Cyndy Smith,
Haylor, Freyer & Coon

cyndy-smith

Implementation Steps

How to get started . . .

  • As with any other technology project, you should secure senior management support to move the agency’s workflows to Real Time.

  • Management should understand the benefits this tool can bring to the agency. (See www.getrealtime.org for the AUGIE Workflow Timer & Cost Savings Calculator & AUGIE Real-Time Study.)

  • Talk to other agencies that have implemented Real Time on the same agency management system your agency uses to discuss how they have successfully implemented.

  • Make sure that your agency’s systems are ready to begin using the real-time option.

  • Consult your vendor, your carriers, or www.acttech.org for the real-time features and functions available on your system. There may be real-time functions and/or features that are only available if you are on the latest versions of your system.

  • Verify that policy numbers in your system are consistent with the carrier’s format (prefixes, spaces, dashes, suffixes, etc.). If you are downloading policy detail from the carrier system, your policy number format should be correct.

  • When you are ready to begin real-time implementation, contact your vendor for setup documentation. These links are found at www.getrealtime.org.

  • Determine who will handle Carrier Website Password Administration for your agency. This is a very important issue and will have a significant impact on the success of implementation. The real-time tools require that as carrier website passwords change, the responsible person(s) update the program accordingly.

  • Determine if there are alternatives from your agency management system vendor. For example, will these passwords be managed by the individual users or by a central administrator?

  • Take advantage of whatever training that the agency management system vendor, rating vendor or insurance carrier has to offer on real-time tools!

  • Make someone in the agency RESPONSIBLE for the real-time program. You will need an “expert” in the office for people to go to if they have problems. You should also consider having a “backup” to the expert so that if the “expert” leaves the agency, the realtime program is not forgotten.

  • Just before you begin, conduct a last-minute check of your vendor-specific software releases and user group training and message boards, so you are as up to date as possible.

Tips for successful implementation…

  • To begin, implement with a small group of users in your agency so any problems can be worked out. It makes sense for most agencies to begin with inquiries and then move to the more complicated rating and policy issue transactions. You might even consider starting with one carrier that you have a good relationship with.

  • Monitor agent usage to identify any additional training needs.

  • Include real-time adoption as part of employee job descriptions and review criteria.

  • Reward employees who show quick and steady adoption of Real Time (such as a free lunch program). Such incentives can hasten adoption across all staff.

  • As with most technology implementations, know whom to contact at your vendors and carriers should you need help or encounter any problems. (See www.getrealtime.org for vendor-specific troubleshooting procedures and links.)

  • Recognize that if you do not have complete and accurate policy data in your agency management system, real-time quoting will not work as expected.

  • To further reduce data entry, establish policy pre-fills for the forms and limits typically used in your office.

  • Update your procedures and workflows to incorporate the use of the real-time tools.

Ongoing attention needed to keep your implementation as effective as possible…

  • If you run into any problems after you have completed the installation, you should contact your agency management system vendor through the normal trouble reporting procedure.

  • Keep up to date with new real-time carriers and/or transaction types. Make sure to update your system as these additions become available so that they show up on the menu when you perform these transactions.

  • If real-time transactions from particular carriers are slow, their workflows are inefficient or they do not allow you to easily complete the transaction (i.e. move from billing inquiry to make a payment), contact the carrier and ask it to improve its application.

  • Use Real-Time Usage Reports where they are available from your vendor and carriers, to determine who in your agency is using the real-time tool and who is not. Train or retrain employees who are not using the realtime tool.

  • Continue to re-evaluate your procedures/ work flows to take advantage of new real-time tools as they become available.