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January 18, 2017

My Year as SILA President

Sam Meyer SILA President

Sam Meyer talks about his experiences, accomplishments, and lessons learned in a year as SILA president

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January 12, 2017

Q4, 2016 Regulatory Round Up

In closing 2016, we have a short list of updates from Q4 that you should be aware of!

By: Holli Bratt and Leslie Kosal

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January 10, 2017

Sircon Blog 2016: A Year in Review

Compliance and keeping up with regulatory change isn't easy. That's why this year, the Sircon blog features several posts on best practices for specific areas of the industry to ensure we're sharing our knowledge for all areas of the market! Here are just a few of our favorites.

By: Sydney Beaudreault

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January 6, 2017

Repetition is for Robots: A Highlight on Robotic Process Automation

As we take a break from planning the first Sircon release of 2017 with our Vertafore East Lansing development team, it was a true delight to see this article from Insurance Networking News pop up in my inbox today. According to the author, Joe McKendrick, RPA is described as "the automation of processing tasks," which refers to computer software that eliminates repetitive and manual tasks that burdens business today. Sircon subscribers have known the benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for years!

By: Patrick Masi

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January 3, 2017

Carrier Adjuster Licensing Best Practices – Pt.5: How are other carriers managing the process?

So, we've discussed challenges of adjuster licensing; shared licensing, state by state rules, and designated home state requirements; discussed CAT losses and emergency licensing; and discussed simple tricks of managing education and CE. All of these posts aim to help you better understand the ins and outs of adjuster licensing, but I'm sure you're asking yourself – how can I take this knowledge back to my team and implement a better compliance practice for adjuster licensing?

By: Lisa Duling

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December 20, 2016

Carrier Adjuster Licensing Best Practices – Pt.4: Emergency Licensing and CAT Losses

With this year's destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew, many of you may have recently experienced the strenuous processes associated with emergency licensing for catastrophic (CAT) losses. For those that aren't familiar, here is a quick rundown.

By: Jay Davis

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December 13, 2016

ACORD2016 Conference Recap: What's to come on L&A automation

As many of you may be aware, members of the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development, more simply known as ACORD, work tirelessly to improve data exchange and workflows within the insurance industry. By developing electronic standards and standardized forms, ACORD aims to assist carriers and distributors alike in streamlining their business processes, including those related to compliance...

By: Tim Owen

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December 8, 2016

The Clash, The DOL Fiduciary Rule, & The New Administration

In light of FINRA's recent focus on conflicts, how many broker-dealers and other investment firms are singing the tune?

"Should I stay or should I go now?"

By: Neal Hamilton

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October 27, 2016

Carrier Adjuster Licensing Best Practices – Pt.3: Education and CE Fun Facts

In our last post, we discussed the Step 1 in initial licensing processes and for those in states without license requirements, designated home state selection. Step 2 in the process includes completing all education requirements for the state that the adjuster is doing claims in. And as you may be aware, it's not as simple as taking a single exam...

By: Heather Omran

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October 20, 2016

Best Practices for Secure Agency – Carrier Communications Pt. 2

In Part 1 of our series on secure agency – carrier communications, Sydney outlined the security concerns in the industry for both agencies and carriers. Carriers are requesting additional steps in collecting producer information to ensure protected data, which can hold up the onboarding process. It's no surprise that the industry...

By: Kevin Horgan

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October 18, 2016

10 Questions with the NAIC's Chief Technology Officer, Scott Morris

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October 7, 2016

Q3 Regulatory Recap: What's New and What's to Come

State by state changes you should know, and updates on NARAB II, the CLAIM Act, Fiduciary Rule, and more!

By: Holli Bratt and Leslie Kosal

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October 4, 2016

Industry Day 2016: The Secret to Great Partnerships

What constitutes a great business partnership? Or better yet — what is important to customers as they measure the impact of their partnerships? These are important questions to be able to answer to have great customer relationships. Return on investment is an indisputable key measurement for success of any organizational investment. But in addition to...

By: Kip Karwoski

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September 28, 2016

Best Practices for Secure Agency – Carrier Communications Pt. 1

Here at Vertafore, we're always discussing industry concerns followed by ways to automate, and improve overall compliance processes whether that be through uniformity and involving ourselves in industry groups, sharing expertise and best practices, or by providing technology solutions. Recently we have had agencies voice concern with issues submitting producer onboarding forms to carriers. The concern is...

By: Sydney Beaudreault

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September 13, 2016

Culture of Compliance: The $300 Billion Challenge for Compliance Staff

Did you know that fines & litigation costs to firms, or their parent companies, related to cultural failures have resulted in over $300 billion since 2010? That's right, according to a study by the CCP Research Foundation, the total cost of litigation between 2010 and 2015 spilled over the $306 billion barrier...

By: Neal Hamilton

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August 24, 2016

SIRC Summit '16'

Every year, the Sircon team at Vertafore hosts the SIRC Summit, an annual conference for members of the State Insurance Regulators Consortium (SIRC) in Lansing, Michigan. SIRC is a user group for Vertafore's Sircon for States regulatory management system. At the summit, the Sircon team and the user group are given the opportunity to...

By: Teresa Harris

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August 19, 2016

Carrier Adjuster Licensing Best Practices – Pt.2: Understanding licensing and designated home state requirements

One of the greatest difficulties in managing adjuster licensing is the complexities that come from a lack of uniformity between the states. Currently, only 34 states have adjuster licensing requirements for independent adjusters (if you include Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.) So, what does this mean for an adjuster who doesn't reside in one of those states...

By: Jay Davis

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August 10, 2016

Anatomy of a Regulatory Change Pt. 6: Concluding Thoughts

We hope this series provided you some valuable takeaways that you can take back to your business. We have, however, thrown a lot of information for you at once, so here's a compiled checklist from our posts to make sure that you're crossing your t's and dotting your i's...

By: Tim Owen

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July 28, 2016

Mass appointments, renewals, and terminations are easy

Yes, you read that title correctly. Appointing huge amounts of producers at once can be extremely easy. Renewing appointments and terminating them can be too...

By: Neal Hamilton

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July 14, 2016

Mid-2016 Regulatory Round Up

As usual around the middle of the year, we're seeing a LOT of upcoming law changes, so we've compiled a quick state-by-state list of some things you may want to be ready for or be aware of...

By: Holli Bratt and Leslie Kosal

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July 7, 2016

Carrier Adjuster Licensing Best Practices – Pt.1: Are you managing adjuster licensing properly?

Similar to producer licensing, some carriers choose to have their adjusters manage their own licensing or others have a designated person or team to manage adjuster credentials. However, with the complexities of adjuster licensing, we're finding that more and more carriers are taking on the task to ensure that they're not risking...

By: Sydney Beaudreault

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June 1, 2016

Anatomy of a Regulatory Change – Pt.5: Communication is Key

Earlier we mentioned that "communication is key", but we described the Vertafore communications loop only. What about you? When a regulatory change occurs, who do you need to inform? There are several key players that you should make sure you are working with so that things don't go wrong...

By: Patrick Masi

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June 21, 2016

Anatomy of a Regulatory Change – Pt.4: Data Impacts and Process Changes

So we've proactively monitored industry sources to see a regulatory change coming, and we've updated our operational practices so that our team knows how to deal with the changes to compliance procedures. We've done a lot to get this far, but things are about to get really technical, really fast...

By: Patrick Masi

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June 14, 2016

The Buzz from FINRA Conference 2016

The FINRA Annual Conference is an excellent place for expanding your understanding of securities regulations and how to implement them at your firm. Although I have been with the Sircon solutions team at Vertafore for quite some time, this was my first year attending the conference. I?ve only recently become involved with...

By: Chris Gillespie

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June 10, 2016

Industry Update: NAIC Spring Meetings

This spring, NAIC hosted two national conferences: the NAIC Spring 2016 National Meeting in New Orleans at the beginning of April and the Insurance Summit in Kansas City May 16 - 20. The Insurance Summit is a new event that combines separate conferences, including the E-Reg Conference, TechEx, Financial Summit, Market Regulation Summit, PIO Forum, CIPR Symposium and Continuing Legal Education Seminar...

By: Leslie Kosal

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June 07, 2016

Summer '16 Carrier Update Series Pt. 4: Putting You Back In Control with Sales Authorization Profiles

Alright, enough preamble already. You know how sales authorizations can validate new business, you know we could use them to make onboarding more effective, and you agree that self-service in a business application is a good thing. This is the Summer '16 Update Series, it's finally time to talk about the big update coming to Sircon Producer Manager and Producer Express...

By: Patrick Masi

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May 31, 2016

IRI Ops & Tech Conference Recap featuring IRI's Jim Young

Connect, collaborate, execute. These were the three themes of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) Operations & Technology Conference?a forum for operations and technology members within the annuity community. Attendance was up over 35% from last year, with increased coordination and momentum for industry automation initiatives, coupled with the release of the final DOL Fiduciary Rule in April 2016. Engagement is at an all-time high...

By: Tim Owen

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May 26, 2016

Summer '16 Carrier Update Series Pt. 3: Your Business, Your Rules, Our Service

Have you ever implemented an automation system for handling some portion of your business, then realized just how much control you lost? Before your latest IT modernization initiative, it used to be a simpler process when regulatory rules changed. Perhaps you'd notify your team via an email, maybe have a quick training session, and off we go the process has been updated...

By: Patrick Masi

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May 17, 2016

Anatomy of a Regulatory Change – Pt.3: Compliance Best Practices

As Leslie mentioned in the previous post, there are several existing resources and groups that can help you monitor change. However, once you're aware of a potential change or know that a law, statute, rule, or regulation will require change in your business processes, then it is time to act/react. In being responsive, there are three stages including pre, during, and post-change that may have several steps and action items that you should be ready for...

By: Holli Bratt

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May 12, 2016

Summer '16 Carrier Update Series Pt. 2: Not Authorized? Fix it with Automation

In my last post, we learned more about how Producer Manager can help monitor sales activities. We saw it verify a producer's authorization status in real-time by checking that the proper regulatory credentials are in place for the insurance or securities product being sold...

By: Patrick Masi

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May 10, 2016

Anatomy of a Regulatory Change – Pt.2: How to Be Proactive

In Pt. 1: Understanding the Regulatory Change Process, Tim Owen introduced the complex web of interactions associated with regulatory change. In this installment, we're going to examine the beginning of that web. Whether a change is legislative, operational (rules and regs), or technical, the process starts well before the change goes into effect. Proactive monitoring is the first step towards...

By: Leslie Kosal

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May 06, 2016

Fiduciary Rule: Why the industry remains uneasy

The fiduciary rule has been the topic of the financial services industry for quite some time, but now that it has been approved, industry concerns continue to increase. For those that are unfamiliar with the rule, here's the quick scoop: The rule, according to investment news, "requires that brokers act in clients" best interests"when providing retirement planning advice. Although many financial advisors...

By: Tim Owen

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May 03, 2016

Summer '16 Carrier Update Series Pt.1: What is a producer sales authorization?

Preparing YOU, our Sircon subscribers, for the Summer 2016 product enhancements

By: Patrick Masi

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April 19, 2016

Anatomy of a Regulatory Change – Pt.1: Understanding the regulatory change process

I talk to our customers all the time about the importance and difficulties of effectively and efficiently adapting to regulatory changes. Whether it's a regulator, agency, education provider, securities firm, or carrier customer, the same question often seems to surface: What's so hard about it? Here's the short answer. A regulatory change generates an extensive web of dependent and inter-connected changes across all the...

By: Tim Owen

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April 12, 2016

The Carrier Profit Lever: The Only Way to Boost Earnings and Dividends — Now

Big insurance carriers are realizing that automation and cost reduction have become the best route to sustained earnings. This means ideas for innovating internal process are front and center. Are you ready to be an innovation leader? The Sircon team at Vertafore wants to give you the tools you need to drive positive change by rethinking your credential processes to...

By: Neal Hamilton

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March 25, 2016

NetVU 2016

I was blown away at my first ever NetVU Conference. And from my conversations with other first-time attendees, they were just as impressed. Over 200 customers of Sircon solutions attended including agencies and carriers. In mainly attending Sircon-focused sessions, I had the opportunity to speak directly with Sircon users to discuss their business pain points along with how our solutions help address them...

By: Sydney Beaudreault

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March 18, 2016

My Eye Opening Experience at the 2016 LIMRA Distribution Conference

Another LIMRA distribution conference is behind me, which means it's time to share what I learned for those who missed out. I had a great time interacting with folks there, gaining perspective on the state of distribution, and learning about new problems that Sircon solutions can help solve. I highly recommend attending this conference next year if you have any stake in channel...

By: Patrick Masi

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March 11, 2016

Are you prepared for the FINRA Rule 2210 amendment?

As you may already be aware, the SEC has approved FINRAs proposal for an amendment to Rule 2210 ? Communications with the Public, but with implementation deadlines nearing, we're addressing a few questions that we've heard from our customers to help prepare you! Here's a quick overview of the rule: This requirement means that each of a member firm's websites must include a...

By: Doug Vincens

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February 23, 2016

One Compliance Lesson You Can Learn from Zenefits

You may have seen Buzzfeed's first report on a controversy concerning the software company, Zenefits. In a nutshell, Zenefits provides a "benefits software program" that manages employee health benefits, timecards, payroll, and other HR related back office tasks. The software is free of charge, but organizations must replace their current agent with a Zenefits agent, allowing Zenefits to be paid commissions. Zenefits then...

By: Sydney Beaudreault

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February 11, 2016

The NetVU16 countdown has begun!

March 3rd is approaching fast which means we're getting closer and closer to the 2016 NetVU Conference. As of DATE, we have 128 carriers and 979 agencies with a grand total of 1676 registered to attend! For those of you that don't know what NetVU is, NetVU is the Network of Vertafore Users that come together to advocate innovation in the insurance industry...

By: Dane Sprecher

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February 02, 2015

Sila Highlights

RunningStart2016

Successful carriers, securities firms, agencies, and education providers constantly evolve, hurdling over obstacles to keep their business humming. This takes savvy professionals who have fingers on the pulse of change and know how to leverage it for a competitive edge.

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January 29, 2016

Master Compliance with Connections

Whether you're an agent or you work in an agency, you're probably familiar with the processes necessary to keep your licensing and continuing education (CE) information up to date. In last year's "Are You Managing Your Producer Credentials Efficiently?" post, I discussed how people today are trying to make this process as efficient as possible; however, we found that the most common practices...

By: Scott Gillahan

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January 19, 2016

Sircon Listens: What Are Carriers Asking?

Carriers have a lot on their plate. As regulations continue to evolve, a licensing specialist will need to understand the regulations and figure out how to modify their operational practices without negatively affecting the agent experience. It's not a trivial task. The most forward-thinking carriers look to experts for help, and that's where Sircon comes in. However, it's not just carriers getting information out of Sircon services...

By: Patrick Masi

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December 22nd, 2015

Sircon's Top Blogs of 2015

This year, Sircon blog subscription has almost doubled! So we would like to extend a big Sircon thanks to you, the reader, our subscribers, and all of our wonderful guest bloggers. With the year coming to a close, here's a roundup all of our most read posts (and a few of my personal favorites) for you to read as you prepare for 2016.

By: Sydney Beaudreault

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December 15, 2015

How Life, Health & Annuity carriers can become easier to do business with

A key goal of the 34th annual NAILBA national conference in Orlando in November was to provide a more intimate setting for carrier's to share product updates and hear the latest information from industry experts to improve growth and retention for the life brokerage community. This year's focus was on the role that Broker General Agencies (BGA) perform to grow business and improve...

By: Dane Sprecher

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December 10, 2015

Carriers: Best Practices for Managing Producer Data

Earlier this fall, we spoke about the importance of keeping your producer data up to date and accurate in this webinar. With poor producer data, your business can face lengthy onboarding times, delayed sales, potential audit failures, and some pretty unhappy agents. To steer you away from that bumpy road, here's 7 things that you can do to more efficiently manage your producer data...

By: Dalen Feighner

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December 4, 2015

NSCP Conference Recap: Lessons in Compliance Risk

At the 2015 National Society of Compliance Professionals (NSCP) conference in November, the conversations I had and heard were focused on how business risk can be reduced with the use of technology, and how to eliminate misunderstandings associated with compliance risk. The NSCP conference offers some of the most in-depth educational opportunities for compliance professionals in the financial services industry to...

By: Dane Sprecher

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November 24, 2015

FINRA Rule 3110(e): How Pro-active Monitoring Can Help You Comply

At the recent SILA National Education Conference, the update to FINRA Rule 3110(e) and its resulting burden placed on member firms, generated quite a bit of chatter during the FINRA sessions. As you are likely aware, FINRA has been using a public records search vendor to identify potentially missing disclosures and then notifying the firms to address any discrepancies immediately. In most cases...

By: Doug Vincens

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November 17, 2015

4 Things You Missed at ACORD2015

In our recent guest post with Sandy Hampel, we discussed our relationship with ACORD and the importance of getting involved with the organization. ACORD plays a crucial role in improving the industry's communication through creation of forms and data standards. A key challenge in the industry is that ACORD standards, forms, and best practices aren't as widely adopted as they could be...

By: Patrick Masi

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November 12, 2015

Carriers: 3 Ways to Get Ahead in 2016

With 2015 coming to a close and 2016 rapidly approaching, you have probably established your long-terms goals and you are working to finalize the near-term 2016 goals. You not only want these goals to improve business now, but increase your long-term success and competitiveness as well. Let's start with the near-term goals. How can you gain efficiency, enhance long-term success, and...

By: Sydney Beaudreault

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November 6, 2015

Top 4 Things Carriers Should Avoid to Improve Agent-Carrier Communication

Many carriers have created customized agent onboarding, retention, and termination processes. If you are like them, you may not be aware of the work being done by industry organizations to create best practices, standards, and forms for these critical processes. By adopting these best practices, some carriers are leading the industry and standardizing agent communications for these key interactions. If your organization...

By: Patrick Masi

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October 27, 2015

How to Handle a Security Breach as told by NAIC's Cybersecurity Bill of Rights

It's cybersecurity awareness month! Improving cybersecurity has jumped to the top of many organizations' lists due to this year's increase of security breaches. Industry leaders preach best practices and principles, how to share information securely, and overall guidance for preventative measures. However, data breaches are continuing to happen, leaving consumers at risk. The NAIC's Cybersecurity Task Force has been proactively responding to the industry's...

By: Sydney Beaudreault

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October 20, 2015

Sila Highlights

SILA 2015 Conference Highlights

With more ways to communicate than ever, connecting with the industry and regulator community face-to-face is irreplaceable. Making and renewing connections was front and center as 40 members of Vertafore's Sircon solutions team attended the 2015 SILA National Education Conference in Nashville last week...

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October 06, 2015

Carriers: This is what Agents Expect from You

The never-ending challenge of recruiting the most capable, highest performing producers is full of surprises. What made you stand out as a carrier of choice one year is quickly surpassed by a competitor's new, flashy product or compensation plan. Throw in the technological expectations of the emerging generation of producers and it's enough to make your head spin. But don't fret. You have one characteristic that you can always count on to make...

By: Neal Hamilton

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September 29, 2015

Why Carriers Should Attend NetVU16

What is NetVU? The Network of Vertafore Users is the industry's largest, most active independent user group. With 23,000 member firms across the country, the user group includes agencies, carriers, MGA's. More popularly known as NetVU, the Vertafore user group promotes three core values: 1. Advocacy 2. Education 3. Networking. Members can participate in chapter meetings, online discussions, and conferences to gain product knowledge, quickly address issues, and help shape the future...

By: Dane Sprecher

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September 22, 2015

5 Things You Need to Know About Recent Regulatory Changes and Proposals

With a regulatory environment that is constantly changing, Vertafore's Sircon solutions team monitors updates for impacts to operations and technology. This year in particular, there have been a high number of regulatory changes and proposals driven by policy goals and the goal to improve regulatory uniformity.

By: Tim Owen

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September 17, 2015

Budget Season: 3 Ways to Clean Up Your Producer Data without Breaking Your Budget

As budget season comes to a close, things may come up that you haven't quite accounted for. For example: How's your producer data accuracy? In our recent blog, Carriers: 3 Signs Its Time to Dust Off Your Producer Data, Neal Hamilton discussed the consequences of having bad producer data. Data cleanups are necessary to avoid compliance risks, lengthy onboarding time, delayed sales, and audit failures. Don't worry. If you forgot to include a project to update your producer data ...

By: Patrick Masi

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September 15, 2015

Just-in-Time Appointments Update: How will these potential changes affect you?

Back in May, Patrick Masi raised some questions from the SILA conference regarding Just-in-Time (JIT) appointments and the authorization process. With the SILA 2015 National Education conference right around the corner, those questions are slowly being reviewed and answered. At the August NAIC National Meeting in Chicago in August for example, the NAIC Producer Licensing Working Group (PLWG) continued discussions that started at last year's SILA conference regarding the language surroun...

By: Leslie Kosal

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September 03, 2015

Part 2: 10 Questions with NIPR's Executive Director, Karen Stakem Hornig

In Tuesday's blog, NIPR's Karen Stakem Hornig discussed NIPR's role in serving the industry and regulators as well as their engagement with ABPs to drive efficiency. Today, we dive a little deeper in discussing the NIPR's future plans as well as the challenges of NARAB II. 5. Vertafore has been a long standing ABP with the NIPR, however many regulators, carriers, and agencies may not be aware of the role ABPs play and the value added solutions we offer. Please describe th...

By: Karen Stakem Hornig

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September 01, 2015

Part 1: 10 Questions with NIPR's Executive Director, Karen Stakem Hornig

Vertafore works closely with the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) as an Authorized Business Partner (ABP) to deliver insurance licensing, appointment, and data reconciliation services. NIPR plays a critical role in implementing uniform electronic services to the insurance industry. Vertafore's relationship with NIPR is unique because we both serve the insurance industry, as well as State regulatory agencies. Karen Stakem Hornig joined NIPR as a new executive director in July 201...

By: Karen Stakem Hornig

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August 25, 2015

What do agents expect from their carriers?

We've stressed the importance of agent experience for quite some time by sharing best practices on attracting new agents, and improving agent experience and retention rates, including proactive sales authorization, quick and easy onboarding, improved agent portals, and automation of manual tasks. With several opinions on how to improve the agent experience, we sought to dive a little deeper to discover agent's top priorities and must haves in a business relationship. An Agent-centere...

By: Dane Sprecher

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August 18, 2015

SIRC Summit 15' Recap

In July, Vertafore's Sircon team in East Lansing hosted the SIRC Summit, an annual conference for members of the State Insurance Regulators Consortium (SIRC). The SIRC User Group is made up of state insurance departments that use our Sircon for States regulatory management system. Sircon for States is a dynamic web-based solution and SIRC members are active participants in providing feedback to Vertafore regarding enhancements to the system. SIRC was established to enable the States to work coll...

By: Teresa Harris

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August 11, 2015

Industry Day 2015: The Sircon® Vision Revealed

For the past 8 summers, Vertafore has invited customers to East Lansing to present to over 100 of our Sircon employees for what we call Industry Day. Industry day is a great opportunity for our Vertafore staff who focus on Sircon solutions to have a common understanding of how our customers understand at and use our solutions. Our overall goal of this event is to bring greater value to our customers today and in the future by listening to their needs and feedback on our products and services. Th...

By: Kip Karwoski

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August 04, 2015

Carriers: 3 Signs It's Time to Dust Off Your Producer Data

It's time to talk about the glaring signs that your producer data is out of date and inaccurate, clogging up your distribution channel services and creating compliance risk for your organization. In this post I'll help you prime your pipeline and avoid market conduct exam failure by going over the three primary signs that it's time to dust off your producer data. The three primary signs of poor producer data quality are: 1. Lengthy Onboarding Times In this day and age, ...

By: Neal Hamilton

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July 29, 2015

Part 2: 10 Questions with ACORD's Director of Life & Annuity Implementations, Sandy Hampel

In last week's blog, Sandy Hampel discussed ACORD's objective in providing professional and technical help for the insurance industry. In partnership with Vertafore, ACORD has made numerous strides to improve day to day business processes in the insurance industry. Now that you've got a little more background on ACORD, read more as Sandy Hampel continues to discuss business best practices and reveals new initiatives. 1. ACORD recently did a webinar in conjunction with SILA on ...

By: Sandy Hampel

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July 21, 2015

Part 1: 10 Questions with ACORD's Director of Life & Annuity Implementations, Sandy Hampel

Not only is it important for Vertafore to participate in ACORD to bring the value and benefits to our customer base, but it's equally important for you, the customer, to be engaged and involved with ACORD so your feedback and needs can be met by Vertafore. It takes collaboration between ACORD, Vertafore, and Vertafore customers to offer solutions that meet your most important needs! Read below for exclusive information from ACORD's Sandy Hampel to learn how getting involved can...

By: Sandy Hampel

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July 14, 2015

Education Providers: Continuing Education Automation Sweeps the mid-Atlantic

For education providers, submitting current and accurate continuing education (CE) information for each state can be time consuming. Today, Maryland is one step closer in simplifying that process with their new automated insurance regulatory application. Save Time with Instructor Tracking When providers initially seek approval for a new course or specific offering for an already approved course, providers are required to identify course instructors before they can be approved. Maryland's previou...

By: Teresa Harris

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July 07, 2015

Let's Work Together to Improve Carrier-Distributor Communication and Automation for Licensing & Appointments

Did you know that various industry leaders have been working together to create best practices to improve carrier-distributor license & appointment automation and communication? How about the push to establish actual business scenarios to standardize the process? These are progressive steps for the industry that the Sircon team at Vertafore is helping with, but we can't do it alone. Thus far, Vertafore has been collaborating with the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), the Association...

By: Tim Owen

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June 30, 2015

IT Best Practices for Data Management

Across many carrier organizations and even large agencies, we've seen various different practices for data management. Many companies have a system for each business unit or functional purpose as well as support staff to manage their own individual data sets. The cost and complexity to your IT team to replicate each piece of data within each separate system becomes exponentially greater as your business grows. Whether it be customer relationship management (CRM), producer compensati...

By: Justin Phillips

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June 24, 2015

Producer Licensing Law Changes in Texas and NARAB II

As many legislative sessions wrap up, one of the more significant changes that you should be aware of is Texas' advance towards producer licensing uniformity. If you got a chance to check out our most recent post, A Call for Continuing Education Uniformity, you may already be aware of the difficulties caused by non-uniformity and the importance of driving change. This law, which just passed in legislature, will move Texas producer licensing closer to national uniform standards. The specif...

By: Leslie Kosal

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June 16, 2015

NetVU Leaders' Summit: Help Shape the Future

Did you know that by being a customer of Vertafore, you're already a member of NetVU? What is NetVU? NetVU, or Network of Vertafore Users, brings Vertafore customers together to share innovative ideas on how to better leverage their Vertafore solutions. Through online forums, Chapter meetings, and Conferences, NetVU offers Vertafore customers a unique opportunity to collaborate with their peers and shape the future of the insurance industry. It is crucial to have a user network so our cus...

By: Dane Sprecher

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June 09, 2015

A Call for Continuing Education Uniformity

Carriers and agencies: Are you looking for a quick and easy solution to retrieve and verify CE status information? Education providers: Are your CE course completion submissions slowing down your business processes? Inconsistencies and Inefficient Processes Agencies and Carriers In a recent survey completed by 200 Vertafore agency customers, 35.7% of agents have unwillingly had a license lapse in the last five years. Late license renewals can cost up to 4x the normal amount — it's cr...

By: Scott Gillahan

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May 26, 2015

Save Time and Get to Market Faster Than Ever with the New ACORD 821 Form

Is onboarding and appointing agents a source of friction between you and your agency or carrier partners? Perhaps you're already aware of, and possibly using, the ACORD standard form for producer information, which has promoted much-needed uniformity and easier business for a few years now. If you're already using the ACORD 821 Producer Information form, we have great news for you. And if you're not, the news we have for you is even better. In the name of standardized (and j...

By: Tim Owen

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May 19, 2015

Just-In-Time Appointments Update

My last post talked quite a bit about how a carrier might track securities registrations for independent reps. This is just one of many operational issues that Sircon will be discussing with the industry at this year's IRI Ops & Tech Conference, this week in Nashville, TN. In addition, we expect that Just-In-Time Appointments will continue to be a hot topic. In fact, significant questions about this practice were raised during last year's SILA national education conference ...

By: Patrick Masi

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May 12, 2015

Getting More Done with Less: An Exception-based Processing User Spotlight

If you've had a chance to participate in recent industry education conferences — such as SILA, NetVU, or the upcoming IRI Operations and Technology conference — you may have run into someone from Vertafore talking about exception-based processing. In case you missed us, exception-based processing is the idea of using automation to take care of routine compliance, so your team of licensing specialists can focus on the difficult exception cases. Recently, I spoke with a customer who had an interes...

By: Patrick Masi

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May 12, 2015

Verifying Securities Registrations ? How Do Carriers Do It?

Insurance carriers have a lot of responsibility when it comes to verifying agent credentials to sell insurance products. Licenses, lines of authority, appointments, education, and contractual relationships are just a few of the selling credentials that carriers are tasked with tracking and managing. The burden of responsibility increases significantly when selling products with a securities component, such as variable annuities, where instead of only dealing with a state department of insurance...

By: Patrick Masi

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May 05, 2015

Maintaining Your Reputation as The Agent's Carrier of Choice

For avid Sircon® blog readers, you may have seen Patrick Masi's The Secret to Becoming the Agent's Carrier of Choice. If not, spoiler alert: carrier's today are attracting agents and getting agents selling faster through improving agents' first experience: onboarding. Learn more from Joanna Hagelberger, Senior Account Manager for Vertafore's Sircon® Solutions, about how you can improve your agent experience with the next step in the process: retenti...

By: Joanna Hagelberger

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April 28, 2015

Agencies: Take Your Licensing Practices from Sufficient to Efficient

By: Dane Sprecher

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April 27, 2015

Are You Managing Your Producer Credentials Efficiently?

In today's digital world, it sometimes surprises me to see how insurance agencies are maintaining and managing producer credentials. Stuck in the Past Agencies are always looking for new ideas to improve processes and become more efficient. But there's a problem: many seem to be stuck in the pre-computing 1960s. However, there have not been many cost-effective options for agencies to easily manage not only their own agency credentials, but also those of their produc...

By: Scott Gillahan

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April 22, 2015

Security Initiatives: NAIC's Cybersecurity Task Force

As a follow-up to our previous post from Tim Owen on producer security, Vertafore's Sircon team is closely monitoring initiatives in the industry today to not only protect producers, but the insurance industry as a whole. How is the NAIC addressing these heightened changes in security? NAIC Spring Meeting Recap During their most recent national meeting, the NAIC made it apparent that a focus on cybersecurity is prevalent throughout the insurance world. Regardless of how well an individual,...

By: Leslie Kosal

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April 07, 2015

A New Day, A New Security Breach: Taking Your Producer's Security Information Seriously

With two major consumer information security breaches in the health industry in recent news, now is the time to also talk about being proactive about protecting the personal information of producers.The Consequences of Being ReactiveRecent reports on the security breaches have many producers in the industry concerned for the security of their personal identification information. Breaches in this industry can give criminals access to social security numbers (SSN), addresses, birthdays, medica...

By: Tim Owen

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March 31, 2015

The Secret to Becoming the Agent's Carrier of Choice

It's a topic that's trending among insurance leaders: How can you improve the experience you provide for your first customer, the insurance agent, to increase placement rates and get them selling faster? It's a tricky concept if you think about it. A "better experience" can mean a lot of different things, which, for a business, means a lot of different areas to place your bets on. Better commission rates? More marketable products? Sure. But those are obvious choices, and you can bet your co...

By: Patrick Masi

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January 13, 2015

NARAB II Signed Into Law by President

The National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act (or NARAB II for short) has passed both the House and the Senate and is now awaiting a presidential signature to be made into law

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July 29, 2015

Carrier of Choice: How to Improve the Agent Experience

The agent experience is your defining characteristic as a carrier.

By: Dane Sprecher

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