AUGIE May Redo Agency Survey

The ACORD User Groups Information Exchange (AUGIE) was scheduled to meet during the ACORD/LOMA Insurance Systems Forum in Orlando on May 21 to discuss, among other things, redoing the massive agency technology survey the group first conducted in 2002.

According to Jerry Fox, president of the AMS Users’ Group and rotational chair for the May meeting, “A lot of people liked [the survey] and we’re still getting requests for it. Some of the information is getting out of date, though.”

AUGIE was formed in August 2000, and the agent survey asked questions of agents, principals and customer service representatives regarding their wants and needs in terms of technology. The key findings of the first survey were that nearly half of the agent respondents pay for technology as it is needed (rather than budgeting for it), and that broadband usage is widespread among agents. The survey also confirmed the conventional wisdom that agents don’t like proprietary carrier systems and don’t appreciate duplicate data entry.

Other key findings of the initial survey, said Pearl River, N.Y.-based ACORD, were that:

o All agents should budget for technology.

o Agents and carriers need to operate on the latest technologies.

o A Web site should be part of an agency’s strategic plan.

“It’s definitely on the agenda,” states Cal Durland, manager, member relations for ACORD, on the idea of a second survey. “It was successful the first time and we’re asking for ideas for the second time around. We’d like to start doing this every two years. It’s something the industry keeps asking for.”

Ms. Durland confirms that ACORD will fund the second survey.

“I think it’s going to be an overwhelming ‘yes’ that we want to do it,” says Fox of the survey. “We may want to add or change/rewrite some questions. It’s two years old, so maybe it’s not that accurate.

“It’s one of those things that is a win-win,” he continues. “ACORD pays for a lot of AUGIE already. Let’s get something that we can get a win out of for everybody.”

The significance of the first survey, Fox says, is that it “gave valuable info to everybody, including carriers from a venue that didn’t exist before. It was completely bipartisan; there was no political swing to it, because all parties were involved in putting it together. It was info that was needed and that everyone knew was needed.”

Responding to criticism of the first survey that little new information came out of the results, Fox notes, “You could say we already knew this stuff and we’re doing the right thing. But [the value is in] how you took a look at it.”

Fox adds that AUGIE has no date in mind to get the second survey started at this point. “What we want is for this group as a whole to say yes we should do it, because this is valuable information.”

Fox also says that some carriers have asked for an AUGIE group they can come to with ideas or from which they can get ideas. “There’s been talk for a long time, so we want to nail it down. It will be a task group within AUGIE,” he says.