According to a recent survey by Intel Security, the average adult now has 27 different logins to remember. Some digital experts suggest the number could be much higher if you count logins for social media and apps.
You may say that's a lot but think about your own firm, the dozens of companies you interact with and the separate login credentials they require. It gets to be mind-boggling.
At my agency, we work with 20 different carriers. That's 20 different logins that my staff has to remember! When you add the other vendors we use on a daily basis, there may easily be 100 logins. Is it any wonder people forget their passwords?
The carriers and vendors have it bad, too. Up to 75% of the calls to their helpdesks are to reset passwords (at a cost of up to $150 per incident).
Then there are real-time transaction glitches, which often occur due to a password failure because the agency management system and the carrier's website have different passwords.
When you multiply all the transactions that occur in a year, just a small percentage of failures can be staggering.
Ending the password nightmare
Is there any way to end this password nightmare? Thankfully, there is.
The ID Federation is the nonprofit organization formed in 2014 to develop a single sign-on technology for the entire insurance industry to use. The technology is now up and running and already starting to show positive results, even in its infancy. I can attest to that because my agency has been using this new software for the past year, and it's been amazing.
Along with my agency, Vertafore and The Hartford participated in the first stage of testing SignOn Once — all as partners in the effort to create a system in which agency staff can use one login to securely access the systems of multiple carriers.
SignOn Once uses token technology to authenticate each user's identity. Users receive a unique identity token based on their distinct credentials, which is certified for authenticity and used to facilitate ongoing access to each certified SignOn Once carrier or vendor.
Although the process is streamlined and seamless for the user, there are multiple checkpoints and verifications behind the scenes as users move from site to site.
Now that the initial testing is complete, ID Federation partner members are moving forward to become certified. Currently, another 25 agencies are piloting SignOn Once, and when Applied Systems is certified later this year, the industry's two biggest solutions providers will be part of the SignOn Once system.
What I like about SignOn Once is that it's invisible to the agent after it's been set up. I have one login ID and one password, and that's it. At my agency, we use Vertafore's agency management system, so our employees sign in with their AMS360 login. (Applied users would log into TAM or Epic.)
After SignOn Once has authenticated my staff, they can enter the carrier's system without a separate login. It's that seamless, and that easy.
In fact, there aren't any downsides. Everyone involved in ID Federation is working for the betterment of our industry, not to make money or charge fees. For example, if you’re a Vertafore user with Vertafore Single Sign-On (VSSO), and you do business with a participating carrier, there is no additional charge.
There are some real advantages to using SignOn Once, and the agency community should be enlisting every carrier to join the ID Federation effort.
Benefits to the agency
Consider these benefits that I’ve already seen:
> Less time to log onto company websites. Think about how often your staff is on your carriers’ sites during the day, getting quotes, placing new business, or checking on a claim or a direct-bill balance. No more login delays or being bumped out because you don't have the right password.
> Standardized work flows. Our staff knows that they should enter a carrier's portal through TransactNOW, the Vertafore real-time solution. (Applied users know this as Transformation Station.). Occasionally, someone will log on directly to the company site. With SignOn Once, that doesn't happen. Company logins are automatic with SignOn Once, and it's the only way anyone in my agency can get into The Hartford. SignOn Once allows us to better manage our technology, increase our efficiency and standardize our workflows.
> Increased security. At a time of heightened concern about cybercrime, increased security is a huge benefit. Those sticky notes with passwords on them? Gone! All you have to remember is your one agency management password.
> Controlling access. When someone leaves your agency, they have only one password, and you can immediately disable it. Former employees won't be able to go elsewhere and log onto your carriers or rating service because their SignOn Once won't work.
I’m excited about the future of SignOn Once. We’re getting one step closer to a world in which passwords are obsolete. My hope is that every agency will become a part of ID Federation, especially as more carriers come on board. Find out more about how to join us on the ID Federation website at idfederation.org.
Steven J. Aronson, CIC, is the president of Aronson Insurance, an Acrisure agency partner, in Needham, Massachusetts.