Warning! I’ll Be Stepping on Some Toes, Even Mine.

This past week I attended the Spring ACT meeting. Following that I have been following the tweets from the AAMGA Automation & Technology Conference. It seems the discussions at each are similar. The ACT meeting’s primary focus is on the retail insurance agents. AAMGA is focused on the wholesale broker market.

My comments in this and following articles are not meant to be critical of either of these organizations. They are directed to those in the industry that are not adopting these technologies. Most of these issues have been discussed many times before, we have great workgroups and create wonderful reports and actions.

However, the agency force as a whole doesn’t seem to be moving forward as if these issues are important. Why?


1. Download has been around a very long time. While personal lines works well, users don’t consider it perfect and many refuse to discuss commercial lines download.

2. Imaging – I first heard about scanning of agency documentation in 1995. Yes, that agency may have been ahead of their time and most solutions, and there were only a few, were very expensive. However, that was 48 years ago. Shouldn’t everyone be imagining by now?

3. RealTime is more than download. Some agency management system vendors don’t really understand the distinction and some insurance carriers are reluctant to jump in all-the-way.

4. Electronic Signature – The Electronic Signatures Act was passed on June 30, 2000. There were a few early adopters and yes the tools were clunky. There are numerous, affordable tools today. Many of your clients are tech savvy. Yet again, adoption is slow.

5. Secure Delivery – The discussion of this technology and the need for it is rather recent to the game. Even though its ACT was passed in 1996, before electronic signatures, the need for email and other secure delivery methods were not at the forefront of most technology discussions until the last few years.

The discussions at each of these meetings are always great. The issue is how do we move them into the mainstream of the agency world and get wider acceptance?

Looking back on discussions with some of my clients, I feel that I may not have pushed hard enough for adoptions and implementation of these technologies. Over the next few weeks I will be discussing each of these issues, plus a few others. In order to keep up with the technological world we need to be moving faster and researching the future.

Let me know what you want to discuss. I would love to be talking with you about the issues that interest you.

  • Well said Pat! We need to continue to push and be pro-active.

    • Mary, thanks for your comments and sharing this morning. After last week’s meetings I just feel like I don’t always push and agency hard enough.

  • Stuart Durland

    It is frustrating Pat, especially for those of us that have been trying to make it happen for years. Why does it take our industry so long to accept great technology that can save so much time and money for the industry?? I’d like to think that tasks are moving forward more quickly now, but we still need to kick it up a few notches!

    • Stu, thanks so much for your comments. I feel like the agencies that aren’t at the doing level right now in good technology in their offices won’t be able to survive. To hear the statement last week that agencies only use about 45% of their agency management systems just blew me away. And yet, I should know that and not find it shocking. I guess I thought that most were doing better and I am only working with the minority. Guess not. Any input you would like to share for agencies, I would welcome.

  • Gary Paulson

    Technology scares people.
    Scanning was a no-brainer to adopt. Even though it never delivered on the ‘paperless’ promise, it was much more efficient way to manage client files.

    Now, with e-signatures we may finally achieve a paperless office!

    • Gary, great points on scanning. I still hear from many people how they can’t handle their “special” accounts without a paper file. Then there are others that fully embrace their scanned documents.

      The key to everything is the lead of the owner of the agency. As seen at the ACT meeting, it was agency owners giving us information and a demonstration on e-signatures.

      As with anything in any business, the owner/management must embrace, lead and implement to move forward no matter what the change.

      Thanks for lending your voice to this discussion.

  • nibbyp

    I hear your pain Pat, we feel it too. What seems simple for some of us agents seems complex to others. Now on the imaging in 1965– I thought our agency (GoVaughn.com) was cutting edge when we started in 1997!

    • Nibby, I have corrected the 1965 to 1995. Thanks for catching that. And yes I would say you were on the cutting edge in 1997. There were so very few scanning at that point. Of course, those of you that remain on the cutting edge and use the best tools available have advantages that other don’t have.

      As always thanks for your comments.