Automation Nation

Automation Nation
*Automation can be defined as, “the technology by which a process or procedure is performed without human assistance.”

Love it or hate it, automation is the name of the game, and it’s here to stay. And no matter what your stance is, whenever the topic is broached, be prepared for some push-back.

Proponents of automation argue that it eliminates, or at least reduces, human error, cuts down on new hire spending, and evokes greater efficiency and productivity within organizations.
Opponents worry that automation will lead to their unemployment and greater unemployment overall, as machines and computers will perform their jobs with more precision, at a lower cost, thus taking their place in a company. 

Skeptics also contend that artificial intelligence (AI), robots, etc. may be intelligent and efficient at the task and responsibilities at hand, but not yet sophisticated enough to handle unexpected situations; they are only programmed to do one or a finite set of actions. 

As a tech company, operating in the insurance space (where human connection and relationships have historically dominated the culture), it can sometimes be difficult to get people onboard with the shifting landscape of technology and automation.

But, ePayPolicy is here to try!


AI doesn’t have to be a scary word or concept. True, we watch movies like
Minority Report and I, Robot that tend to sway our opinion in a negative direction, but those are dramatic depictions of only potential disastrous outcomes. (But how great are those movies, right?!) In reality, AI, automation, and tech infiltrate almost every aspect of our daily lives, whether we realize it or not.
Inspired by our trip to Las Vegas for the WSIA Automation Conference last week, our team has put together a list of some of the most visible and recognizable examples of automation and AI in our world today.

For the Millennials: Autocorrect

According to Pew Research Center, 95% of Americans now own a cellphone of some kind (to be honest, we’re kind of surprised it’s not 100%).

It’s probably safe to assume that the amount of people texting on these cellular devices is in the millions, if not more. And each time we send a text, we rely on automation to predict what we are about to type. This automatic data validation function expedites time spent composing messages, making the process much more efficient.

For the Busy Bees: Virtual Assistants

Our days are colored with a bunch of little things to remember: to-dos, grocery lists, birthday reminders, dentist appointments, soccer games, that yoga class we keep signing up for…the list goes on.

Not long ago, we might have just scribbled these things down on a piece of paper (or tied a string to our finger).

Today, all we have to do is utter one of the following three phrases and instruct our virtual assistants to remember, remind, and re-schedule, for us:
“OK Google”
“Alexa”
“Hey, Siri”

Virtual assistants are engineered into our phones, laptops, tablets, and desktops, and even come standalone (like Amazon’s Alexa). VAs are quickly growing in sophistication and popularity, with a June 2017 article estimating some 35.6 million Americans to use “a voice-activated assistant device” at least one time per month.


Whether you’re just checkin’ the weather before work or keeping track of your all your oil changes for the year, virtual assistants can be huge time savers, and are relevant to the every (wo)man these days, not just the Tony Starks of the world.

Related: J.A.R.V.I.S.
An acronym for Just A Rather Very Intelligent System, J.A.R.V.I.S. is Tony Stark’s (aka Iron Man) artificially intelligent computer. The former’s responsibilities include assisting Mr. Stark with everything from heating and cooling the superhero’s home, to engine analysis and integrating with Stark’s Iron Man armor. Oh, and did we mention he’s also British?

Can y’all say, AWESOME???

For the Pet Obsessed: Petcube, Petzi, etc.

Pet cams enable us to watch, communicate, and play with our pets even when we’re not at home. Bonus: some even come with treat dispensers. Tech and automation at its finest — allowing us to interact with our fur children at all times!

For the Clean Freaks: Roomba

A series of autonomous “Robot Vacuums” sold by iRobot. Hate vacuuming, mopping, and the like? This device takes you out of the equation and leaves the monotonous chores to automation.

For the Sports Lovers: Topgolf, Auto-drafting Fantasy sports

The former is a sophisticated, high-tech driving range for golf lovers at every skill level. Inside each golf ball is a tracking device that is tied to a specific player and keeps score for them (electronically, of course) based off of where they sink (or don’t sink) the ball.
The latter is pretty self-explanatory. Didn’t do enough research on players this season? No sweat! Choose the “auto-draft” setting and you might get lucky and end up with Carson Wentz even though you were watching Game of Thrones on draft night.

For the Insurance Professional: ePayPolicy

Okay, okay. So we’re a bit biased on this one. But seriously, hear us out. 

We are the only payment processor built exclusively for insurance professionals, by insurance professionals. Our team collectively brings over 25 years of insurance experience to the table, and each of us is as passionate and hungry to innovate and push the envelope as the person next to us.

Our product enables agents and brokers to accept credit card and ACH payments online, while also passing on transaction fees to the insured in the process. With several management system integrations already tied to our name (including Vertafore’s AIM, Sagitta, and FinancePro, as well as i-Engineering’s ALIS and MGA Systems), and many more on the way, we don’t plan on slowing down any time soon.

The insurance space is so much about building relationships and having that face to face interactions with peers, that many people wonder if automation has a place in the industry.
ePayPolicy’s Answer: Yes. Absolutely.

Paper check usage continues to decline, and with good reason. It takes forever for the funds to clear, checks often bounce, you have to pay for stamps, etc., etc.

With ePayPolicy, all of those small inconveniences are eliminated. Our processor is compatible across multiple devices, so insureds can make payments anytime or anywhere, and insurance professionals can track and reconcile funds anytime, anywhere. 

Win-win.

For Everyone:

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ePayPolicy is a tech company based in Austin, Texas. They enable insurance professionals to accept credit card and ACH/eCheck payments online while also passing on transaction fees to the insured.

Sign up takes less than 5 minutes.
Start accepting electronic payments in 24 hours.
No sign up fees or contracts and upgrade your account at anytime.

Sign up or Schedule a Demo today!
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Why Great Leaders Are Great


One of our favorite speeches in the ePayPolicy office is Simon Sinek’s viral TEDTalk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.”

For almost 10 years, people have been quoting this 18 minute video, making Sinek a household name, and asking this deceptively simple question: Why?

Why do we buy what we buy? Believe what we believe? Why do we respect and trust those who lead us?

Why are Great Leaders Great?

Earlier this week I was in Charleston, S.C. at the Applied Client Network Leadership Academy and, after two very inspiring, very full days, my reasons Why were validated.

They Think Critically

Regardless of if they’re in the business of selling dishwashers or diapers, great leaders strike a balance between thinking with both their head and heart. No decision is made entirely autonomously. A great leader has to have a good head on his or her shoulders, and approaching obstacles ready to roll up their sleeves, and problem solve alongside their team, is imperative to success.

Cornell University and SC Johnson College of Business Professor Risa Mish. Kicking off Day 1 with an insightful and engaging keynote speech on The Critical Thinking Advantage.

They Encourage Others to Think Critically

As the old adage goes, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.

A leader will hone a skill. A great leader is great because s/he will hone a skill and teach & encourage others to do the same. They spread the wealth.

They See People, Not Employees

 
Thanks for the words of wisdom, Applied Client Network!

It’s true that it takes [wo]man-power to run an organization. Without that power, all that’s left is someone with ideas, but not enough resources to execute those ideas. We all need a little help making our ambitions a reality, and that’s where team members come into the picture.
It’s important to see the people behind the work. Everyone wants to be valued. To be a great leader, one must give credit and recognition for the incredible things their team does. But, they must also see that their team is made of people. And people are more than the work they do.

They Expect More

We all have people in our lives that demand more from us. These people are constantly improving and expecting those around them to also improve. These are the types of great leaders that believe it is everyone’s job to grow and learn.

Gregory Shiple embodies this belief. His journey with Applied Systems, Inc. (the principal sponsor of Applied Client Network) began in 1986, when he was hired as a programmer. Today, 32 years and multiple positions later, Shiple is the Vice President of Support at Applied, with an astonishing 95% retention rate. When asked how he maintains such an impressive rate, Shiple’s answer was concise and simple.

“Retention is the responsibility of all teams,” he said, “not just one.”

They Stay Hungry (& Foolish)

 

Why do you think great leaders are great? Comment below or Tweet to us at @ePayPolicy on Twitter.

The Leadership Academy is Applied Client Network’s annual gathering of chapter officers. This exclusive event is an opportunity for officers to discuss leading practices, learn about industry tools and resources, and network and exchange information with peers.

ePayPolicy is an electronic payment processor made by insurance professionals, for insurance professionals. They enable insurance agents and brokers to accept credit card and ACH payments while passing on transaction fees to the insured. To learn more about ePayPolicy, visit ePayPolicy or schedule a demo today.