In a word, “Wow!”
Thank you to the thousands of insurance professionals who attended Accelerate, powered by NetVU, held recently in Cincinnati. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. And it shows once again that connecting with each other in person is what makes the insurance business so enjoyable.
“The world around us is moving fast, and you’re likely here as a champion for technology, growth and learning,” said Brent Rineck, NetVU past chair and Accelerate Conference Steering Committee chair, at the opening session. But insurance professionals “must be selective and focus on things that truly move the needle.”
NetVU Chairman of the Board Mike Foy told the assembly that the board has passionately pursued greater collaboration with Vertafore. “Our relationship with Vertafore is at an all-time high,” he said. “Their leadership team is listening. They realize that our success truly is their success. They acknowledge when they’ve had some missteps. But most importantly — they are committed to improving and being the leader in insurance technology.”
Foy lauded Vertafore’s commitment to improving customer experience for NetVU members. Cassidy Smirnow, Vertafore chief customer officer, said, “My job at Vertafore is all about the success of our customers. And we know that our customers who are plugged in to NetVU member resources are the most successful.”
The meeting marked the debut of NetVU’s new executive director, Linda Dodson, who said: “Accelerate is unique because … it's 100% focused on the customer experience, with customer-led learning sessions and a host of educational opportunities, customer-support initiatives and networking activities.”
Education was the No. 1 reason NetVU members attended Accelerate. The hundreds of sessions were organized by NetVU volunteers in collaboration with Vertafore based on key Vertafore solutions and business education tracks.
Why are the sessions valued so highly? They’re taught by volunteer peers who are experts because they use those Vertafore solutions every day.
The Executive Management education track, broadened from prior years, drew leaders, executives, principals and owners who wanted to learn more about working on the business even as they work in the business. NetVU’s commitment to expanding this type of opportunity shows that Accelerate will be a key learning ground for leadership.
One of the most rewarding features of the annual conference is the opportunity to participate in a Day of Caring to benefit those in need in the host city. This year NetVU volunteers lent a helping hand to Cincinnati’s Lighthouse Youth & Family Services. In a spirit of camaraderie and fun, they assembled 1,000 hygiene kits and 1,000 snack packs in record time.
The industry’s best solution providers were on display in the sold-out Accelerate exhibit hall. They delivered a plethora of opportunities for attendees to see how existing and emerging tools might help them drive growth for their firms.
Accelerate as a three-day national event can be highly valuable to attendees and the firms they represent. Members also have opportunities throughout the year, both locally and online, to gain education and build connections.
What else is available? Members can:
The next Accelerate, powered by NetVU, is scheduled for April 29–May 2, 2020, in Minneapolis. Let these reviewers of this year’s conference convince you to put Accelerate on your calendar now:
Vertafore’s Customer Success party at Accelerate moved onto the field of play at the Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds.
Customers rocked the night away to a lively band, played games, interacted with the team’s mascots, and enjoyed time with new and old friends. And 300 lucky customers even stepped up to home plate for batting practice.
Vertafore’s customer experience initiatives extend well beyond the night, though. At Accelerate, Vertafore highlighted the three components of its Customer Success Program launched in fall 2018:
Amy Zupon, Vertafore CEO, said: “Vertafore serves more insurance industry customers than anyone else in the sector, so our users have a unique opportunity to make the most of their insurance technology investments. Our Customer Success Program is all about helping them do just that, and it was gratifying to see such an enthusiastic embrace of the program at Accelerate.”
Marking its 50th year in business at 2019’s Accelerate, Vertafore launched its All Stars program, honoring 50 individuals driving impact in the independent agent industry.
Vertafore also debuted its new Client Portal app at Accelerate. Sitting on the front end of the agency system, the Client Portal empowers Vertafore users to provide an even better experience to their customers with 24/7 via mobile tools, including online applications and certificates. Client Portal promotes customer success by giving agencies a simple, intuitive way to provide better service to their insured customers, even while on the go, Vertafore noted.
Accelerate, powered by NetVU, highlighted powerful, effective leaders, volunteers and contributors who are transforming the insurance industry in ways large and small.
The event, held in Cincinnati May 21-23, featured a special awards gala “honoring our industry’s best and brightest,” noted Mike Foy, NetVU chairman. He and Cassidy Smirnow, chief customer officer, Vertafore, co-hosted the gala.
Following are the award recipients:
The Automation Excellence Award, Agency Category, was presented to
Jones Wenner Insurance Partners (and accepted by George Dadas, Joyce Sigler, Craig Hassinger and Whitney Malone) in recognition of its commitment and achievement in automation, leading to a serious impact on efficiency, profitability and streamlined operations. Also exemplary is its role in helping peer agents and carriers the agency works with.
Often an early adopter with new Vertafore solutions, Jones Wenner makes the commitment to understanding how to adapt new approaches and make them work on the ground. Then, once a feature is rolled out to other customers, they educate and raise awareness with the NetVU community.
The Automation Excellence Award, Carrier Category, was awarded to
Chubb (and accepted by Kulsoom Gul) for its point of differentiation: “Walking the talk” in automation and making it easy for agents to work with them.
Chubb improved its commercial lines digital marketplace, making it easier and quicker to write small commercial lines policies. Features like this help agents be more efficient and help the industry overall.
Rick Morgan (Work at Home Vintage Experts) was named the winner of the Insurance Technology Advocate Award in Memory of Wade S. Dunbar Jr. Morgan was recognized for pushing carriers, agents and industry organizations to do better as an industry by thinking beyond organizational goals and by doing more to support the agent and the consumer experience.
The Vertafore Champion Award, recognizing the agency, carrier or MGA that champions Vertafore in the marketplace, was presented to James B. Oswald Companies (and accepted by Jennifer Morrisey). The firm was recognized for its practice of providing Vertafore with constructive feedback on trends and their potential impact on tech solutions and suggesting improvements.
The Vertafore Challenger Award was given to Higgins & Bolduc Agency (and accepted by Danielle Marquis), for challenging Vertafore by giving insight about the work day of an agent.
The Joseph M. Rackley Memorial Award honoree was Shannan Broughan, senior system coordinator of Propel Insurance, Tacoma, Washington. She was recognized for her passion in helping her agency team adopt ImageRight by creating three learning tracks based on team members’ learning styles. The results were remarkable.
The Vertafore Vanguard Award for Innovation, given to a firm that contributes to expanding and growing the industry through its innovative application of Vertafore solutions, was presented to Cannasure (and accepted by Jenna Meyer). A managing general agent in a new market, the firm was recognized for its full utilization of Vertafore’s AIM solution and its embrace of the AIM/ImageRight solutions. Cannasure’s team also shares knowledge with peers through the AIM chapter leadership team.
The Leadership Award in Memory of Louie E. Woodbury Jr. went to Bill Henson, customer success manager at Vertafore. Regarded as one of the creators of the Sagitta solution, he embodies the spirit of “winning together” and puts customers first each workday to help them get the full value from their Vertafore solutions.
The Volunteer Service Award in Memory of James M. Gibson was given to Jim Helton, vice president, Gulfshore Insurance. Helton teaches classes at Accelerate every year. He was noted for his active participation in Sagitta All Users Chapter Inc. (SAUCI) and for instructing many of the NetVU Certified System Administrator (NcSA) certification classes to help others succeed. He also has been active in both the ImageRight and Sagitta workgroups.
Mike Foy, NetVU Chair, named two winners of the Chairman’s Award:
Russ Turrentine of Turrentine Insurance Agency was honored for fitting “the definition of the word volunteer with his time, patience and advocacy. He gives up his time because he is passionate about helping our NetVU member community,” said Foy. Recognized as an advocate for NetVU members, Vertafore products and the independent agent channel as a whole, Turrentine is one of the longest serving active volunteers of NetVU’s work groups.
Also receiving the Chairman’s Award was insurance marketing communications firm Aartrijk, led by Peter van Aartrijk, principal, and Laura Packard, vice president, marketing & client relations, for work in guiding NetVU’s refreshed brand identity, supporting NetVU’s extensive marketing and communications, and helping NetVU raise its profile through the insurance media.
NetVU Chapter MVPs and online community champions as well as graduates of the NetVU Volunteer Development Program were also recognized. Chapter MVPs have established a standard of excellence for "sharing insurance computer knowledge" and for helping other Vertafore product users advance their automation goals. Volunteer Development Program honorees are listed on the NetVU website.
If you’re like many of today’s 50- and 60-somethings, you’re not ready to stop working — and why should you? Outdated cultural notions about the “right time” to retire are gradually being replaced with new models that value experienced workers. While money and access to healthcare motivate many people to stay employed, there’s another compelling reason to postpone retirement: your health.
Researchers have long tried to determine whether retirement is good, bad, or neutral for a person’s health. Is it better to maintain a mentally stimulating job that doesn’t foster the needed time for exercise and relaxation? Or is it better to retire and relax – even though this often leads to eating more and exercising less? Retiring and relaxing might seem to be the right answer – but it turns out that there are several health-conscious reasons to postpone retirement.
1: Reduce specific health risks
In 2012, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health looked at rates of heart attack and stroke in men and women as part of the ongoing U.S. Health and Retirement Study. They found that retirees were 40% more likely to have had a heart attack or stroke than those who were still working. Additionally, when people retire, they often smoke, drink, and eat more – and exercise less. A more recent study by Maria Fitzpatrick at Cornell University and Timothy Moore at the University of Melbourne found that health problems actually get worse after workers qualify for retirement. Specifically, men are 2% more likely to die in the month they turn 62 than in the previous month, due to increases in deaths from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Risk factors for these conditions include lack of exercise and smoking. In 2018, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College released a study that found that working longer is associated with lower mortality, diabetes, and depression risk for both men and women.
2: Maintain cognitive function
As the saying goes, “use it or lose it.” Mentally challenging activities (such as those often associated with employment) help keep your brain alert. Put another way, retirement can accelerate cognitive decline. In 2017, the Whitehall II cohort study looked at cognitive function up to 14 years before and 14 years after retirement and found that declines in verbal memory were 38% faster after retirement compared to before, after taking into account normal age-related decline. Based on data from the U.S, England, and 11 European countries, economists Susann Rohwedder and Robert Willis found that retirement significantly reduces cognitive function.
3: Stay socially connected
Although it seems counterintuitive, when people retire, they often feel more socially isolated. Retirees initially assume they will spend more time with friends and family, but in a paper titled Work, Retirement, and Social Networks at Older Ages, the authors found that retirement actually reduces social networks and interactions. Those who stay in the workforce interact daily with colleagues, form friendships and establish a network of social support. In terms of health, it’s important to stay socially connected. According to an article in the BMJ Journal, people with few social connections or who feel lonely have 29% higher risk of heart disease and 32% higher risk of stroke. And findings from the Social Relationships and Mortality Risk study show that the lack of social relationships is as much a risk factor for death as smoking or obesity.
Beyond the overarching health benefits of postponing retirement, there’s another factor that can have a huge impact on your health: work-life balance. Many workers retire because they no longer want to juggle stressful workloads, doctor appointments, family care commitments, and an inflexible 8-to-5 schedule. With companies like WAHVE, workers have the best of both worlds – the ability to reap the rewards of staying in the workforce while working from home. When workers feel balanced and happy, they are more productive and take fewer sick days. You might even say that WAHVE’s reimagined approach to retirement saves lives.
Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, is founder and CEO of Work At Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE). WAHVE (www.wahve.com) is an innovative contract talent solution that matches retiring, experienced career professionals with a company’s talent needs. WAHVE bridges the gap between an employer’s need for highly skilled professional talent and seasoned professionals desiring to extending their career working from home. From screening to placement, WAHVE is a comprehensive solution to qualifying, hiring, and managing experienced remote talent.
One of our responsibilities as insurance professionals is to lead change. Yes, however reluctant, everyone in the independent agent insurance business is 100% responsible for creating change. If we sit back waiting for others to make change happen, we’re not likely to get the change we need.
You and I can and must take a proactive approach to business relationships. We need to create positive change for our customers, our firms, the industry at large, and (last but not least) ourselves. But how? Here are two ways to start.
Colleagues and friends say that I’m outgoing, and that’s easy to see. Many who know me think that it’d be easy for me to reach out and communicate in any setting.
That is not the case. For example, when my colleagues asked me to conduct Facebook Live videos for a “Member Tip Monday” feature, my first thought was: “No. Not me. Someone else is better at it.”
You must be the change you want to see in the world.
But I realized that even though I was uncomfortable with the idea of the video, I was very passionate about the subject matter. So I had to step out of my comfort zone and face a camera from my home office every Monday.
It wasn’t so bad, and I am still alive! (Check out the video archive on the NetVU Facebook page sometime.)
Somewhere along the way, I learned that speaking in public, regardless of the setting, is a natural fear for most everyone — me included. Making cold calls, dealing with conflicts, small talk, resolving open questions — those are among the tasks I struggle with. A tiptoe outside my comfort zone in these cases typically results in success, however.
I’ve also learned other behaviors that weren’t easy to come by. But more importantly, I learned that when I give energy, I get more in return. (That sounds more like me, right?)
There is a wide body of people that believe they are sending information privately because they are sending using Microsoft Office 365, Gmail, or using a third-party service that sends all messages using transmission layer security.
And they may be right; if secure sometimes is good enough.
There is the notion of “opportunistic privacy” also referred to as “opportunistic TLS”, which sounds pretty cool. It certainly sounds secure.
But what does this really mean? Let’s take a look at deciphering a popular myth about secure messaging.
(Warning, if this article seems too technical, it is important enough that we suggest you forward to your IT consultant.)
With email, many popular services tout secure messaging simply because they enable “Opportunistic” TLS private transmission. This simply means, if the sending server can transmit using secure transmission methods, it does; but if it cannot, it simply transmits the message in plain text, like a message written on a postcard…like your tax, investment, or health ailment details written on a postcard.
Not great; but is it good enough? Well, that may depend on how many servers there are out on the Internet where email TLS transmission does not work. How often does this not work? At least 1 in 10 messages on average sent by Google Gmail or Microsoft servers using opportunistic TLS are sent in plain text, according to them. And for some recipients, 10 in 10 are sent in plain text (click to read more, Tech Essentials article, “Not All TLS is Created Equal”).
But wait, there are also different levels of secure transmission. TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are deemed not to be secure enough for transmission of financials like credit card data (for PCI Compliance). TLS 1.2 is good.
So, what about enabling “opportunistic TLS 1.2” privacy? This generally is not an option (other than with RMail).
Well, wouldn’t it be simpler if the servers simply “enforced” TLS privacy? This also sounds good, but what it really means is that if the message is not able to be transmitted securely, it is not sent at all. Not good. Instant calls to IT staff complaining. Ugh.
What is really needed is a service that can be set to do the following, invisibly to the sender, and just figuring out automatically the best user experience for the recipient. The ideal secure messaging service should:
And even better,
Finally, the ultimate;
Microsoft Office 365 and Gmail don’t accomplish this. But RMail does. RMail does all of this and makes it simple and affordable. Install and try RMail instantly, at no cost. Click here to download for Outlook or Gmail.
To learn more about RPost products, visit www.rmail.com or www.rsign.com
Register with NetVU and enjoy the numerous benefits we offer our members.
I've been having to pull separate reports in AMS360 for every master certificate in order to get a picture of all holders. Is there a better way?
— Heather Verdui
Axis Insurance Services LLC
Franklin Lakes, NJ
Is this report only intended to pull those Cancelled transactions? Do you have your CSRs still enter a Cancellation Confirmation transaction on those policies that cancel on expiration date?
— Sara Sattler
Keller Leopold Insurance
After creating our proposals in Sagitta we normally modify the AMS Word document which could then also be retrieved via Sagitta and file that proposal in ImageRight. How do you ensure you're pulling up the latest proposal?
— Jennifer Hill
Harmon Dennis Bradshaw Insurance Inc.