As an independent insurance agent, you’re likely writing business with multiple carriers. This entails managing everyday activities such as quoting, making policy changes, handling billing issues, engaging in client communications and navigating commission reconciliation. Fortunately, there’s a better way to work. By automating policy updates to your agency’s system of record through carrier downloads, you can eliminate the need to go to various places for the latest policy information, all while servicing your insureds more efficiently and reducing your errors and omissions (E&O) exposure. Sound appealing? Here’s a complete download on carrier downloads and the ways they can benefit your agency management system (AMS).
What is an AMS?
An insurance agency management system, or AMS, is an agency’s system of record. An AMS stores and organizes insurance contact and policy information for personal lines and commercial account records, automates routine tasks and supports sales and revenue management. As the hub for managing agency activities, using and keeping up-to-date policy records in an AMS is essential to maintaining operational efficiency and delivering a personalized client experience.
What are AMS carrier downloads?
Because your AMS and carrier partners’ systems are independent of each other, the data is siloed. To bridge that data gap, carrier downloads push daily policy record updates to your agency’s AMS through an exchange service and then sync that data in the system automatically. Optimizing carrier download capabilities to your agency’s AMS means policy data, claims data, billing alerts, client messages, policy prints and direct bill commissions for commercial and personal lines accounts are always fresh and located in one central, easily accessible place.
Getting policy data into your AMS
While there are a host of AMS systems on the market, automating carrier download functionality to your agency’s AMS is universal. First, when working with Nationwide, you’ll set up a unique account with Ivans, a digital insurance software company. Next, you’ll configure your AMS to receive downloads from the carriers you write business with. To automate carrier download functionality to your AMS, your data exchange account’s mailbox acts as a data warehouse, receiving .xml or AL3 download files pushed daily from the carriers you request. The carrier downloads are then batched and the data is synced automatically to your AMS policy records. So, if someone makes an endorsement to a policy or contacts a carrier directly, your agency’s AMS records will reflect that in the system the following day. Often, your AMS provider can assist you in getting carrier download functionality set up with the data exchange service and offer training as needed.
The pros of AMS carrier downloads
Now that you know what carrier downloads are and how policy data can be synced to your agency’s AMS, consider the following benefits of leveraging such downloads:
- Added efficiency—Having policy details, client communications and commission data in one system—your agency’s AMS—means no more searching through carrier portals, emails or paper files to find or update such information.
- Increased time savings—Eliminating the need to search for and manually reenter data significantly reduces the time spent on administrative and technical tasks. With fewer administrative demands, your agency can focus on doing more value-adding work with clients.
- Greater accuracy—Automating policy data transfer to your AMS ensures what’s covered within policies is accurately represented in the system. Eliminating the need to update policies manually reduces the potential for data entry errors, thus reducing your agency’s E&O exposure.
What’s next for AMS carrier downloads
While today’s AMS carrier download capabilities are comprehensive, technology advancements will continue to expand their depth, breadth and scale. For example, data transfer speeds will likely improve, with the potential to deliver data to your agency’s AMS directly from a data exchange service. Downloads may also evolve to include more formats and expanded lines of business, such as life, farm and agriculture. Beyond data enhancements, technology advancements could enable your agency to service policies through your AMS, therefore simplifying activities such as updating deductibles and revising coverage limits.
Action steps for agents
The more complete and up to date your policy data is, the more efficient your agency runs. Carrier downloads are a great way to keep your client and policy information accurate within your AMS. If you haven’t automated carrier downloads to your AMS, consider the benefits and begin exploring your options. After your system is set up or if you have already taken advantage of data automation, it’s a good idea to conduct an annual review of your carriers’ data downloads, auditing to make sure you’ve opted in to receive all policy, claims, electronic document and message notifications that might be offered.
Supporting digital connectivity
Our goal is to provide independent insurance agents access to tools and solutions that make it easier for them to do business. Nationwide’s agency automation solutions are recognized among the most comprehensive in the industry, supporting more than 35 AMS offerings and a broad array of product types and policy data. In addition to AMS carrier downloads, Nationwide offers appointed agents comprehensive agency automation solutions, including electronic services and quote integration.