the SOLUTION - Insurance Visions!

the SOLUTION - Insurance Visions!
the SOLUTION
www.eCertsOnline.com
Designed for: Agencies
www.eCertsOnline.com
Contents of this Document
Introduction .............................................................................................. 2
Current Systems ....................................................................................... 2
Agency Benefits ....................................................................................... 2
Increased Productivity.............................................................................. 3
System Integration.................................................................................... 4
Custom Forms & Programs ...................................................................... 4
Branding ................................................................................................... 4
Training .................................................................................................... 4
Site Operation........................................................................................... 5
Endorsements ........................................................................................... 5
Reduced Limits......................................................................................... 6
Multiple Named Insureds ......................................................................... 6
Customer Self-Service.............................................................................. 7
Agency Approval Mode ........................................................................... 7
Renewal Processing.................................................................................. 8
Archiving.................................................................................................. 9
Specialty Modules .................................................................................... 9
Condominium Unit Owners .......................................................................... 9
Transportation Module ...............................................................................................10
eCerts on CD .......................................................................................... 10
Security................................................................................................... 11
Competitive Advantage .......................................................................... 12
Is eCertsOnline Right For Your Company............................................. 12
Another Value Added Product by
Insurance Visions, Inc
P.O. Box 11829-1829
Santa Ana, Ca 92711-1829
(800) 497-9996
(714) 285-4282 fax
Revised: April 15, 2008
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the SOLUTION
INTRODUCTION
You are undoubtedly aware that as an agency owner, not only do you drive the agency’s philosophy
and culture on the use of technology, you also bear the responsibility for its contribution to the
agency’s bottom line profits. A critical component of that responsibility is the review of workflow
processes and implementation of those strategies that make those workflows more efficient, and thus
more profitable. This permits the introduction of new technologies that solve specific business
problems and also enhance the agency’s competitive position while projecting a positive, modern
image to its customers.
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CURRENT SYSTEMS
Unfortunately, the first step in that process may also prove to be somewhat disconcerting, particularly
as it applies to the issuance of Certificates of Insurance, the single most expensive and most often
used form in your management system. This usually occurs when it becomes apparent that the
systems currently in use are not adequate to meet all of the agency’s requirements and rather than
gaining efficiencies and saving money through the application of automation, these same systems are
actually costing 5-8 times more than other available processes such as eCertsONLINE. Further, the
additional cost associated with these inefficiencies simply don’t go away over time since they are
repeated every time a certificate is issued by your staff, and that only serves to dilute your technology
investment. This is not a criticism of those systems, only a factual analysis - they were never designed
to perform more than only a small fraction of a very complex and sophisticated process.
To put this into perspective, several studies have concluded that when a certificate is issued through
most currently available management systems, the issuance costs average from $4.00 - $7.00 for a
simple, plain-vanilla type of certificate. If additional wording is required or a specific endorsement is
needed, the cost easily doubles or triples. Further, other studies show that the average cost for mailing
an envelope is not thirty-nine cents but two dollars and fifty cents. When multiplied by the number of
certificate documents mailed every day, the true cost of certificate issuance is staggering. Using
eCertsONLINE reduces the issuance cost of even the most complex type of certificates by 60% - 70%,
and if customer self-service is provided, the overall savings increases to 80% or more.
AGENCY BENEFITS
With eCertsONLINE, maximum benefit to the agency is derived by use of its integrated systems. It is a
turnkey solution for single or multiple location agencies that completely automates the certificate
issuance process while reducing overall operating costs since:
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•
eCertsONLINE is entirely browser based so there is no software to install or maintain
•
Web hosting is provided by a Tier 1 provider with redundant power generators, 24x7 security
guards, and multiple daily back-ups
•
All agency functions within the program are seamlessly integrated
•
Once and done processing eliminates multiple handling of documents
•
eCertsONLINE is database driven so all documents are attached and automatically print at the time
of issuance through both the new and renewal processing cycles
•
The program is web based and can be deployed globally in a matter of minutes
•
Available 24x7 from anywhere in the world, customers can self-serve their own certificate needs but
only with the specific approval of the agency
•
Worldwide electronic delivery eliminates mailing costs and is the least expensive method of
document delivery ever devised. Delivery via Fax, U.S. Mail, or UPS Next Day Air is also available
•
Renewal processing is accomplished with a few clicks of the mouse.
Another added benefit of using eCertsONLINE is immediately achieved by those agencies that have
acquired other agencies over time and as a consequence, the branch locations are now using a myriad
of automation systems each with dissimilar and often inadequate certificate processing capabilities.
Rather than scrapping existing systems, eCertsONLINE's automated capabilities instantly become
available nationwide, and this serves to standardize this most important process while completely
avoiding the inordinate cost and inconvenience of changing management systems.
INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY
Due to its integrated design, eCertsONLINE significantly increases employee workflow and
productivity. What may normally take 12-15 minutes or more with most certificate management
systems requires only 2-3 minutes with eCertsONLINE, and by gaining efficiency fewer employees are
required to accomplish the same amount of work while substantially improving overall customer
service. In these difficult times when the pool of qualified employees is shrinking and those that are
available command a hefty premium, doesn’t it make sense to reduce your dependency on additional
personnel and drive down expenses while simultaneously increasing your profits? We think so too
which is another reason why eCertsONLINE is a “can’t lose” situation for any agency that uses it.
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SYSTEM INTEGRATION
eCertsONLINE can accept initial data uploads from most management systems including legacy
systems. Customer, policy, and certificate holder data can be safely imported into eCertsONLINE
making the transition into this web based program easy and painless. Further, for those agencies using
Applied * or AMS * management systems, all critical data including the Certificates can be quickly
uploaded into eCertsONLINE, and at no charge, so you are ready to go almost immediately.
CUSTOM FORMS & PROGRAMS
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Although eCertsONLINE supports ACORD based Certificates of Insurance, we realize that some
carriers may utilize their own specific format, endorsements, etc. eCertsONLINE can also program
customized forms to meet any agency’s needs.
Further, similar to the Certificate of Liability Insurance, the same processing difficulties exist for sending
certification of coverage to mortgagees or loss payees on property risks. For that reason, we have
integrated the Evidence of Commercial Property form into the program so that coverage verification can
also be processed much in the same manner as the Certificate of Liability Insurance. Other forms
included are the ACORD Certificate of Property Insurance and the Evidence of Personal Property.
BRANDING
The eCertsONLINE web site that your staff and customers utilize should be elegantly designed and
reflective of your professional image. For that reason, each page is branded with your company name,
tag line, and phone number. However, eCertsONLINE is also the only site of its type that includes the
capability to change the coloring of the background, menu, titles, and links to match the custom colors
of your own web site, and also displays your logo on every page. We choose to have your company
identity displayed as the provider of this service and not as a billboard advertisement for us. Even if you
don’t currently have a website established, eCertsONLINE can be color coordinated with your company
stationary or flyers and provide you with an immediate web presence for customer servicing.
TRAINING
Although eCertsONLINE is highly intuitive and logical in its sequencing of functions, we provide your
staff with the necessary training to make a smooth transition to this dynamic system. In addition, an
Admin Manual is also provided that outlines all of the program functions in detail. This easy to read
pictorial guide that is written in plain English takes all of the guess work out of the site operation. A
complete User Manual is also provided for those customers that will be self-servicing their own
accounts.
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SITE OPERATION
The agency’s staff login to the Admin side using a secure password and user ID that determines one of
three levels of security. Once the customer’s account and Master Certificate(s) have been set-up, staff
members may add an unlimited number of Certificate Holders and issue certificates on demand.
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At the time of issuance, the completed documents including any endorsements or attachments can be
sent to the recipient via e-mail, fax, U.S. Mail, or UPS Next Day Air with copies optionally sent directly
to the insurance carriers involved. The agency may then optionally print their copies to a local printer
and/or long-term archive their copies on our secured servers.
If customer self-service is permitted for specific insureds, they would have access only to the User side
via a secure password and user ID that determines one of three levels of security. The customer may
only view and issue those specific Master Certificates designated by the agency by adding the
appropriate Certificate Holder information. Once a Master Certificate has been set-up it cannot be
modified or altered by the customer except if authorized by the agency, the GL and Excess Limits may
be reduced (see Reduced Limits)..
At the time of issuance, the completed documents can be e-mailed to the recipient or upon approval of
the agency, they can optionally be sent via fax or U.S. Mail. A complete copy of all documents is also
automatically provided to the agency for review and optional long-term archiving.
ENDORSEMENTS
The Endorsement function is one of the major time-savers available to users of eCertsONLINE. When
additional insured status or a Waiver of Subrogation is permitted by the insurance contracts and
acknowledgement is being provided to the Certificate Holder, it only makes sense that you should also
have the capability to attach an endorsement since additional insured wording in the Description of
Operations section of the Certificate is meaningless without the appropriate policy endorsement (see
side 2 of the ACORD 25). Since endorsement maintenance is non-existent in most management
systems, agencies are now forced to manually complete the required endorsements for each individual
Certificate in their word processor, a painful and time consuming process.
In eCertsONLINE, the endorsement function is fully integrated. This permits endorsements to be
attached to the Certificate with a simple click of the mouse. Once attached, the insured name, policy
number, and certificate holder information pre-fills to the endorsement. This information is also
dynamically updated if, for example, the policy number or Certificate Holder address is changed at the
time of renewal. Upon issuance, the Certificate, endorsement, and any attachments are automatically
printed and may be sent to any number of recipients via e-mail, fax, or U.S. Mail.
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Although eCertsONLINE provides an extensive library of standard endorsements, we’ve also built in the
capability to create, upload, and maintain your own customized library of endorsements whenever you
need them. You can then place more than 25 different fields of data onto your custom endorsements
including the policy number, insured name, certificate holder’s information, and your digitized signature.
In a matter of minutes, your custom endorsement is ready to use. This is critically important especially
at the time of renewal when carriers adopt a revised or updated endorsement and only advise the
agency of the change at the last moment.
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REDUCED LIMITS
This feature is designed for those insureds that do not wish to have their full limits of coverage shown
on their Certificates of Insurance due to contractual terms with a specific certificate holder. In order to
accommodate these larger clients, current management systems require the creation of several Master
Certificates each with differing limits of coverage, and that tends to be administratively cumbersome
and prone to error. To overcome these inefficiencies, the Reduced Limits function was developed.
At the time a certificate holder is added, additional fields will appear that display the current limits on the
Master Certificate for both General Liability and Excess. In the fields immediately adjacent are input
fields that only allow limits that are equal to or less than the limits displayed on the Master. At the time
of Certificate issuance including renewal, the reduced limits will print in the appropriate fields on the
completed Certificate. This completely eliminates the necessity of maintaining numerous Master
Certificates for an insured.
The use of the Reduced Limits feature is strictly controlled by the agency and may be toggled on or off
based on the needs of the particular customer.
MULTIPLE NAMED INSUREDS
Another unique feature that is available in eCertsONLINE is the Multiple Named Insureds function. This
was developed principally for use with larger insureds with multiple entities and locations that require
each individual entity’s name and address to be shown in the Insured section on a completed
Certificate of Insurance. This feature permits the agency to set up a single Master Certficate including
all named insureds rather than a separate Master Certificate for each one as is necessitated by most
management systems.
When this feature is utilized particularly when it is combined with the Reduced Limits feature, it can
reduce the number of Master Certificates on larger accounts from hundreds to a mere handful. Aside
from simplifying the day-to-day maintenance of these types of accounts, just think of the time savings at
renewal when all of the Certificates for all entities can be issued with just a few clicks of your mouse!!
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CUSTOMER SELF-SERVICE
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Admittedly, self-service may not be for every customer. This is why the agency should carefully choose
which customers are to be permitted use of this service since for those with the proper infrastructure
and expertise, self-service does make sense. After all, in many instances these same customers have
been sending fax requests to the agency outlining the specifics for the certificate and now with less
effort, they can quickly and easily self-issue the actual documents whenever they choose thereby
saving the agency labor and handling costs, postage, and equipment wear and tear. By far, this is the
most cost effective method of certificate issuance ever devised and the most convenient for the
customer.
In addition, the agency also has the option of allowing customer self-service for only the simple, plain
vanilla type certificates while leaving completion of those that are more technically complex to the
agency’s staff. In this way, completion of the mundane certificates that drive a significant portion of the
agency’s workload can be transferred online to your customers while also providing them with an
important value-added service. This is in addition to simultaneously reducing your own internal
processing costs.
Further, to eliminate the potential for error by the customer, we have included a preview capability that
displays the entire documentset on-screen prior to actual issuance. The customer may then double
check for typographical errors that may have occurred and make any necessary corrections. This is just
one of several fail-safe mechanism built into eCertsONLINE
AGENCY APPROVAL MODE
Another important feature included in eCertsONLINE is the Agency Approval Mode. During customer
self-service, once the customer has added the proper certificate holder information as usual, a
complete copy of the actual certificate including any attachments and endorsements is immediately
submitted to the agency where it is reviewed in its entirety on-screen. If acceptable to the agency, one
click of the mouse approves and automatically notifies the insured that it is OK to resume the issuance
process. If the certificate is not acceptable, the issuance process is scrubbed, and the customer is
immediately notified of the reason. Once a certificate is rejected, it cannot be processed until the
appropriate changes have been made, and the revised certificate re-submitted to the agency for
approval. This entire approval process as described can be accomplished in less than a minute - we've
made it that easy.
Using the Approval function virtually eliminates any possibility of customer error since issuance cannot
proceed without agency approval, and that is no more risky than if the agency had issued the certificate
itself except there is zero labor costs involved. Further, the approval function can also be used as a
training aid for new users of eCertsONLINE since it may also be utilized by those customers that may
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Designed for: Agencies
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simply feel uneasy with the overall certificate process. Conversely, it also permits the agency to feel
secure that their customers are issuing certificates but only if they have been specifically approved by
the agency's professional staff. In either case, the Approval mode can be turned on or off on a
customer-by-customer basis with just a simple click of the mouse as the mutual confidence levels
increase between the agency and the customer.
RENEWAL PROCESSING
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The renewal process has traditionally been one of the more difficult events for agency operations.
Issuing renewal certificates are absolutely essential to an insured’s ongoing operations yet the
customer’s decision to renew their contracts generally seems to occur only at the last moment with the
resulting chaos usually creating a major disruption to the normal agency workflow. Further with larger
accounts, the renewal function can take several days and require the energies of additional staff
members in order to complete.
With most current management systems, the renewal process goes something like this: Several of your
key staff members are huddled over the laser printer printing piles of Certificates while others are at the
photocopier busy making extra copies for the agency, insurance carriers, and the insured (we haven’t
even mentioned the fun involved in completing and attaching endorsements). In another part of the
office some of the agency’s other highly paid and most technically skilled staff are sitting around the
conference room table stacked high with paper, manually folding and stuffing Certificates into
envelopes for mailing. At the same time in the mailroom, other employees are sealing envelopes,
applying postage, and preparing to rush to the local post office for delivery. In the meantime, phone and
e-mail messages requesting critical customer service are backing up, and in many cases particularly
with larger renewals, this scene can go on for days – an absolute waste of time, money, and resources.
If this sounds altogether too familiar, perhaps you are now ready to consider the alternative.
When using eCertsONLINE, the process is simply a matter of updating the policy data and certificate
holder listing to identify those interests that are no longer required including those certificate holders
flagged as "one-time only" during the course of the year. Then with a few clicks of the mouse,
eCertsONLINE can simultaneously select and issue hundreds or even thousands of certificates with
endorsements and attachments, send copies to all certificate holders on file, archive the agency’s
copies, and also automatically provide copies of the completed documents to the insured and all the
carriers involved – all without your staff having to touch a single piece of paper! What was previously
measured in days of multiple paper cuts and mind-numbing boredom has now been reduced to one
person and a few clicks of the mouse - eCertsONLINE does everything else instantly and automatically.
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To further simplify your renewal processing, we can even manage the entire renewal cycle for you. Our
highly trained staff with over 80 years of insurance experience can import your data, issue the
Certificates, send a copy to each of the Certificate Holders, and also provide the carriers and insureds
with original copies or on a customized CD (see eCerts On CD below). This valuable service is
available to our regular customers at no additional cost and that results in the agency saving effort,
time, and money including eliminating those dreaded cert parties.
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ARCHIVING
Archiving is a function that automatically stores any completed Certificate, Attachment, Endorsement,
and Addenda. At the time the documents are issued, copies of the documents are stored on our
secured servers and in the identical format in which they were issued. These documents may then be
retrieved, viewed on-screen or printed locally. Two separate Archives are automatically provided "Forms Issued Today" and "Forms Issued This Month". All certificates issued during these timeframes
are listed on-screen and may be retrieved and re-printed on demand with a click of the mouse. An
optional long-term archive is also available that stores the completed documents for a period of 10
years so that at any time in the future, these documents may be retrieved using a simple search
routine. Use of the long-term archive function eliminates the filing and storage problems normally
associated with the certificate process yet permits immediate access to these critical documents long
after most state statutory storage requirements have expired.
Further, when an insured requests a Certificate of Insurance via fax, e-mail, or in writing,
eCertsONLINE can also store a copy of the actual request. At the time of issuance, the request is
attached as the final page of the Certificate and stored in the Archive for a period of 10 years. This
feature essentially helps to close the E&O gap between the insured and the broker by maintaining an
exact copy of the insured's original correspondence including the terms and conditions requested. This
feature is also compliant with the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing electronically stored
information (ESI) that went into effect on December 1, 2006.
SPECIALTY MODULES
In addition to eCertsONLINE’s capabilities to manage the certificate process for contractors and
manufacturing type risks, we have created additional specialty functions to meet the unique needs of
other industries.
Condominium Unit Owners – The difficulty normally associated with this class of business has
always been being able to provide the lenders with the timely certification of coverage when a
condominium unit is being purchased by a new owner. The request for a certificate is usually made by
the lender at the last moment just prior to the close of escrow and forces the agency staff to disrupt
their normal work flow and scramble to issue the appropriate documents. Our Condo Unit Owners
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module solves that problem by permitting the individual lenders to self-issue an ACORD 24 online with
the appropriate security, of course. After the agency sets up the Master template, the lender, escrow
company, or legal representative can only add the new unit owner and lender information then
immediately print their copy for the closing. Using this module, the agency staff is able to provide a
superior level of service to the association without the additional work of issuing the documents
themselves.
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Transportation Module – Virtually every trucking company hires owner/operators under
contract to haul their goods, and until now the tracking of the drivers, vehicles, coverage provided, and
premiums charged has been a nightmare for agencies writing these types of risks. At the end of each
month, agencies have been forced to spend untold hours manually compiling information to send to the
insurance carrier and insured, only to have the information challenged at the time of audit either by the
insured or the carrier. That has now changed.
Our Transportation module permits the agency or insured to enter the driver, vehicle, and coverage
information online which is date and time stamped for binding purposes; automatically issue a
Certificate of Insurance to either the owner/operator or vehicle leinholder; issue a state specific ACORD
auto ID card; and also compute the appropriate premium to be charged. It even tracks suspensions and
reinstatement of coverage if the owner/operator temporarily hires on with another company. At the end
of each month and with a few clicks of the mouse, a report is generated in a PDF format for the insured,
and in an Excel format for the agency with all of the transactions during the previous month. These
reports may then be used for billing purposes since they utilize the precise information supplied and/or
entered by the insured. It has never been easier to handle transportation risks then it is now using this
powerful and easy to use module.
ECERTS ON CD
Another feature available is eCerts on CD. Since our long-term archiving function stores copies of
issued Certificates for a maximum period of ten years, after that time the only available records of a
specific Certificate would probably be those contained within your own paper files. And, aside from the
condition of the document ten years hence, being able to locate it would be another matter entirely. For
this and several other reasons we have developed eCerts on CD that stores an exact copy of every
Certificate issued during the calendar year including any Attachments, Endorsements, and Addenda
onto a searchable CD in a pdf format. The CD is completely self-contained, has the same look, feel,
and work flow as the eCertsONLINE web site so no additional software is required. To locate a
Certificate, you would simply place the CD into your CD drive, look-up the name of the Holder that is
listed alphabetically, and click View/Print. The document(s) will appear on screen where it can be
printed through your browser and in the identical format as the original time of issuance.
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This feature also solves another problem - storage. Let us assume that your agency issues 100,000
Certificates a year, and those Certificates are a mixture of both simple and complex types and average
only two pages each. That's 200,000 individual sheets of paper, and if they were neatly stacked and
filed away, the storage requirements alone would be ten, four-drawer file cabinets. If you then add the
cost of printing, equipment wear and tear, alphabetizing, and the cost of the file cabinets, the storage
cost begins to escalate considerably, and this is for one year only. In comparison, the entire 200,000
sheets of paper can be stored into perpetuity on four (4) easy-to-use customized CD's.
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We also utilize this same concept for the benefit of your customers. We can provide them with copies of
their Certificates on CD at policy renewal, at the end of the calendar year, or whenever directed by you.
Each CD is elegantly designed, and customized with your agency name and logo, the insured's name,
and a description of the contents. This eliminates the printing, handling, and postage normally
associated with mailing Certificates to the insured and also eliminates their storage problems as well.
SECURITY
The security within eCertsONLINE is not just another function but is interwoven into the very fabric of
the program:
•
Access to the program is controlled through a series of User ID's and Passwords.
•
Advanced 128 Bit encryption technology keeps confidential data safe and secure.
•
Three levels of security are included on both the Admin and User side.
•
Once a Master Certificate has been set-up by the agency it cannot be changed or altered by the
customer.
•
The agency can select which clients will be permitted to self-service their Certificates.
•
If self-service is permitted, the agency can specifically select those Certificates the customer can
issue.
•
The agency controls if the client may input data of any type in the Description of Operations section
of the Certificate or may choose to have pre-determined wording automatically appear.
•
The Approval mode permits the agency to review completed customer self-serviced Certificates and
may either approve or reject them prior to actual issuance.
•
Copies of all self-serviced Certificates are automatically sent to the agency for review and
immediate archival.
Overall security is taken very seriously, not only to safeguard the confidentiality of critical data but to
also ensure that errors can be prevented from occurring in the first place.
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COMPETIVE ADVANTAGE
Attracting new business is never easy and competition has become more intense particularly as
servicing capabilities are being moved out of the back office and onto the Internet. Today’s competitors
are no longer just the agency down the street - they are now in the next city or even a neighboring state
promising your prospects and customers every convenience imaginable. Instead of merely being
reactive to this type of challenge, wouldn’t it be nice to offer a superior customer service even before
they ask? Rather than visiting a client at renewal with only a proposal and an invoice for a 25%-50%
premium increase, offering customers self-servicing capabilities of their certificate needs may be just
enough of an edge to switch the odds into your favor.
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IS ECERTSONLINE RIGHT FOR YOUR COMPANY?
Probably, but don’t take our word for it – prove it to yourself. Using the chart below, determine the
average cost per minute of your employees' time then use the following five-step process to determine
if eCertsONLINE will work for you:.
A. Hourly Wage
B. Other Benefits
C. Total Wages
D. Cost Per Minute
$ 15.00
$ 4.50
$ 19.50
$ 0.325
$ 20.00
$ 6.00
$ 26.00
$ 0.433
$ 25.00
$ 7.50
$ 32.50
$ 0.541
$ 30.00
$ 9.00
$ 39.00
$ 0.650
A. Hourly Wage
B. Cost for Other Benefits such as Bonuses, Vacation & Holidays, Sick Pay, State and Federal
payroll taxes, group medical, Workers’ Comp, E&O, (averages 25% - 32% depending on the
State – we use 30%)
C. Total Wages (A + B)
D. Cost for each minute of Workers’ time.
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1. Review your current certificate program from top to bottom. Walk a certificate through your process
from start to finish and examine precisely how every function is performed and by whom. How long
does it take? What improvements, if any would make it more efficient? Does a dedicated,
centralized certificate unit make sense?
2. Compute the time required to issue a simple certificate, and also those that are more complex. How
long does it take to complete an addendum or endorsement in your word processor and attach to
the Certificate? Multiply the time by the Cost Per Minute indicated above. In addition to the labor
cost, also include such items as paper, envelopes, toner, postage, and equipment wear and tear.
This will provide you with an accurate baseline for any comparison purpose.
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3. Make a “wish list”. If we lived in a perfect world and an absolutely perfect system were available,
what would you want it to do, and how would you want it to operate?
4. Compare the features described above with your current Certificate system. How does it measure
up? Are you really getting the productivity gains you were promised?
5. Call us for an online tour – no obligations of course. It will be the most informative 30 minutes you
have spent in quite some time.
While we cannot guarantee, nor for that matter can anyone else, that eCertsONLINE or any other “out
of the box” program will meet all of your individual requirements, you will be pleasantly surprised how
close to perfect eCertsONLINE already is. But then, you’ll never know unless you see it for yourself.
eCertsONLINE is guaranteed to outperform any certificate management system in use today.
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