eDocs and Messages
Insurance is a paper-intensive industry. Many documents have to be exchanged between carriers and independent agents including policies, billing notices and claim notifications. The downsides to all that paper are many:
a. It slows down the response to clients creating a risk of losing them;
b. Agencies must find places to store all the paper or destroy it securely after it's been entered into systems; and
c. Agency staff must spend time scanning, re-entering data into their systems
eDocs and Messages allows carriers and agents to reduce errors and improve workflows. It is a form of download that enables carriers to send documents directly from their systems to the agency management systems. Documents that can be sent include: declaration pages for policy action such as a quote, new policy, renewal, endorsement, cancellation or reinstatement; billing notices and commission statements; claims information; carrier bulletins, such as changes to product availability; and spending cancellations or non-renewal notifications. eDocs and Messages are also more secure than email, fax or postal mail.
Why use eDocs and Messages?
One way to assess how eDocs and Messages will benefit your agency is to ask yourself these simple questions:
- How much time do you spend going to individual carrier websites pulling the information that you need?
- After you have pulled the necessary documents, how much time do you spend scanning and indexing the documents and then shredding the paper?
- Do your customers sometimes know about changes or issues with their policies before you because you haven't received the information from the carrier yet?
eDocs and Messages can help eliminate issues like these. Since carriers can send documents directly to the agency management systems, the information is automatically downloaded in real-time and attached to the appropriate policy or client file. If your agency offers customers client portals or mobile apps, these documents can then immediately become available to your clients through these platforms.
There are benefits beyond making your agency more efficient. It creates an auditable document trail so you will be able to easily identify when documents were received and quickly locate necessary information. It also helps reduce errors. Since information automatically downloads to the agency management system, the risk of rekeying data into the system is eliminated.
Finally, eDocs and Messages can help grow your business. By saving your staff time by eliminating the need to visit carrier websites and upload documents, agents can be in touch with customers leading to new business sales and improved retention.
Improve customer service
eDocs and Messages not only improve agency workflow but it also enables agents to provide the service customers want. Clients want their insurance agents to know about recent changes to their policies the moment they happen, so if they have a question they can call the agent and get help. Moreover, in the digital world, customers are accustomed to speed. eDocs and Messages gives agents access to information in real-time helping to quicken the quoting and policy inquiry process.
Finally, with eDocs and Messages you can assure your clients that you are not wasting their money. Agents and carriers spend thousands of dollars every year on printing, mailing, and processing documents. eDocs and Messages eliminates this large overhead which can then be given back to the customer through lower premiums.
How does it work?
Both your agency management system and your carrier partners must participate for you to have eDocs and Messages capability. Currently, seven different agency management systems offer the tool. If both you and your carrier support eDocs and Messages, a typical workflow follows this simple path:
- Documents are downloaded from the carrier and processed into the agency management system.
- Based on the policy number, eDocs and Messages will attach the documents to the appropriate client and then policy.
- The agency management system creates an activity for the agent alerting them to the new document.
Convincing your carrier partners
Unfortunately agents cannot use this tool if their carriers do not offer it. Talk to your carriers. eDocs and Messages offers them many benefits. Two main points to promote are:
- eDocs and Messages save money: Carriers spend thousands and thousands of dollars each year printing, packaging and mailing documents to their independent agent partners. eDocs and Messages eliminates the need for paper not only saving them money on paper and postage but also envelopes, printer maintenance, and the labor required to mail all of the information.
- More time to sell the carrier's products: With eDocs and Messages, agents no longer have to waste time pulling documents from carrier websites and indexing them in the system. This gives them more time to pursue prospects and service current clients leading to more sales of the carrier's insurance products.
How to get started
First, see if your agency management system provider offers eDocs and Messages. Here is a list of current system providers that have this tool. Next, see if your carrier also offers this tool. Here is a list of current carriers that have eDocs and Messages. If your agency system provides eDocs and Messages, and your carriers do too, sign into IVANS Exchange and indicate that you "want" the eDocs and Messages download on your agency's Connection Report.
If your carrier currently does not offer the tool ask them to implement it.
- Let your marketing or field rep know it is something that you use with other carriers. Explain how much time it saves your staff and how much of your staffs' time their company's paper shipments or online posts wastes.
- Also log into IVANS Exchange, and indicate that you "want" the download. An entry in the blank box will appear as "WF" indicating to the carrier that you want eDocs and Messages in the future. The more agents who indicate this, the more influence our collective efforts will make on convincing the carrier to provide eDocs and Messages.
For additional information:
How Agents Are Using eDocs and Messaging: Hear how agents automatically receive policy, billing and claims information from their carriers.
Schultheis Insurance Improves Customer Service with IVANS: Schultheis Insurance automates eDocs and Messages download to improve agency workflows and focus more time on serving clients and building their book of business.
Getting Started with eDocs & Messages: Everything you need to know to start using these digital tools.
NetVU University - eDocs and Messages: Access videos that demonstrate how to setup and use eDocs and Messages on Vertafore platforms (Note: Will need NetVU login credentials to access)
Technology: Save a Tree, Boost Efficiency: How eDocs can benefit both agencies and carriers
eDocs and Messages Download: Why and How They Can Make a Big Difference: Benefits of effective document management for improving agency workflow
Why Your Business Should Be Leveraging Automated Servicing Technology: How automating communications via eDocs and messages download can improve your business
Become an Industry Influencer, Encourage Your Insurance Carriers: How to help spread the digital transformation by convincing insurance carriers to adopt eDocs.
NetVU Industry Playbook - eDocs and eMessages: The impact of carriers effectively building, and agencies adopting, eDocs and eMessages will enhance, and ultimately enable, improved real-time agency-carrier interface options and offer an alternative to carrier email and website communications.
Customizing Your Agency's Connection Report: To learn more about how to customize your Connections Report, please watch this five and a half minute video on the Connection Report with IVANS Exchange.
IVANS Download Calculator: To find out just how much your agency can save, use one or all of the calculators to compute total weekly savings in both hours and dollars.