2005 AND BEYOND
Integration is an interesting word. When we discuss agency automation, we always use “integration” as the appropriate function that we expect of our automation systems within an insurance agency.
From the 1960’s through 2004 we have come through several generations of automation, all claiming to “integrate” our process to speed the efficiency of an insurance business (client to agent to carrier and back again). Yet, all forms of integration so far have been intrusive, expensive and technical beyond the abilities of the normal insurance agent (or normal human being for that matter).
2005 sees the advance of the few remaining systems companies in command of our industry trying to further “integrate” the process of insurance transactions from a technical standpoint through ACT (Agents Council for Technology)
Now we face advances in “live” transaction availability from our insurance company partners through Internet access of their particular systems. Inquiry, transaction processing and even live quotes are available. However, that availability comes at a dear cost to the insurance agency universe. You see, each company has advanced their own live “integration”, leaving Single Entry Integration as a good idea supported only in words, not actions. This means that, in order to take advantage of live integration, the agency must direct enter data to the carrier system as well as to its own agency management system – multiple-entry rears its ugly head – again. If an agency wishes to market a client to multiple companies, each of which has live integration capabilities (some are even to the point of mandating access only through their websites), the agency may have to enter data to several insurance companies systems as well as to their own management system.
Our needs within the insurance industry are fairly simple to explain (not so simple to execute, I’m sure). We need our computer systems to become as “friendly” to use as a television set and to adopt “TRUE” SEMCI (Single-Entry, Multiple-Company Interface).