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Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? (Or, Redundant Processing and Needless Inconsistencies)

ICMG is all about the deal.

But once a carrier and distributer agree to do business, then comes the part of contracting the agency and their distribution with the insurer.  Face it: Carriers do not utilize standard agent appointment and contracting documents.

We understand how and why contracts differ, but don’t all carriers collect relatively the same agent data and do essentially the same thing with that information?  Yet both agencies and carriers continue to do things separately and far more expensively through redundant processing.  How many times do agencies/agents complain about filling out the same thing for all the companies they represent?

Let’s discuss. I’ll start by asking three simple questions:

  1. Why don’t carriers accept a uniform method of agent information from an agency?
  2. Why can’t carriers build agreements in contracts with the agencies that the background questions for each agent meets a standard criterion?
  3. Why can’t the individual agent data be electronically sent from the agency to the carrier and uploaded into the carrier’s agent system?

ICMG wants your relationship to thrive, not die during the agent on-boarding process.  After all, we want success stories to tell.

Please comment. Let’s chew on this.

  • Mike Wise

    David, thanks for starting the thread. IMHO, based on a lot of experience building agent contracting Web sites, which, btw always aksed the same questions in slightly different ways, it seems to be a huge waste of paper,
    time, and money, not to mention brain damage on both sides… and missed
    sales during the contracting process. Hope some people weigh-in on this.

  • Jane_hudeck

    I can’t agree more, David.  Electronic submission saves time, money, is more efficient and the applications require the agent/applicant to fill in all of the necessary data which then expedites the process and turn-around time.  It just makes sense and increases any agencies’ bottom-line ~  let alone the agents.  A win-win for everyone involved.

  • Chuck

    What are the roadblocks to creating the uniformity/efficiencies you are looking for?

    I don’t necessarily know all the ins and outs of contracting agents, collecting information, etc. But it seems like it should be easier than it is for, say, uniformity in applications and forms for consumers. As I understand it, ACORD attempts to create uniformity for that kind of data. I don’t know if they delve into agent data (I could not see it on their website) or how successful they have been.

    Is it just that we need some kind of standards group to decide on standardized approaches for exchanging data? Do most carriers want uniformity (ie making it easier to contract with multiple companies)?

    I don’t have answers to these questions – just trying to dig into the situation.