Insurance Agency Technology – The Basics I

This is the 1st post in a series that will be Titled “Insurance Agency Technology”. Last week I posted “Warning! I’ll Be Stepping on Some Toes, Even Mine”. In order to add new technologies it is necessary that what you already have is implemented and being used properly and to its fullest potential.

Is your equipment up-to-date? Are your programs up-to-date? Have changes to programs been reviewed, defined and implemented? Are there missing pieces?

Missing Puzzle pieces

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?


Pat Alexander Website Updates

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I have been working with the awesome Kim Woodbridge over the past few weeks to accomplish both some visual and structural updates to this website. My goals in the process were to:

  1. Move more important action items to the forefront of the site.
  2. Move from FeedBurner for subscribers to Aweber.
  3. To eliminate unneeded plugins.
  4. Implement better use of SEO on pages and blog posts.

Evernote for Project Management

My friend and technology guru, Steve Anderson, was an early adopter of Evernote. After a meeting in which he praised its uses I signed up. I tried it out from time-to-time. And, alas I abandoned it. Every time we would be at a meeting, I would say, “I just don’t get why I would use Evernote.” He would patiently explain why he found it such a big part of his daily routine and how it met so many of his needs. This has been going on for at least two years.

Now I wasn’t concerned about my information being in the cloud. I am a huge believer in the cloud. I work with agencies that use online agency management systems. I am a big user of Dropbox. Every document, picture and tune I have is in my Dropbox file. But a couple of weeks ago I found how Evernote could benefit me. What has changed?


Dictapad for iPad Review

Recently a friend asked if I was aware of an app for iPad for transcribing recorded interviews. He advised that the files could be MP3 or .wav files. For the younger crowd we used to have dictaphone machines. There was a foot pedal that let you stop the tap, back up and restart the tap. A check in Google shows that, in fact, dictaphone machines of a newer version are still available. However, that would not come anywhere close to meeting my friend’s needs. Everything for iPad my friend had tried didn’t have these capabilities. I began searching the iTunes apps. I read through several and settled on Dictapad as the best tool for the task at hand.


 Dictapad by Panchromatic, LLC

Microsoft Office on Your iPad

In my continuing effort to make my iPad as functional as possible for personal and business travel I continue to seek the best apps to achieve this goal. Over the past few weeks two Apps have become available for the iPad that let you display and edition Microsoft Office documents and do PowerPoint presentations. There is at least another app out there that does PowerPoint presentations, but to have an app that encompasses all of the products I need would be preferable. The two apps I have been testing are CloudOn and OnLive Desktop.

Combo clouds

Traveling With Your iPad as Your Computer

Last week I set off for an initial visit with a new client with the following technology:

This was the very 1st time I have gone to a client’s office without my laptop. I have been preparing for this for several months. I have traveled a couple of times on personal business and one conference with these tools in order to become comfortable with relying on these tools. It also has taken a good deal of research and testing to find the Apps that allow me to do this.


Testing Blogsy for iPad

 I continue to search for tools that will allow me to be productive on my iPad while traveling or out and about. One of the areas that I have really struggled with a great blogging app. While WordPress has an app, it just doesn’t give you the tools you really need for doing hyperlinks, adding media, etc.
One of my favorite apps is Zite. It searches the web for content based on the categories I have chosen. An article “How the iPad Became My Favorite Computer“. I already use the Zagg keyboard that is mentioned in this article. I will check out some of the other apps discussed, but I immediately downloaded the Blogsy app.

New Technology – Hesitation and Surprise

Some days new technology (at least to you) and change are imposed on you by no choice of your own. Several weeks ago my 19″ monitor that I use with my laptop just kicked-the-bucket in the middle of the day. I thought no big deal. HAH!

It seems that it is very difficult to find the “old” style square monitor. They are all wide screen now. In my mind I’m thinking:

  • How is Microsoft Word and Excel going to work here?
  • Won’t it distort the Word page and not look like I expect when working on a client’s template?
  • I don’t game, why would I possibly need a wide screen monitor?


YES – Your Agency Needs an APP

You might have been slow to get a client friendly, interactive website. You may not even be there yet. You might have been slow to get into social media. And, again you may not even be there yet. However, you DO NOT want to be slow to get an APP for your agency. Let’s discuss why this is so important to you, your brand and your agency.

Sample Contact Page