out what carriers offer by visiting ACT’s acttech.org website.

The right tools for the job AUGIE offers resources designed to help agencies realize the benefits of real-time interfaces, download and more. They include: • AUGIE Workflow Timer • Productive Agency Visits Guide • Commercial Lines Download Agency Start-Up Guide • AUGIE Cost Savings Calculator - Real-Time Savings - Download Savings • Technology Survey results • Videos on agency technology and workflow issues. Access these via www.acordadvantage.com/augie or your user group or association. New tools are being developed continually, so check back often.

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© 2006 ACORD Corporation – All Rights Reserved AUGIE – ACORD User Group Information Exchange Updated 10/3/06


Ongoing education and promotion are planned and will focus on top-down and bottom-up buy-in. Efforts will showcase the potential financial and other benefits real-time offers and will incorporate internal agency training and workflows, carrier education, marketing rep education and best practices.

Conclusion The future of real-time technology is not just about billing inquiry, working group members say. The whole notion of real-time functionality incorporates potential that has yet to be realized. In addition to inquiry and existing transactions, the far-reaching “future” of real-time includes supporting clients in a 24-7-365 environment – something that customers will increasingly demand and something that independent agents and their carriers will need to deliver. The initial study is only the beginning. As more data are collected, this study will be updated. You can help by using the AUGIE Workflow Timer and Real-Time Calculator Worksheet. E-mail your experiences to cdurland@acord.org. AUGIE – a collaborative initiative of agency management system users and their business partners – welcomes further industry participation. Groups can start by broadly disseminating information in this report and encouraging agents and their staff to take part in ongoing tracking and other initiatives. For more information, contact Cal Durland at cdurland@acord.org.

www.acordadvantage.org/augie

AUGIE Real-Time Summary 2006 © 2006 ACORD Corporation – All Rights Reserved AUGIE – ACORD User Group Information Exchange Updated 10/3/06

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AUGIE Real-Time Study Group Agents volunteering on the AUGIE Real-Time Study Group include: • • • • • • • • •

Donna Abramson, Western Financial Group Chris Ball, InSource Kay Barrett, IMA Financial Group Ron Binning, Binning & Dickens Insurance Beverly Coats, Colton, Downey & Hubbard Insurance Agency Jerry Fox, James M. King & Associates Lisa Goth, Charles P. Leach Agency William Mitchell, Mitchell Insurance Kimberly Nevinger, P. W. Wood & Son

• • • •

Lisa Parry Becker, William B. Parry & Son Jon Samel, Samel Insurance Keith Savino, WRG Group Virginia Vaughn, North Florida Agents Network • Mike Worthington, Worthington Insurance

Other Real-Time Study Group members include: • Cal Durland, ACORD • Andrew Fogarty, ATF Services • Linda Rollings, AMS Users Group

The following carriers were identified by study participants as being in their agencies: • • • • • • • • • • •

Acuity AIG America First Arbella Atlantic Mutual Auto Owners Central Chubb Cincinnati Citizens CNA

• • • •

Companion PC Concord Group Continental Western EMC

• Employers Mutual Casualty • Encompass • FCCI Merchants Mutual • Fireman’s Fund • General Casualty • Harleysville • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Integrity/Grange Kemper Auto & Home MetLife Motorists National Grange/Main Street America Ohio Casualty Pekin Preferred Mutual Premier Progressive Quincy Mutual Safeco Safety Selective

• • • • • •

Society Insurance Travelers State Auto The Hartford Westfield Zurich

A special thanks to Westfield Insurance, which sponsored stopwatches AUGIE presented to all study participants.


AUGIE Real-Time Study