ACT Outlines Ways to Improve Commercial Lines DownloadDuring the past year, the Agents Council for Technology (ACT), working closely with ACORD and agency management system user groups, has undertaken a major initiative to make commercial lines download more accurate and effective for independent insurance agencies and brokers. To this end, ACT's commercial lines download work group, which drew participation from carriers, vendors, agents, and user groups, recently released a report that reviews its accomplishments and a series of recommendations for carriers, agents and vendors.
"We have three key accomplishments to date to improve commercial lines downloads," says Donna Barr, assistant vice president, Marsh USA Inc., private client services division, co-chair of the ACT commercial lines download work group, and chair of the ASCnet interface committee for Applied Systems users.
Those are: the ACORD implementation guide developed to give carriers and vendors more specific guidance in implementing these downloads; an agency testing process to enable carriers to make sure the downloads they send are accurate; and three prototype documents to help agents get the information they need to implement these downloads in their systems successfully.
With ACORD's help, the work group developed the ACORD CLDL Implementation Guide for the five major commercial lines-BOP, property, general liability, business auto and workers' compensation. This guide, which at press time was in the final ACORD approval process, identifies for carriers and vendors the minimum data elements agents must receive in the commercial lines download process. It also informs agents as to what they can expect when they receive commercial lines downloads.
In addition, to address considerable misunderstanding as to the scope of the ACORD and vendor download certifications-which only test that data being sent is in the proper ACORD standard format, not that the data itself is accurate-the group has also developed recommendations for an agency testing process.
The third major component of ACT's work was to develop prototype documents, which are are designed to be easily adaptable to individual carrier and vendor processes. These documents include a carrier/vendor certification document, an agency testing checklist, and an agency testing results document.
The next step for the work group is to develop education and training programs to assist agencies in implementing CLDL successfully.
"It is highly important now for carriers to implement the agency testing process as approved by ACT so that they send agencies the very best downloads," says Jeff Yates, ACT executive director. "It is also time for agencies to take a fresh look at commercial lines downloading because of the improvements being made in these downloads and the significant efficiencies they can bring to the business, just as personal lines downloads have."
The report is available in the "Technology Reports" section of the ACT Web site at www.independentagent.com/act. ACT is a part of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA), Alexandria, Va.
Great-West Healthcare Redesigns Member Site
Great-West Healthcare, Greenwood Village, Colo., has deployed a completely redesigned member Web site to help its members more quickly and easily evaluate health care services and account and consumer information. When members sign in on the site, at www.mygreatwest.com, they can execute the most common tasks from the first page, with a single click. They also can view a summary of their benefits and recent claims, access costs and details associated with their plans, print temporary or request new ID cards, and contact Great-West Healthcare using a Web form. Site features also are designed to help members compare the quality of local hospitals, take an online health assessment that identifies risks, suggest changes and provides action steps to manage or improve health, estimate treatment and procedure costs, calculate Flexible Spending Account contributions, find lists of eligible health and dependent care expenses and estimate tax savings, and access wellness features, including information on alternative medicine.
Top Web Conversion Tools
A range of new, state-of-the-art technologies exist can improve visitors' experiences, according to a report published by Dan Lok, a Web site conversion marketer with Quick Turn Marketing International Ltd., Burnaby, British Columbia.
Lok's top technologies for 2005 that can enhance web site conversion rates are:
Electronic shopping carts. Software that enables a company to take orders in minutes.
Click analyzers. Automated, tracking tools that enable companies to analyze campaigns, such as banner ads, classified ads, press releases, and pay-per-click ads, etc.
Auto responders. Software that sends prepared messages to customers and prospects instantly, and include tracking, analysis and database features to evaluate, test, and improve online conversion rates quickly.
Audio generators. Technology that produces sound on a Web site. Messages can be recorded over the phone and changed instantly.
Video generators. Technology used to create and upload professional streaming video to its site for e-mail broadcasts.
Directory generators. Software used to analyze and classify traffic and create a targeted directory listing with keywords to identify segmented target markets.
Multi-track generators. Software used to analyze the effect of small changes made on a Web site on traffic and conversion rates.
Ask database. Technology that captures information and feedback from Web site visitors, e-mail and newsletter subscribers-and analyzes it to make improvements quickly and deliver what customers want.
Instant attention. A new, more subtle pop-up design that commands attention.
InsuranceNoodle to Distribute St. Paul Travelers' VisionPak
St. Paul Travelers has selected Chicago-based InsuranceNoodle, an online insurance wholesaler, as one of its nationwide distributors of its VisionPak suite of products for technology companies. Under the agreement, the more than 2,400 independent small commercial agencies currently using InsuranceNoodle's proprietary, Web-based technology platform will have access to standard and optional specialized coverages for an array of technology companies.
In addition to standard BOP, some of the specialized coverages included in VisionPak are catastrophe allowance, computer systems fraud, pollution cleanup and removal, radioactive contamination, random attack, rewards, telecommunications theft, worldwide dependent properties for blanket earnings and expenses, bio-contamination and research animals.
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