Agents Leverage “Power of Change®” in New ACORD Seminar

AUGIE Program Highlights Benefits of Agency Adoption of New Workflows, Technologies

PEARL RIVER, NY & LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – May 20, 2007 – A revamped program titled “Power of Change�: Performance-Oriented Workflows Ensure Results” is eliminating the anxiety many independent agencies face when trying to adopt new technology-based workflows, according to the ACORD-User Groups Information Exchange (AUGIE). Changing workflows and habits is difficult, especially if you’re comfortable in your ways, as many independent agencies and their employees are today.

Power of Change® is built around five points: focusing on the customer, finding the costs, getting the costs out, streamlining the workflow and ensuring results.

The seminar will be presented at the ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum in Orlando and at state-based events around the country. The program is an update to an ACORD seminar first unveiled in the mid-90s.

In the seminar, agency principals and staffers learn about the new workflows and technologies available today and how these can help their businesses more efficiently process business and become more profitable. They also see how to help their distribution partners implement change.

During the Power of Change® presentation attendees are asked to consider these questions:

  • Is your agency growing?
  • Are you meeting your new carriers’ goals?
  • Have you lost a customer to an agency down the road?

“If an agency is standing still, it is falling behind competitors,” says AUGIE facilitator Cal Durland, CPCU. Attendees learn that a powerful, yet easy-to-implement solution available to independent agencies is the adoption of real time and download. “In fact, agencies that are implementing these new interface applications, which are included in the most current versions of most agency automation systems, are gaining a distinct business-processing advantage over other independent agencies,” Durland noted.

For instance, the Power of Change® seminar uses real-life examples to compare the process to write new business. Using a manual process through a carrier Web site-from entry of a password to data exchange to response-takes more than an hour:

  • New business-45 minutes
  • Endorsement processing-20 minutes
  • Inquiries-2 minutes

Conversely, using the real time capabilities of an agency management system, which has automated logins and pre-fills data, takes only 21 minutes:

  • New business-15 minutes
  • Endorsement processing-5 minutes
  • Inquiries-1 minute

During the seminar agency principals and staffers are urged to immediately change their workflows to incorporate real time and download to capture this “found” time and put it to use for better purposes, such as implementing programs for cross-selling/up-selling, client retention and new-business development.

Attendees also are urged to engage all their agency’s staffers to identify problems workflows and to brainstorm solutions. They are asked to apply some key principles:

  • Get your house in order
  • Generate solutions for agency-company problems
  • Think outside the box
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Walk in your customers’ shoes
  • Think measurement, think feedback

The re-launch of Power of Change® is focusing first on training the trainers themselves-agency consultants, agency principals, carrier staff and association staff. The updated program incorporates a video, workbook, implementation book, facilitator manual and PowerPoint presentation.

The AUGIE Power of Change® Work Group was headed by independent agent Brian Bartosh of Top O’Michigan Insurance Agency headquartered in Alpena, Mich.; and Jim Rogers, director of e-business and technology for The Hartford.

Carriers, associations, consultants, user groups and vendors can support the program by sponsoring sessions for their stakeholders and reinforcing the role positive change can have on agency perpetuation and prosperity. For more information about hosting a Power of Change® seminar, contact Durland at cdurland@acord.org.

About ACORD

Based in New York, ACORD (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development) is a global, nonprofit insurance association whose mission is to facilitate the development and use of standards for the insurance, reinsurance and related financial services industries. With offices in London as well, ACORD accomplishes its mission by remaining an objective, independent advocate for sharing information among diverse platforms. ACORD Standards and services improve efficiency and expand market reach. Affiliated with ACORD are hundreds of insurance and reinsurance companies, and thousands of agents and brokers, related financial services organizations, software providers, and industry organizations worldwide. www.acord.org.