Inquiry - Billing, Claims & Policy
Independent agents understand that quick and efficient service is one of the key ways to retain customers. This can be difficult given the complexity of the products they provide, and the fact that they work with multiple carriers with different systems. So it's surprising that many agents are not utilizing all the capabilities of their agency management systems for routine tasks, such as checking the status of bill payments. Instead, they're logging onto individual carrier portals, adding time and complexity to their workflows.
According to the Insurance Digital Transformation Survey, duplicate data entry and user IDs and passwords are two of the biggest time wasters for agents.
Inquiry is a simple solution that enables agents to check the status of a bill, policy or claim without leaving their agency management systems. And, most importantly, most agency systems log an activity in the client's record which provides an audit trail of tasks for a particular customer/policy. Training is also simplified as agency staff learns only one system - the agency management system - versus learning how to operate in multiple carrier portals.
Using Inquiry Will Save You Time
Think about what your team would do if they had an extra hour to work every day. Would it translate to more new business, better customer service, or maybe more efficiencies and profits?
It starts with what you do when a client calls. Do you use the functionality of your agency system to respond to your client's questions? Or do you log into individual carrier portals to find the answers to policy, claims and billing inquiries?
You don't have to log into a carrier portal or place a call to the carrier. Your agency management system makes it easy: you can click a button to access the information directly from the carrier for current billing, policy or claims. Carriers can respond by either returning a document with the information, or launching you directly into their site for the current customer/policy. If a document is returned, it can then be directly attached to your client's account in your system. And as ACT/AUGIE Real-Time Download Survey determined, real time inquiry saves almost an hour each day per agency employee.
Inquiry is not a new technology - it has been in use in the industry for a number of years, and today most agency management systems are equipped with it. If you are unsure how to start using this tool, contact your vendor representative and they can walk you through the process.
Many carriers also already offer inquiry. Here is some information about inquiry and the carriers that have it from IDR sponsors.
If some of your carriers do not offer inquiry, be sure to contact them and ask for it. You will realize the true benefits and efficiencies when you can use inquiry across all your clients and carriers. These tools are easy for carriers to implement, and many are willing to take that step if they know their agents will use them.
How to Improve Workflow with Claims Download, Claims Inquiries, eDocs and Messages
Question: how do claims download, claims inquiries, and eDocs and messages work most efficiently together?
Consider the following workflow:
- A claim is reported directly to the carrier by the client.
- The agency receives a message instantly notifying it of the loss.
- Overnight, the claim is processed via download into the agency management system.
- A log is waiting for the agent in the morning, when he or she comes in to review what was attached (similar to policy download) and what went to suspense to be attached.
- The claim is now in the agency management system and is ready to be serviced.
- Claim inquiry can be used at this point to look at anything that has transpired during the current day. An example would be to check to see if an adjuster has been assigned to the claim.
- Any update to the claim will download each night (or at given intervals during the day, if the carrier and vendor provide this feature). Again, this download information will populate a log for review.
- The agency is also now in the position to run reports from the agency management system to track losses, and proactively provide their client with service as the claim is being resolved.