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The Connected Business of Insurance

IVANS Connect 2018: Why IVANS Connect Is a Must-Attend Event

April 19, 2018

by IVANS Communications

This October, insurers, MGAs and solution providers from across the industry will gather at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville for IVANS Connect 2018, the insurance industry event dedicated to advancing information exchange – connecting insurers, agencies, MGAs and their insureds through digital technology.

This year’s conference explores the digital age of insurance, offering insightful educational sessions, powerful thought leadership and valuable networking opportunities for agencies, insurers, MGAs and solutions providers to discover the opportunities to embrace digital and drive new distribution and service models across the insurance industry.

To learn why IVANS Connect is a must-attend industry event, we spoke with previous attendees about their experience at the conference, and why they continue to attend year after year.

Bobbie Coe Altman, IT distribution leader at Westfield Insurance, discusses how insurers can benefit greatly from the education and networking opportunities available at IVANS Connect.

Q: Why do you attend IVANS Connect?

A: IVANS Connect is a chance for me to be in a room with all participants in the industry – carriers, agents, agency management system vendors and IVANS – to better understand how the insurance data and products flow through our industry’s pipelines. After the first year at IVANS, I was able to see firsthand how critical this is to the industry. I have continued to attend to network and identify how Westfield can improve the solutions we offer to agents.

Q: Has your business benefited from attending IVANS Connect?

A: Yes – Westfield’s integration offerings to the agents have improved as a result of our industry involvement in IVANS Connect. We are able to hear feedback directly from agents and understand the roadmap for integrations with IVANS and agency management system vendors that enable us to reach the agents most effectively. We can then use this information to enhance our current offerings or prioritize new offerings. Additionally, networking opportunities at the conference provide a forum where we are able to find assistance with implementation questions or challenges.

Q: What is one important think you’ve learned at IVANS Connect?
A: As a carrier representative, IVANS Connect is a forum where I can understand how carriers can work together to create a more efficient workflow for the agents. I’ve learned about how the insurance policy and documents we send through download are received by the agents. So, I’m able to see how our download may or may not help them service the insured in the most efficient and effective way. We’ve been able to make improvements to reduce the amount of work that the agent has to do once they receive it in their system.

Dennis Zimmerman, senior development specialist for North American Software Associates, discusses why he believes the conference is the perfect place to bring together voices and perspectives from across the industry.

Q: Why do you attend IVANS Connect?

A: The biggest reason I attend is the personal relationships that develop at the conference. We are all fellow travelers who face common hurdles and we can better navigate the ever-changing insurance landscape with observations from across the industry. My boss has provided me the opportunity to attend the conference over the past couple of years, but apparently, my post-conference reports are so good, he also plans to attend the next IVANS Connect himself.

Q: How has your business benefitted from attending the conference?

A: One of the best benefits of participating in IVANS Connect is learning about the industry challenges related to sharing information and the direction that the industry disrupters might move us toward. We can all build vital partnerships when we better understand each other and our industry as a whole.

Q: What is one important thing you’ve learned at IVANS Connect?

A: It is often true that a team’s reality is colored by the lens they are viewing the world through. I find it refreshing to expand my reality with the insights provided by the conference. So often the problems which seem so difficult are pared down to a manageable size after speaking with participants of IVANS Connect.

Scott Montney, vice president of information technology for Cochrane & Company, speaks about the valuable networking opportunities the conference provides, and why IVANS Connect is the best place to learn about agency connectivity and automated servicing.

Q: Why do you attend IVANS Connect?

A: I continue to attend the conference to learn about agency-insurer connectivity and related operations at the retail level, and to know more about the challenges the standard markets are facing as they work toward further adoption of new technologies.

Q: How has your business benefitted from attending the conference?

A: As an MGA at IVANS Connect, I gain significant insight into the pragmatic aspects of agency connectivity – where this technology is heading and how it is being used in the “real world.” The ability to network with peers involved in these projects on a technical level is something I have not found in any other event I attend as an MGA.

Q: What is one important thing you’ve learned at IVANS Connect?

A: By participating in IVANS Connect, I have gained a more complete understanding of the “retail side” of the industry. I have seen first-hand how agency-insurer connectivity fits into and enhances agent workflows, and have learned technical details and implementation recommendations for eDocs and Messages that will allow us to better serve clients. One of the most important things I have learned is that there is clearly a place at the agency connectivity table for MGAs, and IVANS Connect helps us gain an early seat.

IVANS Connect 2018 takes place October 14 – 15 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.

Register now >

IVANS Index: 2018 Q1 Results for Premium Renewal Rate Change

April 05, 2018

by IVANS Communications

IVANS Index is a data-driven report of current conditions and trends for premium renewal rate change of the most placed commercial lines of business in the insurance industry. Data collected in the IVANS Index enables insurers to determine competitive rates and the most profitable lines of business for investment. To learn more about IVANS Index, read IVANS Index: Industry Insights to Help You Run Your Business Better.

Q1 2018 Results Show Positive Uptick in Premium Renewal Rate Change Average Across Nearly All Lines of Business
The latest IVANS Index results for Q1 show that insurance industry premium renewal rates are up quarter-over-quarter across nearly all major commercial product lines, except Workers’ Compensation. Commercial Auto, Business Owner’s Policy, Commercial Property, Umbrella, and General Liability show positive results compared to Q4 2017; however, Workers’ Compensation demonstrated slightly negative premium renewal rate change during the quarter.

Key findings from the 2018 Q1 results include:

  • Commercial Auto: Premium renewal rate change averaged 4.20% for Q1, ending at 3.87% in March.
  • BOP: Quarter premium renewal rate change averaged 4.00%, representing an increase over last quarter’s average of 3.85%. BOP renewal rate change finished the quarter at 4.29%.
  • General Liability: Q1 premium renewal rate change experienced an uptick at 2.01% compared to Q4 which averaged 1.86%. General Liability renewal rate reached 2.24% at the end of March.
  • Commercial Property: Q1 premium renewal rate change increased quarter-over-quarter, with an average rate change of 3.11% as compared to 2.91% in Q4 of last year.
  • Umbrella: Quarter premium renewal rate change spiked in March, finishing the quarter at 2.13% and increasing the Q1 average to 1.49% from 1.34% in Q4.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Premium renewal rate change dipped again in Q1, averaging at -2.47% as compared to -2.32% in Q4.

Commercial Auto
Premium renewal rate change for Commercial Auto insurance averaged 4.20% in Q1. Insurance buyers in Florida continue to experience a premium renewal rate change higher than the average, with Q1 rate change for Florida buyers averaging 8.58% premium renewal rate change versus overall Commercial Auto at 4.20%.

March marked the quarter high for Business Owner’s Policy at 4.29% premium renewal rate change, with the low in February at 3.80%. BOP for real estate firms is increasing faster than other industries, with Q1 2018 rate change at 5.66% versus the national average at 4.00%.

Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation rate change averaged -2.47% in Q1 versus -2.32% in Q4 2017. February marks the lowest premium renewal rate change of the quarter at -3.61%, with March being the second lowest at -2.79%. Social services experienced more variable average premium renewal rate change for Workers’ Compensation than the industry average. In Q4 2017, social services averaged a 0.74% premium renewal rate change versus the national average of -2.32%.

Quarter-over-quarter, premium renewal rate change continues to show significant positive momentum across the majority of commercial lines. Analyzing more than 120 million data transactions, The IVANS Index continues to serve as a product and pricing tool for our insurer customers and provides the industry’s only data-driven insights for our agencies as they provide renewal guidance to their customers.

For further insights into premium renewal rate change across the industry, download the full IVANS Index Q1 2018 report now >

5 Reasons Why You Should Attend IVANS Connect 2018

March 22, 2018

by IVANS Communications

Every year, insurance professionals from across the industry gather at IVANS Connect to learn about the latest innovations and opportunities in digital distribution and servicing. IVANS Connect provides insightful keynotes and valuable education sessions specifically designed to help your business embrace digital transformation. Attend the industry’s only conference dedicated to advancing information exchange — connecting insurers, agencies, MGAs and their insureds through digital technology.

Here are the top 5 reasons to attend IVANS Connect 2018

  1. Increase your industry and technical knowledge
    Dive into peer-driven best practices and learn from the experts with valuable education sessions within both business and technical tracks.
  1. Discover the latest innovations and products
    Uncover the latest advances in IVANS technology and gain invaluable insights on solutions revolutionizing digital distribution and servicing.
  1. Build your agency relationships
    Find the right agents with the right products and services through the industry’s largest digital network of more than 30,000 agencies. IVANS Connect is the industry’s leading forum facilitating connectivity among insurers, agencies and MGAs.
  1. Network at the Welcome Reception
    Jumpstart your conference experience and enjoy an evening of lively discussion at the Welcome Reception.
  1. Be inspired by engaging keynotes
    Get inspired by extraordinary keynotes from IVANS and Applied executives, and engaging guest speakers. Past speakers include Mark Breading, partner at leading industry analyst firm Strategy Meets Action, discussing the convergence of innovation and tradition, and giving his predictions for the insurance industry of the future.

Join industry peers, leaders, and innovators at IVANS Connect 2018 to discover the opportunities to embrace digital to drive new distribution and service models across the insurance industry.

Register Now for Exclusive Early-Bird Discounts >

Connectivity: The Secret to Competing in the Age of the Customer

March 08, 2018

by IVANS Communications

Today, insurance agencies face many challenges that they didn’t contemplate years ago. Consumer buying behaviors and patterns are different. Now, you find shoppers engaging with you after doing extensive research, not up front. Service expectations are different too. “I’ll get back to you with an answer” doesn’t cut it with consumers who want and expect an immediate response. And whatever response or communication does take place must be on the customer’s terms, not the agent’s.

To meet changing consumer demands and gain a competitive advantage, agencies must leverage the power of connected technology. Technology provides your business with data-driven insights about your customers and automates business operations between your agency management system and your insurer partners. Connectivity technology creates more streamlined processes while driving more insurer connections to drive higher agent productivity and better service for customers.

Dive deeper into your data
Understanding data and having meaningful information available for all agency functions is important. That’s why you should focus on making sure employees enter thorough and accurate data. Workflow consistency can yield real productivity gains. So can implementing procedures and processes to capture comprehensive customer risk and demographic information your agency can use to better market and engage customers.

Data analytics helps you better understand client, prospect and employee trends and activities. With business intelligence gained from your system data, you can easily zero in on new business opportunities, identify responsive and profitable insurer performance, and productively align resources, activities and employees.

Access data anytime, anywhere
Data within the system is only actionable when it’s accessible. That’s why it’s essential to have a mobile solution that integrates seamlessly with your management system. Mobile technology provides your staff with access to client information while out of the office, enabling them to be more productive and to capitalize on new business opportunities. Mobile also enhances your customers’ service experience by providing online 24/7 access to policy information.

Develop relationships with the best insurers
Insurer connectivity technology provides your agency with a single workflow for information exchange, reducing manual processes and allowing you to deliver faster, more complete service to your customers. These automated workflows eliminate time spent on daily manual administrative tasks, including searching for quotes, policy information and appetite on multiple websites, or using outdated paper guides.

Connecting with insurers enables your agency to access new markets and quickly search insurer market appetite to submit new and renewal business, enabling staff to provide product range and insurer choice. Insurer connectivity also provides data-driven industry insights on expected renewal rate changes to ensure your agency provides guidance to clients around renewals and that you are focused on the most profitable lines of business for future growth.

Technology also automates the exchange of policy-related information from insurer systems into your management system to ensure the most accurate information is available for servicing. Automating data exchange allows you to seamlessly view, manage and increase insurer connections to meet the ever-changing needs of your business. Additionally, by eliminating manual management of administrative tasks, staff can save up to an hour a day per employee.

Ultimately, automating connectivity is critical to the core value proposition of the independent agent – providing the best products and advice to your clients. Therefore maximizing your insurer connection opportunities is key. By using applications to increase insurer connectivity like IVANS Exchange – a free online tool for viewing and managing insurer and MGA download connections on demand – you can easily identify which download connections are available, inactive or not turned on. 

Connect today for a more competitive tomorrow
As the business of insurance becomes truly connected, agencies have the opportunity to improve operational efficiency, capture new clients across all lines of business and increase loyalty and retention. The best performing businesses will set forth on a digital transformation to meet the ever-changing expectations of the connected insured and capitalize on the new market opportunities of the connected insurer. Agencies embracing digital transformation will realize the benefits of the connected business of insurance to grow and thrive. 

Discover how IVANS enables you to find the best products and service for your customers >

One Click Away from the Best Markets: New Market Discovery Tools

February 22, 2018

by IVANS Communications

Have you ever spent several hours reviewing appetite guides or visiting insurer portals to see if they have appetite for the business you are looking to write? This manual process of searching for insurer appetite is inefficient, expensive and time-consuming. It also leads agents to only go to a small group of ‘favorites’ and inadvertently miss the market for that risk, hindering them from securing new business. In fact, according to a recent IVANS survey, 72% of agents surveyed admitted that they have missed opportunities to place business due to lack of market access.

With competition stronger than ever, agencies need to leverage digital tools to improve the process of finding the right products at the right time. IVANS Markets, a free online market search tool, enables your agency to immediately identify insurer and MGA appetite for the specific risk you are searching for. By providing a simple, automated solution to connect you with insurers and MGAs, IVANS Markets expands your market opportunities and drives greater efficiency.

What’s new in IVANS Markets?

To give agencies more control and ensure their staff is working with the right partners, IVANS is releasing new capabilities that enable agencies to customize how their Appointed Markets appear in the results section of each IVANS Markets search. As your agency’s insurer relationships evolve, Appointed Markets allows you to manage your market appointments and relationships to ensure you and other users in your agency focus on the right relationships.

The latest capabilities enable you to:

  • Designate your top appointed insurer partners as Preferred
  • Set a custom order to rank your Appointed/Preferred insurers list
  • Add personalized notes about insurers

All of these customizations are then viewable by your staff when they perform a Market Appetite search to help them make informed decisions when placing business and help your agency strengthen established insurer relationships.  

How to get started

Log in to IVANS Markets through or by selecting the IVANS Markets option that is integrated into nine agency management systems. Under the Appointed Markets tab, you can determine whether appointed insurers display for all agency users and whether users can customize their own appointed markets lists. Selecting to Manage appointments for all agency users creates an additional view in the Market Appetite search results that only displays your preferred/appointed insurers, ordered according to your defined ranking. The Allow users to customize their list option permits your IVANS Markets users to customize their appointment lists. Users’ individual selections are appended to the agency-defined list of preferred and appointed insurers in the search results.  

To request that IVANS set you up as an administrator so that you can manage appointments at the agency level as well as the user level, click the Request administrator access link.  

For more information on the latest enhancements to IVANS Markets, watch the Gain Access to New Markets with IVANS on-demand webinar now.

3 Ways to Increase Insurer Connectivity

February 08, 2018

by Cal Durland

In the face of changing marketplace dynamics, insurance agencies must evolve and begin the journey to becoming digital businesses. An important component of digital transformation is insurer connectivity, which is the ability to seamlessly exchange data from your management system directly to your insurer’s system, reducing manual processes and enabling you to deliver faster, more complete service to your clients.

Insurer connectivity allows you and your insurer partners to exchange current, accurate data for quoting, appetite search, underwriting, billing and customer service via download, inquiry and market search tools. As technology continues to transform the insurance landscape, agencies that embrace the possibilities of becoming a digital agency through connectivity will be best positioned to grow and thrive in this new era.

The Latest Trends in Automation

IVANS recently conducted its annual survey to understand the state of agency-insurer connectivity and digital collaboration. Year over year, demand to increase connectivity and automation across the insurance lifecycle – from finding markets to quoting policies to servicing and renewals – continues to grow from both insurers and agencies. Yet, there remains a gap from expressed interest in digital collaboration to implementation of the tools required to facilitate greater digital distribution and servicing.

Here are a few of the survey’s key findings and 3 core technologies to increase insurer connectivity:

  1. Find the right markets for your risk
    Historically, agents have relied on relationships with insurers, paper guides and insurer websites to identify insurer appetite for commercial risk. These manual processes prevent you from having the most up-to-date data and only provide a partial view of potential markets for risk which can lead to a lost business. According to our survey, 72% of agencies have lost business because they cannot find or access a market that will quote their risk.

    Agencies need digital tools to improve the process of finding the right insurer appetite at the right time. IVANS Markets, a free online search tool, immediately presents agents with a list of insurers, MGAs and wholesalers with an appetite for the specific risk they are searching for. This simple, automated solution provides agents with greater access to markets, making it extraordinarily easy and much quicker to find the best markets for clients to drive more new and renewal business. Market search tools improve your agency’s productivity by reducing time spent on traditional ways of identifying market appetite, such as referencing outdated insurer risk guides, accessing insurer websites, historical agent experience, or directly contacting individual underwriters.

  2. Quote products via single entry point
    Agencies continue to demonstrate to insurers the importance of integrated connectivity as part of their daily management system workflows. Our study shows that when offered the option of integrated quoting, 41% of agencies would prefer to quote directly from the agency management system, a stark increase from portals (27%) and comparative raters (28%).

    IVANS supports continued development of integrated quoting – working with insurers, comparative raters, and agency management system vendors to enhance agents’ quoting experience. The ability to receive quotes directly through your management system reduces duplicate keystrokes and allows you to respond to clients quickly and easily without having to log into an insurer web portal. This not only saves time and effort by eliminating manual entry, but also minimizes errors, provides an E&O trail within the agency management system, and enables you to deliver rapid, more efficient service to meet the expectations of today’s consumers.

  3. Reduce paperwork and access the latest policy information
    According to our survey, 60 minutes is the amount of time savings per employee per day agencies experience when using download services. While agencies and insurers alike begin to realize the time and cost benefits of leveraging download, the runway for adoption by both stakeholders remains long. With more than 1,800,000 download connections available, and only 48% activated, there is immense opportunity for your agency to take advantage of the time-saving and customer service benefits of receiving all available download services from your insurers.

    IVANS Download automates the exchange of critical policy-related information to ensure the most up-to-date information is instantly available at the moment you need it. A key download service IVANS offers is eDocs and Messages which is an automatic push notification that offers a secure and managed alternative to email, mail and faxes. Implementation of download services, like eDocs and Messages, enables agencies to increase overall operational efficiency with significant time savings, reduction of production costs, enhanced customer service and improved ease of doing business.

Connect Today for a More Competitive Tomorrow

The state of connectivity and the opportunity to align digital initiatives for the benefit of all stakeholders – agencies, insurers and insureds – continues to strengthen. As competition evolves and market dynamics increase the pace of business, it is critical for your agency to consider your insurer connectivity options in order to enhance the core value proposition of the independent agent – by providing greater access to product range, insurer choice, and localized personal advice.

To review your options for connecting to your insurer partners, log into IVANS Exchange.

Headshot of woman smiling. Cal Durland, CPCU, Interface Optimization Director at IVANS Insurance Solutions
Cal Durland has spent her career ensuring the insurance industry provides a good experience for all, including insureds, agents and brokers, insurers, suretys, financial institutes, solution providers and other supporting organizations. With a base in P&C, Cal’s experience includes roles as an underwriter, broker and industry advocate.

What Would You Do with an Extra Hour Each Day? – Why You Should Maximize Your Download Connections

January 25, 2018

by Cal Durland

Women standing in front of window working on a tablet.Is your agency using download services to the fullest extent?
If not, you’re leaving valuable time and money on the table. By using all of the download connections available to you – including eDocs and Messages, Claims and Commercial Lines – your agency can realize significant time and cost savings. In fact, agencies currently utilizing download services report saving more than one hour per day per employee.

Download automates the exchange of policy, claims and billing information between you and your MGAs and insurers to ensure the most up-to-date information is instantly available at the moment you need it while eliminating the need for paper-based transactions. With help from insurers, more and more agencies like yours are automating servicing with download services. In fact, from 2015 to 2017, the number of eDocs and Messages download transactions processed through IVANS experienced an increase of 2361%. This dramatic increase shows that more of your peers are taking advantage of the opportunity to go paperless and gain extra time back in their day.

Are you taking advantage of all of your download connections?
Today, there are more than one million available connections, but 52% of those available have not been activated by agencies. Many agencies simply are not aware of all the download services their insurers offer or believe they already download every line of business. There is immense opportunity for your agency to take advantage of the time-saving and customer service benefits of receiving all available download services from your insurers.

With greater visibility into insurer download connections, your agency can:

  • Operate within one standard workflow for all lines of business
  • Eliminate re-keying of data to reduce processing time and mitigate errors and omissions
  • Focus on the business of selling insurance, rather than policy administration
  • Create upsell opportunities through better management of customer data

How you can get started
IVANS offers a free online tool to independent agents, IVANS Exchange, which allows you to review insurer download connections available to your agency and communicate interest in receiving download by line of business. The benefit of IVANS Exchange is that as your business needs change, you can expand and customize your insurer download connections to match your operational needs.

To get started with IVANS Exchange, follow these easy steps:

  1. Register your agency or log in
    You must first log into your IVANS account before you can access any reports or dashboards in IVANS Exchange. To log in or register for a new account, visit
  2. Access your Connections Report
    Once you have logged in or created an account, you can view your IVANS Connections Report. This report offers the opportunity to generate additional time savings for your staff and turn on download for every line of business for each insurer you represent. It shows all inactive download connections that are available for you to turn on to start driving efficiency. View more than 20 potential lines of business with the report, including eDocs and Messages, Claims, and Direct Bill Commission Statement download.
  3. Customize your Connections Report
    Because this report is truly dynamic, you can customize each field to get a true representation of your agency’s download activity. Your report will display an “A” for available connections and “DL” for lines of business currently downloaded. You can also communicate directly with your insurers about desired download connections (marked by a “W”) or indicate if you are having download quality issues.

Why should your agency connect?
Connectivity between agencies and insurers is not only valuable to the growth of your agency, it is critical to compete in the digital age of insurance. Connectivity technology, like IVANS Exchange, streamlines processes to reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks, enabling you to drive more insurer connections and higher agent productivity. Ultimately, the ability to communicate and exchange information securely from insurer systems directly to your agency management system enhances your core value proposition as an independent agent – to provide the best products and advice to your clients.

For help in receiving your available downloads, contact the IVANS Connections team and they will help you configure your system.

Headshot of woman smiling. Cal Durland, CPCU, Interface Optimization Director at IVANS Insurance Solutions
Cal Durland has spent her career ensuring the insurance industry provides a good experience for all, including insureds, agents and brokers, insurers, suretys, financial institutes, solution providers and other supporting organizations. With a base in P&C, Cal’s experience includes roles as an underwriter, broker and industry advocate.

IVANS Index: 2017 Year-End Results for Premium Renewal Rate Change Across the Industry

January 15, 2018

by Matt Foran

IVANS Index is a data-driven report of current conditions and trends for premium renewal rate change of the most placed commercial lines of business in the insurance industry. Data collected in the IVANS Index enables insurers to determine competitive rates and the most profitable lines of business for investment. To learn more about IVANS Index, read IVANS Index: Industry Insights to Help You Run Your Business Better.

Year-End Results Show Positive Change Across Nearly All Major Commercial Product Lines
2017 was one of the highest loss periods in commercial insurance, with catastrophic natural disasters driving significant claims and premium rate changes for most carriers in the U.S. Fourth quarter results showed a slight uptick in premium renewal rate change average across Commercial Auto, Business Owner’s Policy, General Liability, and Commercial Property compared to Q3; however, Umbrella and Workers’ Compensation average premium renewal rate change dropped. Worker’s Comp remained in negative territory, making May the only month in 2017 that experienced positive change.

Q4 2017 key findings in premium renewal rate change include:

  • Commercial Auto: 3.11% for the quarter, with a quarter high in November at 3.24% and ending the quarter at its low of 3.00% in December.
  • BOP: 3.85%, increasing over last quarter’s average of 4.79%. BOP premium renewal rate change finished the quarter at 3.79% in December.
  • General Liability: 1.86% quarterly change versus a Q3 average of 1.74%. The low reached 1.66% in November and ended the quarter in December at 2.13%.
  • Commercial Property: 2.91% in Q4 as compared to 2.48% in Q3. The year low and high came back-to-back, with May at 1.46% and June at 2.22%.
  • Umbrella: 1.34% vs. 0.47% in Q3. The year low and high premium renewal rate change occurred in May and August at 0.81% and 1.56% respectively.
  • Workers’ Compensation: -2.32%, down from Q3 average of -1.18%, marking the lowest average of the year.

Umbrella averaged 1.34% in Q4 versus 1.47% in Q3, with a six month average of 1.41%. Premium renewal rate change reached a quarterly high at 1.49% in December and low at 1.19% the month prior.

Workers’ Comp averaged -2.32% in Q4 versus -1.18% in Q3. December marks the lowest premium renewal rate change of the year at -2.92%, with October being the second lowest at -2.24%.

Across all lines of business, December was consistently one of the greatest premium renewal rate change months for the year. Over the past year, the IVANS Index has provided a new view into key movements of the industry on a monthly basis, firmly establishing a new authority for agents and insurers to manage their renewals and pricing models.

Download the complete 2017 year-end IVANS Index report >

Matt Foran, VP and general manager of IVANS Market Appetite, a division of Applied Systems, is responsible for the creation and strategic execution of the cutting edge distribution platform built for the commercial insurance industry. Prior to his current role, Matt was the CEO of EvoSure, which was acquired by Applied Systems in September 2015. Before co-founding EvoSure, Matt was the director of strategy for Zurich Specialty Products, a $2.5 billion business unit of Zurich Insurance Group, where he worked closely with the CEO and Senior Management to set overall strategic direction, develop and execute financial and operational plans, and lead execution of strategic initiatives. Previously, Matt served as assistant vice president of Marsh USA, with responsibilities including the initial formation of the Marsh & McLennan Agency, the Marsh Select Model, the restructuring of Marsh USA, and was a broker for healthcare and Fortune 500 firms. Matt was selected as a Global Rising Star by Reactions Magazine in 2011 and named in Insurance Business America magazine’s Hot 100 list for 2015.

Digital Collaboration: Agents Speak and Why Insurers Should Listen

January 11, 2018

by Thad Bauer

Digital technology is changing the way we live and work, creating a more connected life in a more connected world. To learn more about how this technology has influenced the insurance industry, IVANS recently conducted its annual survey to better understand agency-insurer connectivity and digital collaboration across the industry. Gathering responses from both agents and insurers about the demand for and adoption of key digital technologies, the survey results provide a roadmap for success in the digital age of insurance.

More than 1,500 independent agencies and insurers across the U.S. participated in the 3nd Annual IVANS Agency-Insurer Connectivity Survey. Results indicate that the time is right for insurers and agencies to digitally collaborate on business opportunities to drive mutual growth and profitability. Agents and insurers alike want increased connectivity and more digital collaboration so they can provide the right products for their customers and deliver quick service.

While both agencies and insurers recognize the importance of leveraging digital technology to better connect with agency partners, there is still a gap from this expressed interest in digital collaboration to the implementation of the tools required to facilitate greater digital distribution and servicing. Read through to discover the key takeaways form the survey, and learn how you can better prepare your business for success in the digital world.

Key Trends in Digital Marketing and Distribution

Agencies continue to demonstrate to insurers the importance of integrated connectivity as part of their daily management system workflows, requesting quicker access to markets and product information. Insurers need to market directly to agencies via tools that integrate into their daily workflows, making it easier to keep your products top of mind 24/7 and find the right agents at the right time.

Despite agency demand for integrated quoting, insurer investment remains focused on company portals. You can ensure constant product visibility while reducing overhead costs and time spent managing insurer portals by quoting directly to agencies within their agency management system.

Key Trends in Automated Servicing

Agencies are looking to do business with insurers that understand the importance of a more connected experience. Agents need access to the most up-to-date and accurate policy-related information to provide the multi-channel service their customers expect. Leverage digital technology to eliminate paper and automate policy-related information exchange directly into partner management systems, so you can create a servicing strategy that better aligns with your agency partners’ needs.

Agency demand for increased download options continues to rise, with 64% of agencies indicating interest in eDocs and Messages. This type of download offers mutual benefits to insurers and agencies as it provides valuable time savings by automating information exchange and providing a secure and managed alternative to email, mail and faxes.

However, the study also found that most insurers have a limited awareness of the high agent demand for new download services like eDocs and Messages and Claims, creating an opportunity for insurers that leverage this technology to increase their competitive advantage.

So what does all of this mean for insurers?
Knowing what your agents want is the first step to providing better service and ultimately growing your business. With digital technology, marketing to the right agencies doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Adopt online tools that give you exclusive insight into agencies’ book of business and download demands will enable you to more easily communicate with agencies about new business and service opportunities. Creating a digital distribution and servicing strategy will improve current and new agency relationships and ensure better service to the end insured.

To learn more about digital distribution and servicing and the current state of agency-insurer connectivity, download the full report now.

Thad Bauer, IVANS InsuranceThad Bauer, vice president and general manager of IVANS Insurance Solutions, has had 25 years of property and casualty experience and has played a key role in furthering the adoption of ACORD standards to exchange data within the industry to improve efficiencies.  He has helped carriers and MGAs realize benefits through innovative technology and workflow implementations of real-time, download, Web service connections to third parties and maximizing data within their enterprise. Prior to IVANS, Thad was president and co-founder of  NxTech, a leading provider of agency-MGA-insurer connectivity and data integration solutions. Prior to NxTech, he spent nine years with BWC Systems and IVANS, Inc. and has worked with more than 350 insurance insurers throughout North America.

Data and Download: How to Make Your Agency Stand Out in Today’s Digital World

December 14, 2017

by Jason Cass

“It’s not those who are the strongest but those who adapt who will be the ones who survive.”

To be able to adapt, you have to see things that are not there and things that others are not able to see. All those things are built on data.

Data is vital. It is not something that can be taken for granted any longer and it’s one of the ingredients to a great customer experience.

Data is everything; and for your agency to be anything, it has to make all decisions going forward using data. Your agency’s ROI on data is that your business will still be here in five years.

The agencies that will make it from here on out will have to do so by setting themselves apart.

In the past we used to set ourselves apart with great marketing, advertising and branding. It was the way that we stood out from everyone else. People noticed us and then came to see us for their business.

With more and more competitors and so much competition for consumers’ attention, it’s harder to make your business stand out. It’s to the point now where businesses are going to great lengths to stand out but consumers are expecting something different and something more.

So how can you stand out?

Quit trying to convince people you might be different and get your clients to tell everyone you are different. We chase prospects with our marketing dollars. But on prospects, there’s only a 30% close ratio. Why not build a system where your clients tell everyone how great your business is? Because with referrals, you’re more apt to have a close ratio of 70%. Sounds awesome right?

How do I do it?  Glad you asked.

You have to start by thinking beyond advertising, marketing and branding, and think of everything that comes after.

How good is your:

Sales process?
Quoting process?
Follow-up process?
Proposing process?
Onboarding process?
Cross-selling process?
Referral process?

All of these things are what makes you stand out in today’s world. Notice they have they all have the word “process” in them.

Process: A series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.

Each of these processes must be done precisely the same way every time. The best way to make this happen is through the use of automation. And the main ingredient to automation is data!

One huge way to utilize data.

Every prospect and client touchpoint needs to be documented for data purposes. Download of all policy data needs to be utilized in the agency management system (AMS). The AMS is the sole common denominator to making this work and the AMS is nothing without data.

You have to download everything you can from your insurers. At The Insurance Alliance, we have a 98.9% fully downloaded AMS. We utilize all insurer downloads on Personal Lines and Commercial Lines. Data that is in your AMS right now is for you and your staff to use but soon it will be used by the client. If you want your clients to come to you rather than their insurers’ websites, then you will need to provide a service option that allows clients to access their data from your AMS.

Then get a mobile app that integrates with your AMS and allows clients to see and access their data when and how they want. You can’t do this if the data is not in the system. And if the data is not in the system, you might be out of business soon.

And it’s not just me saying this, it’s what clients demand.

Are you fully taking advantage of your download opportunities? If not, review your Connections Report in IVANS Exchange.

Jason Cass is the owner of The Insurance Alliance and co-founder of Grow Program. He’s been in the insurance business since 2002 and began advocating for independent insurance agents with industry providers so they too can rise with the tide. He is the charismatic host of Agent’s Influence, a podcast that gives voice to the industry, and also the author of “Customer Service is Just Foreplay,” an Amazon best-seller. Outside of his passion for the independent insurance industry, he is a dedicated father and husband, and an active Centralia community member.

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