Vertafore Canada Orange Partner Program Endorses ePayPolicy

MONTREAL, Sept. 14, 2021 /CNW/ — Vertafore® Canada, a leader in modern insurance technology, today announced the launch of the Vertafore Canada Orange Partner Program, providing Canadian brokers the opportunity to take advantage of high-quality, pre-built integrations with strategic third-party technology providers. The program allows brokers to further optimize their processes and enhance the digital experience they offer their customers.

“In today’s competitive landscape, brokers increasingly need to focus on becoming future-ready, and it is essential that we, as solution providers, look for ways to help them achieve this,” said Dimitrios Argitis, vice president and general manager of Vertafore Canada. “We are committed to helping brokers achieve this through improved APIs and high-quality, vetted, strategic partnerships. The introduction of the Vertafore Canada Orange Partner Program is an important step in that direction.”

The Vertafore Canada Orange Partner Program is launching with seven partnerships that, when integrated with the Vertafore Canada SaaS solutions, offer brokers additional opportunities to optimize processes, enhancing the digital experience and complementing their strategic initiatives.

This initial set of partners serves as the foundation from which the program will continue to scale, and they drive significant value to brokers by offering them the following Vertafore Canada SaaS Platform integrated capabilities:

  • ePayPolicy: Brokers can offer their customers secure, quick and easy online payment options that integrate with Vertafore Canada solutions.
  • FIRST Insurance Funding Canada: Brokers can now provide monthly payment plans and full payment options for new business and renewals along with the policy proposal with FIRST PayTM, directly within the SIG.
  • Pathway: Brokers can automate client emails, texts, and document delivery through seamless data integration.
  • BrokerLift: Brokers can make selling insurance on their website easier both for their customers and the brokerage staff.
  • Xenex: Known as eSIGN, brokers can simplify processes by benefiting from this integrated SignatureMaster™ solution.

“These are partnerships that go well beyond just agreeing to work together. They represent a comprehensive arrangement that includes high-quality integrations that have already been developed and comprehensively tested, that collaboratively are being maintained and for which we have testimonials from brokers of their strategic value,” added Stacey Miranda, director of product management for Vertafore Canada. “The Orange Partner Program brings a new level of collaboration between Vertafore and its partners for the benefit of Canadian insurance brokers and their customers.”

For more information, please visit https://www.vertafore.ca/orange-partner-program.

About Vertafore Canada

Vertafore Canada is the expert in Canadian broker innovation and a leader in the BMS (Broker Management Systems) marketplace for insurance and financial services brokers. It offers an integrated suite of products designed to increase revenue through efficient use of technology. Vertafore Canada is the new name for Keal Technology, a leading provider of broker and commercial management systems in Canada, acquired by Vertafore in 2016.

Updating Your Tech Stack for 2021

Today, technology is at the heart of nearly every insurance brokerage.  Brokers rely heavily on a range of systems, allowing them to organize operations, manage client data, attract new customers, and work more efficiently.

While your current technology may have served you well in the past, new advances emerge seemingly every day. If you don’t update your tech stack regularly, you’re missing out on cutting-edge features and capabilities that can take your brokerage to the next level.

Luckily, updating your tech stack for 2021 doesn’t have to be difficult. If you aren’t sure how to tackle it, here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Tech Stack?

Generally speaking, a tech stack is a set of technology tools that helps you manage your  insurance brokerage. Usually, it features a combination of solutions, ensuring all of your major needs are covered by an effective and efficient tech system.

Precisely what you’ll be in your tech stack can vary from one brokerage to the next. However, for  brokers, most of the solutions are going to be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, allowing you to get robust tech at a fraction of the price of managing it on-site.

Updating your tech stack lets you tap emerging trends and harness cutting-edge technologies. You’re creating an opportunity to get the best of what the SaaS landscape has to offer, ensuring you aren’t held back by old-school software that isn’t designed to meet the needs of today’s leading brokerages.

How to Choose New SaaS Technology

When you’re selecting new SaaS solutions, your main goal should be to simplify your technology and automate as much of your workflow as possible. It’s all about enhancing operational ease while simultaneously boosting the quality of your work.

If you aren’t sure how to begin building your tech stack for 2021, here’s a step-by-step process you can follow.

Understand the Tech Stack Categories

Updating your tech stack shouldn’t be a haphazard undertaking. It’s all about ensuring your critical bases are covered. One way to make that as easy as possible is to take a moment to learn about tech stack categories.

Each tech stack category is essentially a single functional business area  brokers usually need to manage. Here’s a quick overview of each one, as well as some example solutions.

Sales

Sales solutions make it easier to manage prospects, qualify leads, and pursue new clients. They provide opportunities for task automation, allowing you to streamline workflows, boost the efficiency of your sales team, and generate better results.

Some popular sales tools include:

·        Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive

·        Meeting Software – Calendly, Google Calendar, GoToMeeting

·        Tracking and Analytics – Google Analytics, Tableau

Marketing

With marketing software, it’s all about generating highly qualified leads, crafting personalized purchasing journeys, and creating meaningful interactions that move contacts through the funnel.

Some widely used marketing tools include:

·        Email Automation (MailChimp, HubSpot, Marketo)

·        Social Media Management (Sprout Social, HubSpot, Hootsuite)

·        Social Media Presence (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok)

·        Digital Advertising (Google Marketing, Google Ads, AdRoll, AdHawk)

Collaboration

Collaboration SaaS solutions ease communication between your team members. These support messaging, file-sharing, video conferencing, and more.

Here’s a list at some popular collaboration tools:

·        Messaging (Slack, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams)

·        File-Sharing / Document Collaboration (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive)

·        Virtual Work / Video Conferencing (GoToMeeting, Zoom, Google Hangouts)

·        Task / Project Management (Trello, Asana, Google Calendar, Accelo)

Client Experience

Client experience solutions make it easy for people to do business with you. They simplify contact, payments, and similar needs, ensuring you can offer an optimal customer experience (CX).

Some widely preferred client experience tools include:

·        Payment Gateways (ePayPolicy, PayPal, ApplePay, etc.)

·       Website (Browser/device compatibility, website, building tools)

·       Data Security (McAfee, DUO Security, Oracle, IBM, Security, LastPass)

·       Client Referral Management (Rocket Referrals) 

Customer Support

With customer support tech, it’s all about boosting CX. These systems focus on critical areas like client communication and customer interaction, ensuring you can be reached whenever the need arises.

Here’s a list of popular customer support tools:

·        Live Chat (InterCom, Zendesk, Podium, LiveChat, Drift)

·        Self-Service (Chatbots, Online FAQs)

·        Phone-Based Support (VoIP, Text Messaging, RingCentral)

Review Your Current Tech Stack

After you get to know the types of solutions present in an  brokerage tech stack, it’s time to review what you have in place today. Consider whether each system you have actually meets your needs, as well as what category it represents.

Essentially, you want to audit your tech stack to identify missing segments and to determine if it’s the best setup for you. If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated with a system, including because of clunky operation, a subpar toolset, or anything else, then it could be time to make a switch.

Keep It Simple and Effective

When you’re building your tech stack for 2021, keep it simple. It isn’t about getting every solution; it’s about choosing the right mix of systems based on your needs and goals.

When you decide to add a new piece of tech, or replace an existing solution with something better suited to your operations, create a roadmap for implementation before you begin. You don’t want to overwhelm your team by bringing in a ton of new systems all at once. Instead, pace yourself, bringing in new solutions after your team has had a chance to get comfortable with the last implementation.

By using that approach, you can update your tech stack efficiently, keeping everything simple and boosting your brokerage’s effectiveness every step of the way.

Looking for More Insurance Brokerage Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the power of a great tech stack. If you’d like more tips about how  brokers can update their tech stack for the new year or how they can boost their business, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

How Digitalization Can Reduce Costs for Brokerage

The world of insurance is incredibly traditional. At times, this is a good thing. Independent brokerages believe in the personal touch, forging deep, lasting relationships with clients. But, in other ways, relying on what’s tried and true is a hindrance, especially when it involves a lack of digitalization.

Many brokerages are slow to incorporate new technologies. While you don’t necessarily need to embrace every emerging solution that arrives, a lack of digitalization can hold you back. Not only can it cause you to spend more than you need to; it can also mean missing out on revenue-boosting opportunities.

If you are wondering how digitalization can reduce costs and increase revenue, here’s what you need to know.

What Is Digitalization?

Digitalization – also known as digital transformation – is the process of introducing technologies into your business that provide you with new opportunities. This includes capturing cost savings, increasing revenue, or boosting value, all through the use of technology solutions.

While the most obvious incarnation is digitizing paperwork, that only scratches the surface. Digital transformation includes implementations that boost efficiency, accuracy, and profitability through technology.

How Digitalization Reduces Costs and Increases Revenue

Better Customer Experience

Today’s customers don’t just want excellent service; they want convenient solutions. The population gets more tech-savvy by the minute. They rely on technology tools to make their life easier. Whether it’s communicating via chatbot, setting up automatic payments, or gathering information, being able to handle their lives online is a priority.

By embracing digitalization, your brokerage can offer more of what customers are after. It’s a quick way to improve the customer experience. With technology, you can make it easy for them to review their policies, track payment due dates, and pay on time, simplifying their lives as well as yours. That’s all good stuff, and it can help cement your reputation as a tech-savvy provider.

Less Paperwork and Manual Input

Let’s face facts; manual data entry and physical paperwork are tedious to handle. Re-entering information into computer systems takes time – time you could otherwise spend on other activities.

With digitalization, you can reduce the need for cumbersome data entry, relying more on digital forms that customers can complete themselves or scanning technologies that automatically upload the data. Time saved is money saved (or earned), making it worth exploring.

Increased Accessibility

When you embrace digitalization, you have the opportunity to increase your accessibility to critical information. By using cloud technology, you can access your data at any time from nearly anywhere. As long as you have an internet-ready device, you can handle everyday tasks while in the office, on the road, or from home.

Plus, it keeps your data centralized. You’re using one platform no matter where you are, keeping everything consolidated at all times.

Lower E&O Risk

Errors and omissions (E&O) can spell trouble for brokers. Not only can it mean working with inaccurate information, but it may also lead to E&O claims. Claims of negligence, breach of duty, or similar issues hurt your reputation and bottom line; it’s a double-whammy.

With digitalization, you can reduce E&O risk. You don’t need to enter data from paper records or transcribe conversations. Instead, the tech can do the bulk of the work. All you’ll need to do is a quick review, allowing you to ensure important details are captured, and the highest level of accuracy is achieved in less time.

Independent Agencies: Looking for More Great Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the importance of reaching your peak potential as a brokerage. If you’d like to see more tips about how brokers can reduce costs and increase revenue with digitalization, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

5 Cybersecurity Tips To Keep Your Brokerage Safe While Operating Remote

In many ways, technology is a boon for the  insurance industry. It has allowed  brokers to continue providing coverage to their clients as brokerages have adopted a new hybrid remote work strategy. 

But with technology comes risk. Ne’er-do-wells are lurking behind every virtual corner. And, without proper security awareness and the right data protection strategy, you and your clients’ information could end up in the wrong hands (just ask Garmin).

Independent insurance brokerages need to take action to ensure every piece of data is safeguarded not just from theft but also harm. Luckily, by embracing the right security awareness and teaching your team about data protection best practices, you can minimize the risk of a cybersecurity attack (short on time? jump right to the tips!).

Security Awareness: What Are You Protecting?

Before you dig into the steps you can take to bump up your cybersecurity, it’s critical to understand what you’re securing. Independent insurance brokerages have access to a slew of information, much of which is incredibly sensitive.

First and foremost, you’re responsible for protecting your clients’ data. Failing to protect your clients’ financial information correctly comes with devastating consequences. That’s why securing client data has to be a priority.

Additionally,  insurance brokerages have payment information, which is something any hacker would love to get a chance to exploit. Your systems also hold operational data, which, while not necessarily confidential, is critical to your business.

Many  insurance brokerages also have data they’d rather keep private. Company secrets like pricing details and trade agreements aren’t something you want released out into the world.

Finally, there is a mountain of personal identity information. Along with contact details and demographics for your clients, you also have personnel records for you and any employees.

Overall, there is a lot worth protecting. That’s why security awareness and data protection is so vital.

Who Are the Bad Guys (And How Can You Stop Them)?

Now that you understand what you’re safeguarding, let’s take a look at the bad guys you’re defending against.

Malware

One of the biggest baddies around is malware, or malicious software. This category encompasses a wide variety of threats, including worms, trojans, and a range of other viruses. Often, these relatively tiny clumps of code can be incredibly damaging. Some may create backdoors into your systems, allowing unauthorized personnel to reach your data. Others may cause catastrophic damage, erasing, or scrambling information.

Ransomware, a subset of the malware category, is an attack-type on the rise. With these, the malicious software seizes control of your computer, database, or network, encrypting the information and locking you out. Hackers then demand a ransom, usually in the form of cryptocurrency, to decrypt your data and give you back control.

Stopping malware should always be a priority. Luckily, best practices like installing antivirus software and keeping it up-to-date makes a big difference. Similarly, a robust firewall can prevent unauthorized traffic from reaching your systems.

Finally, backups are a powerful tool. By backing up regularly, even if your data is damaged in an attack or seized by ransomware, you haven’t lost everything. You have an accurate, recent copy of your information, allowing you to rollback if the need arises.

Phishing

Phishing attacks are all about trickery and deception. The hacker tries to deceive a company employee into handing over login credentials, personal information, brokerage data, financial details, and more.

A classic form is an email or text message that tries to convince the recipient to click on a link or download an attachment to resolve some kind of issue. The trick is, that link doesn’t go to a legitimate site. Instead, it’s a fake designed to steal the person’s credentials or other information. With attachments, it’s a way to download malware.

Some phishing attempts can be incredibly sophisticated. They may feature spoofed email addresses, making it look like the message came from a person or company the recipient knows and trusts. The body of the email may look legit, featuring well-known logos and other hallmarks of the real thing.

However, there’s usually something amiss about the message. Maybe the spelling or grammar isn’t quite right, or the domain on the email address is off. The content not being tailored to the recipient – such as saying “account holder” instead of addressing the person by name – could also be a clue.

Security awareness and training is crucial for every employee, particularly when it comes to combatting phishing attacks. It ensures everyone knows how to spot the signs of a suspicious email or text message, ensuring they won’t interact with suspicious links or give information to someone who shouldn’t have it.

Lack of Secure SSL/TLS

While not technically a kind of attack, a lack of secure SSL/TLS is an issue. SSL/TSL (secure socket layer/transport layer security) protocols mean the website connection isn’t secure. Data moving between that page and the recipient isn’t encrypted, making it vulnerable to interception and theft.

Never send sensitive information – such as personal identity information or financial details – through a site that doesn’t have SSL/TLS in place. If you do, a hacker could intercept the packets, snagging your data while it’s in transmission.

5 Tips to Protect Your Clients’ Data, as Well as Your Own

As an  insurance brokerage, data protection must be a priority. Not only are their regulations that make certain steps a must, but failing to keep your clients’ data protected can harm your reputation and potentially leave you open to litigation.

Make sure you take the right steps to secure your system and embrace these 5 best practices plus a bonus tip that every brokerage should implement today. 

    1. Update your computers, applications, and antivirus software regularly
    2. Choose strong, unique passwords, and change them regularly
      1. Use password managers when necessary, and always say “yes” to two-factor authentication procedures.
    3. Consider switching to digital payments and eliminating paper checks from your workflow. This one simple action can reduce the risk of clients’ personal data being mishandled or misplaced.
      1. Follow all PCI-mandated data protections when handling or accepting payments.
    4. Reduce your use of other paper in the office, particularly documents with sensitive client data on them.
    5. Be skeptical about any unexpected email, particularly those containing links or attachments, or that are asking for sensitive data.
    6. *BONUS Always… always… ALWAYS backup your data. It’s a final safeguard, allowing you to revert back if something goes awry.

While security awareness and data protection practices require some effort, they are worth it. Ultimately, you are what stands between hackers and yours and your clients’ data. So, make sure to take every precaution. In the end, it’s a much easier road than the one you’d have to take after an attack.

7 Ways to Speed Up Your Brokerage’s Receivables

We’ve all had them. Chronic late payers. Clients who violate your payment terms can wreak havoc with your brokerage’s cash flow.  

Add to that the reality of COVID-19. It’s anything but business as usual. This makes it more important than ever to rev up your payment collection and make sure you get paid timely.  

You may know businesses that protect themselves against accounts receivable losses with A/R insurance / trade credit insurance. You may even be one of the specialty brokers that sell it. We hope you will never need such coverage. 

Yet you should not need to shield yourself from late- and non-paying policyholders.The key is to speed up the payment process and minimize the chance of non-payment. We’ve put together 7 tips to help you do just that.

#1. Go Digital 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: consumers (including businesses) have long since embraced digital payment.They live in a 24/7 digital world and they expect to pay instantaneously for purchases.The keyword here is “instantaneously.” It’s 2021. It’s time. 

#2 Offer Payment Options 

The trends in payment choice are clear. Debit cards, credit cards and ACH (direct payment) are on the rise.The move away from checks (and cash) was already accelerating before “touchless” payments became a public safety essential. Choice means clients are not tied to any one payment method. They can earn points on their Visa card this month or use their AmEx or a debit card next month.

#3 Make It Easy to Pay

Don’t stress about having to layer an ecommerce platform onto your website.You don’t need one to make online payments a breeze for your policyholders. First, be up front about it. Don’t make people have to search for your payment page. They’ll get frustrated. A link from your invoice template and a “pay now” button on your website will do the trick. Once clients know you offer card/ACH payment, they’ll quickly convert into delighted digital payers.

#4 Deliver Help on Demand 

Sometimes even tech savvy clients have questions or need help making their payment. They expect instant support (because they’re used to it from the other vendors). Be prepared to answer their questions, whether it is through chat, in an email, or over the phone, and have resources in hand that can help them solve problems on their own.

#5 Enable Automatic Payments

Many policies require multiple payments, either monthly, quarterly or semiannually. This creates multiple opportunities for clients to put off making payments. And you can never predict which client or which payment will be late! Offering recurring payments is a “set it and forget it” convenience for them. Equally important, it makes your receivables timely and predictable.

#6 Automate The Dunning Process

Imagine freeing your staff from sending out hundreds of invoice reminders and late payment notices each month. It’s a necessary task, but consumes a lot of staff time. Switching to automated emails makes sure these notices go out on schedule. At ePayPolicy, our invoice reminders feature makes it even easier by creating automated emails for your team.                                  

#7 Integrate With Your AMS

If you’re already using a management system, you know the power of automating business functions across your brokerage. While there are a number of industry agnostic payment processors out there (e.g., PayPal, Square, etc.) you’ll be better served with one that is designed specifically for insurance brokers and that integrates with your management system. 

The Bottom Line

I know it’s a cliche, but time really is money. Your time is valuable, and so is your client’s. When it comes to paying insurance premiums, you both have a “need for speed.” If your goal is to turbocharge your receivables, you need to minimize slow-pay opportunities.vThe best way to do that is with client-pleasing digital payments.  

ePayPolicy is here to help. Feel free to wander around our website. When you’re ready,  get started.

6 Reasons Why Brokerages Need A Strong Website

Standing out as a brokerage can be surprisingly challenging. While you may not think that your website is a crucial part of that equation, that genuinely isn’t the case.

To put it simply, without a strong website for your brokerage, you are missing out on opportunities. If you are wondering why having an exceptional site matters, here’s what you need to know.

1. First Impressions Matter

In many cases, your website is the first interaction a client has with your brokerage online. It acts as a digital handshake, introducing the visitor to what you have to offer. If your messaging, aesthetic, and information fall short of expectations, you may miss out on a new client.

Similarly, if you don’t have a website at all, today’s digital-savvy consumers won’t even know you exist. That leads to more missed opportunities.

But if you have a well-presented, highly informative website, you create opportunities. You draw visitors in through this exceptional first impression, keeping them engaged longer and increasing the odds that they’ll reach out or move forward as a client.

2. Bolster Your Brand Credibility

If you don’t have a website, you’re hurting your brand credibility. Without a site, your  brokerage doesn’t seem as legitimate in the eyes of prospective clients.

Similarly, a poor-quality website harms your reputation. It makes it seem like you don’t care about the details or take your online presence seriously, both of which work against you.

Even a simple but well-crafted website makes your brokerage seem more credible. It creates a sense of longevity while also showing that you care about quality.

3. Showcase Your Company and Products

A website is, first and foremost, a resource brimming with information. When you spend time creating a standout site, you can highlight the best of what you have to offer, both as a company and in the way of the products.

Without a website, clients may not know where to turn for helpful information. If your site is poor, they may struggle to navigate it or otherwise finding the details they are after.

By focusing on the quality of your website, you can showcase your company and products with ease. The information they are after will be right at their fingertips, whenever they want it.

4. Increase Brand Visibility

Without a website, many prospective clients won’t know you exist. It’s akin to not having a sign on your company’s office, something that a brokerage would never dream of skipping.

Since so many people head online to find out about businesses, you need to make sure you’re represented. Your website makes you visible to those clients, ensuring they know you’re there and ready to meet their needs.

5. Boost Your Online Marketing

If you aren’t marketing online, you’re missing out. A great website opens this door wider. You won’t just have an online presence, but you can also embrace SEO to place your site higher in results lists. This can increase traffic levels to your site, making it more likely that anyone looking for a brokerage finds you before your competitors.

Plus, if you decide to pursue other online marketing options, such as using Google Ads or a similar network, having a website is crucial. It gives you a place to direct people who see your advertisement that offers more than you can get those a social media profile alone.

6. Increase Accessibility

Today, shopping online is the go-to approach for many consumers. They can tackle research, make purchases, and more at any time, day or night. Plus, they can do it all while on the go, thanks to mobile devices.

If you don’t have a reliable, well-put-together website, you’re missing out on these digital-first prospective clients. By having a fantastic site, you’re essentially increasing accessibility, making it easier to do business with you.