Technology has changed the way we do business at Schultheis Insurance Agency, especially when it comes to receiving client, policy, billing and claims information. In fact, we have made it a priority to stay ahead of the curve with technology to drive greater staff efficiency and gain a competitive advantage.
To keep up with consumer demand for instant service, our agency uses IVANS Download to automate the exchange of critical policy-related information so that we always have instant access to the most up-to-date information in our agency management system.
One of the most frequently used download services for our agency is Claims download, which provides secure and automated transmission of carrier claim notifications, adjustments, and settlement information. Updating claims screens within the agency management system lets staff members track activity for individual claims — things like claim numbers, adjuster assignments, adjuster notes, payments and claim closure.
Why download makes sense for your business
According to the latest IVANS survey, 43% of agents said they save at least 1 hour per day with Claims download. Our agency has experienced similar time savings and additional benefits since leveraging Claims download.
Claims download has enabled our agency to:
- Save time by eliminating paperwork
Claims download streamlines communication between our agency and carriers to eliminate time spent manually managing paperwork. Before claims download, we needed a team of five to stay on top of all the claims that we were processing because everything was manual. Now that we use Claims download, our processing team no longer spends time requesting information from individual carriers. The data is automatically downloaded into our agency management system and is easily accessible. Download has eliminated the time consuming, manual process of filing a claim and increased the overall efficiency and productivity of our agency. So much so, that we were able to cut our progressing team down to three people, allowing additional team members to focus more of their time on serving our customers and growing the business.
- Work within a single system and workflows
Not only do we have more time to conduct business and advise our clients, but with Claims download, we are working within a single system. Documents are saved directly to the policy or client file, allowing us to spend more time on revenue-generating activities rather than searching for information. The processes are much more streamlined because we don’t have to take data from one platform and input it into our agency management system. Everything is in one place, working cohesively.
- Serve clients faster
Before turning on Claims download, it would take days to go through the process of receiving all of the information from our carriers so that we could present it to our clients. Now, we receive a Claims download report every hour. We had a client get into a car accident on vacation, and they called to file a claim with the carrier directly. We noticed they filed a claim when we got our hourly report and were able to immediately call them to make sure that they were okay. Instant access to information allows us to advise customers at the exact time they need us, making our customers very happy and giving us a competitive edge.
- Increased agent productivity
Because our agents don’t have to be part of the “processing team” anymore, they are much more productive. The team is no longer spending time re-keying information from carriers or fixing issues that resulted from manual data entry. Immediate access to information allows us to quickly meet our customers’ needs. Our agents are now able to focus on providing better customer service and developing new business.
More and more agencies like ours are starting to realize the benefits Claims download offers. Another key finding from the IVANS survey was that 79% of agencies look to use Claims download in their organizations.
One thing that’s helping drive greater agency usage is IVANS Exchange, an online tool for viewing and managing carrier and MGA download connections on demand that allows you to easily identify which download connections are available, inactive or not turned on for your agency.
How agents can start using Claims download
For agents looking to get started with Claims download, I recommend you start by logging into IVANS Exchange to view your Connections Report, which lets you indicate interest in specific carrier downloads that match your business needs and that automatically notifies you when new download services are available. Start out with smaller carriers to see how download works in your agency management system. There is a little bit of a learning curve, but the process is easy. Once you get things rolling with that one carrier, start downloading with more. If one of your carriers doesn’t currently offer download, make sure you express your interest in the Connection Report.
Claims download—and other forms of download, for that matter—must continue to grow if agencies want to respond efficiently to customers’ needs. I know that change can be hard, but having near real-time information in your system is one of the best ways to ensure you are meeting your customers’ needs.
As competition increases and market dynamics speed up the pace of business, it is critical for your agency to consider your carrier connectivity options in order to enhance the core value proposition of the independent agent – providing the best products and advice to your customers. Our agency has embraced technology to drive connectivity and I encourage other agencies to do the same. Those that do will be better positioned to grow and thrive in the digital era.