Agents Await Online Document Management Programs From Carriers
Online document management programs now being marketed to insurers appear to be a win-cubed situation for agents, companies and customers.
Agents will be able to access policy information online, companies will reap the rewards of saved time and money and added customer services and customers can receive seamless, expanded services, according to a user and vendors.
Richard Canter, a member of the AMS User Group research and development committee and president of Canter Greenman Associates in White Plains, N.Y., says his agency represents 12 carriers. So far, he says, he receives only policy download from those carriers, but he looks forward to the day when their interactions are paper-free.
“What Im anxious to see is the e-policy,” he says, “where companies will have an exact image of the policy on their Web site. The way it would be implemented in our office is that they wouldnt have to send it to us. And we wouldnt have to scan it and enter it into our system.”
Agents, he says, would easily be able to view the policy on the Internet. “Anything we can do to get [companies] to shut off the paper will be wonderful,” he says. “It will save everyone a lot of money and make it very efficient.”
Some agents, he adds, may object to the system, fearing that a falling out with the carrier could mean denied access to customer information. “I think thats unlikely, and you could contractually deal with that through your agency agreement with the company,” he says.
One company that is marketing these services to carriers is FileNET, Costa Mesa, Calif. John Greene, senior product manager at FileNET says the agency will be able to view any document online, including policies. Its up to the company to decide who views what documents.
FileNET, he says, offers a “family” of integrated products called the Panagon Enterprise Content Management Solutions. At the core of these products are image and content services.
Greene says Panagon is marketed to insurers of all sizes. Documents from customers can be scanned into the system and important data such as claim numbers, account numbers and customer names are stored where they can be readily retrieved.
A “Web-client front-end,” he says, allows companies to decide who has access to documents and at what point agents, other companies or end users can directly access those contents.
An agent, he explains, would be able to fill out a document online that would be “moved throughout the approval process or the contact creation process.” The end result might be another document that “could be pushed out to the agent,” Greene notes.