A company that powers many insurance industry information systems says technology can power an insurance agency through the COVID-19 crisis.
The company, Vertafore Inc., delivered that message last week, by working with a user group affiliate, the Network of Vertafore Users (NetVU) to convert what was going to be a major in-person user conference, in Minneapolis, into the Summer of Accelerate “virtual kickoff event.”
Vertafore and NetVU used livestreaming technology to keep their own business moving forward.
For the kickoff event, Vertafore and NetVU tried to replicate the atmosphere of an in-person event by offering a mix of keynote sessions, interactive workshops, and virtual breakout sessions.
Vertafore and NetVU have tried to take the event to another, higher level, by adding a series of weekly webinars, with topics such as improving remote worker effectiveness, using online reviews to drive leads, and dunning letters.
Amy Zupon, Vertafore’s chief executive officer, said in a statement about the the company’s strategy that companies need to find ways to serve clients even when they can’t be in the office.
“As agencies plan ahead for what the ‘new normal’ might look like, having a modern, digital-first approach will be essential,” Zupon said.
The Summer of Accelerate is Vertafore’s effort to serve its own clients when it can’t be in the office, or in a Minneapolis convention center.
Vertafore is working to position itself as a source of solutions that agencies can use to cope with the crisis.
A new promotional video for the company’s AMS360 agency management system reflects that strategy.
“AMS360 can help your agency be more resilient in a tough market, and put you ahead of the pack as the economy picks up,” Robert Blackett, an AMS360 trainer, says in the video, which was released as the virtual kickoff event ended. “While those other agencies are hunkering down, you’ll have all the systems in place to build your business and take your agency to the next level.”
Vertafore is best known for systems that help run property and casualty agencies, but the Denver-based company also owns Sircon, an insurance producer credentialing system.
A year ago, Vertafore acquired Vue Software. Many life and annuity insurers, and many health insurers, use Vue systems to manage producer compensation arrangements.
About 20,000 agencies use Vertafore software. Vertafore and NetVU said they had registered about 5,0000 Summer of Accelerate participants shortly before the kickoff event started.
One idea kickoff speakers discussed was the importance of offering clients web-based, and mobile device-based, self-service tools.
Vertafore has been rolling out InsurLink, a system agencies can use to provide client self-service portals. The COVID-19 crisis gave Vertafore a chance to show agencies how self-service portals can help agencies cope with emergencies. The company offered to let users of its AMS360 and Sagitta agency management systems try the InsurLink system for free during the COVID-19 emergency.
The company says about 14 agencies have signed up to try InsurLink every day since March.
“Fewer than 20% of agencies have a client engagement platform,” according to Vertafore. “Agencies that leverage a client engagement platform are renewing customers at up to a 5% higher rate than those that do not.”
Vertafore has applied that philosophy to its own AMS360 agency management system: The company has introduced an app that agents can use to run their agencies through mobile devices.
The company also emphasizes the importance of mobile device support in a description of the benefits of its new Titan technology framework. The first benefit listed is, “It’s mobile first.”
— Read Vertafore and ConnectureDRX Promote Crisis ResponseTools, on ThinkAdvisor.