August 18, 2015
SIRC Summit 15' Recap
By: Teresa Harris
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 collectively to help guide development of the Sircon for States product. SIRC is comprised of 9 committees that meet monthly to review upcoming software releases, discuss requested software changes, and share best practices.
By hosting the Summit in East Lansing, state customers and Vertafore staff have the opportunity to meet in person to share both business and technical information and priorities. The SIRC Summit also enables attendees to network with their counterparts in other states who are using the same technology solutions. Having these customers onsite complements the visits that Vertafore conducts at numerous state capitals throughout the year.
This year's theme was Lean Government, introduced by Office Rocket's Carlos Venegas. The primary goal of lean initiatives is to eliminate waste. Some of the main challenges in becoming Lean include being too adverse to risk, incompatible or outdated systems, conducting too many meetings that aren't effective, mishandling of conflict, and misuse or underutilization of creative talent.
Representatives from Colorado presented an example of how their state is currently putting lean principles into practice, demonstrating and validating the benefits of the lean practices Carlos introduced earlier.
In a past post, I discussed the benefits of Maryland's recent implementation of Sircon services. Katrina Lawhorn, Education Specialist, Maryland Insurance Administration, was able to present and discuss the success of this recent implementation as well as the key factors that enabled the project to be completed successfully and on time.
Brian Gaudiose, Deputy Commissioner, Agent Regulation & Administration, Virginia Bureau of Insurance, provided a great transition at the end of day one by discussing Lean processes and moving towards the future of regulation. He talked about the importance of organizational constraints and staff challenges as well as how we can prepare for the future. It was particularly interesting when he noted that many of our regulatory experts are eligible to retire; so, being prepared for that transition requires innovation.
States must review internal processes to identify obsolete, non-uniform, or non-reciprocal processes and how they can be redesigned to be more effective and efficient. Brian stressed the importance of innovation and leveraging technology to keep up with the inevitable future – a future where millennials who view the world differently will be in leadership positions.
Our final presenter, NIPR's Executive Director, Karen Stakem-Hornig, provided insights to our regulatory customers regarding NIPR's unique relationship with Vertafore as an authorized business partner (ABP), as well as a solution provider for regulators. She also described how Vertafore and the NIPR work together to help states become more efficient using lean principles and technology. (Vertafore, NIPR's largest ABP, submits close to 50 percent of the NIPR's total transactions.)
Ms. Hornig also shared her knowledge on the new NARAB legislation. Although the official NARAB board hasn't been announced, she gave a quick overview of the objective of the board: To set official standards for non-resident licensing on a membership basis. January 2017, two years after the passing of the bill, we should expect to see the official NARAB launch.
On the second day, Vertafore presented our vision for our Sircon regulatory and integrated industry solutions, emphasizing how we're helping states become more Lean with an improved user experience, more effective workflow management and reporting, enhanced industry portals, and optional advanced document management.
In fact, a quick skit was performed showing 75 percent fewer steps to complete the approval of a license application versus the current process, as well as the look and feel of the updated user interface. Attendees agreed that the savings will be significant and will allow them to more effectively handle increased volumes of license applications that Sircon states expect to process.
And a bit of fun
One of the most important goals of the SIRC Summit is networking and sharing best practices between our State customers and their use of Sircon solutions. Our evening events were particularly helpful in achieving this goal. Customers were invited to Michigan State University's Eli Broad Art Museum for a relaxing tour with appetizers and refreshments. Conversations got a little more personal and the competitive sides came out in our final-night Little Hawk Putting Course event. It was very relaxing to close SIRC Summit 15' over barbeque while enjoying the mid-Michigan summer.
In general, it was nice to confirm that our business goals for the future align so directly with the needs of our State customers. We will continue these types of networking events to in order to learn from our state customers and include their feedback in updates to the system. We were thrilled that so many of our customers were able to attend (several even extended their trip for one-on-one sessions with our staff). Events like the SIRC Summit allow us to remain closely connected with our customers and their needs, as well as help them better understand their Sircon solutions to get the most out of their investment in our partnership.
Want a closer view of SIRC Summit 15'? Sign up now for regular e-mail updates or stay tuned with the Sircon blog for the full two-part video recap set to be released in September.
Teresa earned her BA from Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and has been with Vertafore's Sircon solutions for over 22 years. As an account manager for the government side, Teresa works closely with Sircon for States® customers from implementation to ongoing product support. Teresa is one of our original 15 Sircon employees and even assisted in recruiting our first Sircon state.