For several years now, a group of agents, carriers and vendors have worked together to promote standardized electronic interfaces using ACORD standards. Part of their efforts include annual Realtime/Download Surveys, and for the 2013 edition, responses were obtained from about 2200 agents throughout the United States and Canada.

While the results were promising for the Realtime and Download technologies — the survey revealed an increase in the usage of Download and affirming Realtime's ability to help agents avoid re-keying data — in the future, agents are hoping that they can work together with carriers to increase the speed and accuracy of the interfaces. In this way, there is still great opportunity to add functionality, particularly in the commercial lines space, where adoption has been slower.

Agencies benefit from having a consistent single workflow for many carriers. As the interface capability expands, agents will be able to use activity notes to automatically transfer documents securely to the appropriate agent and client in the agency system. All of this functionality is expected to come without an agent navigating a carrier site and needing various IDs and passwords.

While the progress revealed in this year's survey is promising, it also indicates that the future is only looking brighter.

Angelyn Treutel, CPA, is president of Southgroup Insurance Gulf Coast and the chair of ASCnet's Industry Solutions Industry Initiatives Committee and the past-chair of the IIABA Agents Council for Technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Angelyn by using the “Add Your Comments” box below. She can also be reached at

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