Bothell, Wash.-based insurance software company Vertafore named Marshall & Sterling, Nationwide and Risk Strategies Co. the winners of its awards program on March 3 at its NetVU16 awards gala held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.
“This year's award winners have used Vertafore technology to make meaningful strides in improving internal operations, driving productivity and contributing to profitability, in such a short time after deployment,” Greg Wright, senior vice president of agency and carrier solutions at Vertafore, said in a statement. “These exemplary use cases are why we come to the office every day and continue to fuel the fire of product development and innovation.”
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based Marshall & Sterling won the Agency of the Year award. Ranked as one of the top-performing agencies in the United States, Marshall & Sterling has 26 locations in five states and the U.S. Virgin Islands and has 450 employees. The agency serves customers in Auto, Home, Life, Health and business coverages and recently moved from its longtime agency management software provider to Vertafore.
The award “is a confirmation that what we are doing is right,” Jim Dahoney, vice president, chief information officer, tells PC360. He says that the system migration was a decision that was not taken lightly, but that the company was looking for a partner to integrate programs and provide them with the tools they need.
“We have operations in the Virgin Islands, and they operate differently than how we do in the States. We issue policies, collect premium, handle claims and have to report that” in the Virgin Islands, he says. “We wanted a system that could have a similar feeling across all of our offices, but take into account those customizations we need.”
Nationwide, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, received the Carrier of the Year award. In late 2014, the insurer rolled out ACORD eDocs and ACORD Messages in both commercial documents and billing notifications, and currently 600 of its agents use the eDocs feature.
“The award speaks to the innovation and technology we produce,” Daniel T. Goodwin, business architect and senior consultant, says to PC360. “We jumped onto eDocs and worked with our agents and vendor partners to deliver that capability.
“We try to always keep the agent in mind, and think of ways that agents connect to our company, and look for pitfalls,” he continues. “We have independent agents, direct agents and exclusive agents, and bring in different user types across personal and commercial lines. We have a different operations, but are always trying to deliver one ‘Nationwide experience.’”
Agents may not realize when or why they need certain tools, but when they do, Nationwide will develop it. “In the business architecture space, we figure out how the models will change, how the industry will change, and what tools agents will need.”
Boston-based insurance broker Risk Strategies Co. received the Vertafore Vanguard Award, which is given to a company that drives change and innovation. Since working with Vertafore in 2012, Risk Strategies has achieved an average growth rate of more than 60% year over year.
“It’s exciting to be on the cutting edge of technology, and one of the big things we can do in this industry gather and analyze data,” Jason Brudnick, vice president of operations, told PC360. “Integrating with Salesforce gave us a prospect pipeline tool that’s used effectively throughout the organization, and allows us to migrate data into our agency management system. Eliminating keystokes is big — and it increases efficiencies around big data.”
Because of the Salesforce integration with the agency’s management system, “we are able to dig deep into production activity, look at policies that have individual producers, look at individual commissions, and also do marketing and sales reports at a level we weren’t able to do before,” Brudnick says.
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