The two largest insurance agency management systems' users groups in North America, NetVU (Network of Vertafore Users) and ASCnet (Applied Systems Client Network), have joined the ID Federation as liaison members. The ID Federation is a non-profit collaborative working to provide common legal and technical standards that will eliminate the need for individual agency IDs and passwords and, at the same time, increase security and ease of doing business throughout the insurance distribution chain.
ASCnet Board Member Stuart Durland, principal, Seely & Durland Insurance Agency in Warwick, N.Y., says ASCnet and NetVU volunteers have been working for some time with others in the industry to address password issues that hamper agency-carrier interactions.
"When this work evolved into the ID Federation, there was no question we would support this solution," says Durland. "Streamlining the user ID and password process so agents can log in just once and access all of their various companies will be a huge step forward for our industry."
Password management has been an ongoing challenge that has become more frustrating in recent years, adds NetVU Vice Chairman Stephen Moriyama, senior vice president of Anaheim, Calif.-based Hayward Tilton & Rolapp Insurance Associates.
"In today's environment, agencies are doing more work, but with less time," he says. "The ID Federation initiative will be a game-changer in terms of improved security and greater efficiency. It will save us time and money, and will lead to greater use of real-time processing."
"Formation of the ID Federation is a great example of how our industry professionals come together to improve our ecosystem's ease of doing business," says Jim Rogers, who helped spearhead formation of the ID Federation and serves as its treasurer. "Having industry partners contribute time, expertise and other resources moves our industry forward as it looks to enhance security, boost efficiency and improve the user experience."
ASCnet Chair Maureen Boeing, principal, Landmark Insurance Agency in Cincinnati, says, "As an industry, we need to find new ways to simplify processes and make automation work for our people, not against them. Nobody wants to waste time and money on technologies that bog down processes and cost more to use. The extra time employees spend logging into websites all day long is an added expense, not just an inconvenience."
Password management also interferes with client service, notes NetVU Chairman of the Board Mark Stolly, CPCU, CIC, president of Stolly Insurance Group in Lima, Ohio. "Our job as independent agents and brokers is to provide customers with direction and understanding," he says. "This requires that we spend quality time with each client. Managing user IDs and passwords to communicate with carriers is troublesome and costs us precious time that would be better spent with clients and prospects."
"Agents have been asking carriers and automation partners to move this forward," says Moriyama. "This has been a strategic item for the NetVU Board of Directors and an example of the industry coming together to define our future. We are pleased to work together with ASCnet to help the ID Federation see this process through."
Boeing adds, "ASCnet's mission is to help members increase agency value by maximizing systems use. Our board enthusiastically supports the work, because it represents change that will allow ASCnet and NetVU members and the broader independent agent community to work smarter and use their management systems more efficiently."