The first HUG webinar of 2020 was so successful! Over 400 people attended and some asked for additional resources/information. George Patterson, the webinar presenter, has written a Renewals & Rewrites blog to share his procedure with all of you.
HOW YOUR WORKFLOWS CAN AFFECT AGENCY REPORTING
As owners, managers or administrators, we all know the importance of overseeing our book of business. Metrics such as premium volume, loss ratios and close ratios are items that are critical to measuring an agency’s success. Additionally, there is the need to be aware of policies lost and policies added in order to identify trends in your organization. This makes the need to check these metrics often, sometimes even daily, a must.
The owners and developers at HawkSoft understand this. That’s why in May of 2017, they rolled out Agency Intelligence reporting with version 3.16. This tool allowed real-time information on several agency Key Performance Indicators, or what is known as “KPIs”. These KPIs can be customers added, customers lost, policies in-force for the agency, average premium per policy and so on. The report can be accessed by users that have been granted permission by going to the menu bar in CMS and selecting Reports > Agency Intelligence.
One of the biggest challenges that agencies currently face with the reliability of data in Agency Intelligence is the information recorded by its users. Because CMS looks to General Policy Information fields such as Status, Source and Inception Date, it makes the proper recording of this information vital to receive the correct results in Agency Intelligence.
Two of the most common transactions that will cause data to be inaccurate in Agency Intelligence are the rewriting of a current policy to a new carrier and policy renewals that require manual input. In this blog, we will take the opportunity to outline the best practices for recording these types of transactions. This is one way to ensure that you are getting the best data possible in your agency metrics.
RECORD THE REWRITE OF A POLICY
As independent agents, it is often necessary to rewrite a policy for an insured from one carrier to another. The steps to record this properly in CMS are also necessary in order to take full advantage of the Agency Intelligence reporting and analytics features in CMS. The following is a step-by-step guide to achieve this.
1. Retrieve the client in CMS.
2. Select the policy tab of the policy for which you are rewriting within the agency.
3. First, record the cancellation and replacement of the current policy. Start an Action and indicate the steps leading to the cancellation of the present policy with the last step being Change Policy Status. For example: Walkin > From > Insured > Change Policy Status.
4. After choosing Change Policy Status, the next option will display statuses to select from. From this list, choose Replaced.
5. After choosing Replaced, you will then be presented with a list of reasons or Sub-statuses to further define the purpose for policy replacement. From this list, select the reason that best fits the reason for rewrite. (HIINT: You can customize your Sub-statuses to broaden your reasons for replacing the policy. From the menu bar in CMS, access Setup by clicking the gear icon in the upper right and then selecting Customize Lists. From the available options, locate and double-click Cancellation Sub-statuses. Add and remove from there.)
6. This will result in a dialogue box asking for the cancellation date and time of the policy. Place the date and time that you will be cancelling this policy and click OK.
7. Your next dialogue window will ask you if you would like to print the cancellation form and provide you an area to place the reason for cancellation. If you want to print an ACORD cancellation form directly from here, leave the Print Cancellation Form check box ticked and place the reason for the cancellation into the free form field. By completing this, it will pre-fill the information on the ACORD Cancellation form. After completed, click OK.
8. This will launch the ACORD editor and pre-fill basic client and policy information and the information that you input on the previous steps including cancellation date and remarks into the form.
9. Once the ACORD has been completed, click the Print/Send/Attach button in the upper left to bring up your options for producing the document. From here, you can print a copy or send it for e-signature. Once you select which, click Finish and Close.
10. CMS will now present you with the log entry dialogue box in which to make additional notes. You can also provide any additional details that would be necessary to clarify the reason for the rewrite. Notice that the log will default to suspended to allow for your follow-up on the cancellation processing. Choose a suspense Category and then click OK.
11. This now places a single red line through the policy tab. What this signifies is that this policy is pending cancellation on the date shown in the Status Date. This is important because it notifies any user coming in after you that this policy is still active and, if service needs performed, that this policy needs attention.
12. Now that we have established the policy was replaced, we will insert a new tab to address the new policy that this risk was written to. To do so, start on the policy tab that you just changed the policy status for and start an Action of Internal > Duplicate/Remarket Policy.
13. You will receive a verification dialogue indicating “Duplicated policy will be set to ‘Prospect’ with no Policy Number or Coverage Premiums.” Click OK to proceed.
14. Verify that there are no changes required on the Name and Address screen and then proceed to the General Policy Information (GPI) section. Complete the following fields as follows:
- Company: The company being written to. (In our example, Travelers Insurance)
- Agent 1: The producer for the rewritten policy will be the same as the policy that you duplicated. If this needs changed, you will want to make the adjustment here.
- Agent Code: The agency code for the carrier being written to.
- Source: Note that if you used the Remarket/Duplicate Policy action that your source will pre-fill with the word Rewrite.
- Effective Date: Input the effective date of the rewritten policy.
- Status: Click the link located next to status which will bring up the same status dialogue window from step #5 from above. In this dialogue, select Rewrite under the All Active heading and then click OK.
- Status Date: This should mirror the Effective Date of the new policy.
- Inception Date: This should be the same as the Effective Date for the new policy that is being written.
- Sold Date: This date should be the date that you completed any applications or documents required for the rewrite to the new company with the insured.
- Billing Type: Use the dropdown here to select the billing plan for the new policy.
- Application Type: Use the pulldown to select whether this policy is Personal or Commercial.
- Line of Business: Use the pulldown here to select the corresponding line of business for this policy.
- Policy Title: If you wish, use the pulldown here to select the title of the newly created policy tab if you want it to be different than the ACORD policy title assigned by CMS.
15. Once all this information has been input, click Finish.
16. In the resulting log entry dialogue, enter the information that is important to the submission of the application for issuance. This could be the type of policy submitted, the carrier to which it was submitted to and any other notes that would be helpful in tracking the reason for the rewrite. Note that the log will be automatically suspended for the timeframe you have set forth in Default Suspenses of General Configuration. (HINT: Setup and use the Category list for suspenses. In our example, we have selected New Business. This will allow you to quickly identify submissions that need checked for issuance in your Suspense List.) Once all information is complete, click OK.
17. Your policy tabs on the client will now reflect the pending cancel of the original policy as well as the policy with the new carrier and indicate the status of each.
Now you may ask, “Why is it so important to have the Status and Source reflect Replaced and Rewrite respectively?” The answer to this comes down to how this information is displayed in Agency Intelligence. Below is an example of the report header for a Policies Lost report. You will see that this report excludes any policy that has a Status of Replaced from the list. So, if you have completed the above, and properly labeled your policy, it will not report as a policy lost.
Likewise, if we turn our attention to the Policies Added KPI on the report, you will see that it does not report on any policy that has a Source of Rewrite.
If we are to follow our workflow and complete both policies so that they have the correct status and source, this will correctly indicate that we have neither added nor lost a policy for this client. Additionally, if you ever wanted to track the reasons for policy replacement in your agency, you could use the Advanced Report function to run for all policies ‘replaced’ in a certain time period and have it display the Sub-status. This will allow you to see the reasons that policies have been moved within the agency.
RECORD THE RENEWAL OF A POLICY
As with policy rewrites, it is equally important to put a workflow in place that will address policy renewals. Most carriers extend to us the convenience of policy download, which when available, allows us to receive policy information such as renewals and endorsements. This then updates a client’s policy information with the coverage and premium. It is a great and convenient feature to be certain.
But what are you doing for those occasions when policy information download is not available? Do you have a business segment in commercial lines that does not download? How about that one dwelling fire property that did not qualify for a standard market and was placed with a broker? Simply put, if you are not taking the time to manually update these policies in CMS, your Agency Intelligence Report could be providing you erroneous information. Left unchecked, a policy will go into an Expired status when it goes past the expiration dates as listed in CMS.
Turning our attention back to Agency Intelligence and the Policies Lost Report, note that if a policy is reporting as Expired in the status in CMS, it will show as a policy lost for your agency.
This will report lost accounts and premium for your agency. If you have enough business that does not receive policy information via download, this could result in large discrepancies for you.
For those reasons, it is important to put a plan in place to make regular updates of policy information that is not downloaded. The key starters to move towards making this a normal agency workflow are:
- Make a commitment of time and human resources towards setting up a process for the manual update of policy information that is not downloaded into CMS.
- Identify the carriers or brokerages that are without download capabilities and then determine how renewal and endorsement information from their policies are delivered to you – email, USPS, eDoc, retrieval from the carrier website, etc.
- Dedicate one individual and a backup team member that will complete this task on a daily basis.
- Know that the manual update process applies not only to renewals, but also endorsements and changes.
Once you have the above in motion, it is also useful to know how to perform the recording of a renewal in CMS. Fortunately, the steps to do so are simple and following is an example of performing this transaction. In our illustration, we will say that we are renewing a dwelling fire policy from a policy declarations that was emailed to us by a brokerage.
1. Retrieve the client in CMS.
2. Select the policy tab of the policy for which you are recording the renewal.
3. Start an Action and indicate the steps leading to the renewal of the policy with the last step being Change Policy Status. For our example, Email > From > Broker > Change Policy Status.
4. After choosing Change Policy Status, the next option will display statuses to select from. From this list, choose Renewal.
5. This will result in a dialogue box prompting for the renewal date of the policy. The current expiration date will default. If this is required to be changed, you can do so in the Date field. Click OK.
6. Verify if there are changes required to the Name and Address screen and then proceed to the General Policy Information (GPI) section.
7. Verify the information in the fields of the GPI section. Sometimes a policy number will change with the issue of a renewal – you will want to update the policy number field if that is the case.
8. Note that the effective date in GPI has been updated with your input from step #5.
9. Once you have confirmed Policy # and Effective Date, next use the navigation tree to the left of the window to select the Coverage.
10. On the Coverage page, you will manually enter the coverages and their premiums from your declarations to the corresponding fields in CMS. As you do, CMS will update the premium to reflect the policy total. To make this effective , you will need to account for each premium and premium credit that appear on the declarations.
11. Repeat the process in step #10 on the Scheduled PP and Endorsement sections by clicking their titles in the navigation tree to the left of the window.
12. Once all this information has been input, click Finish.
13. When the Action dialogue appears, you can add another action if needed or simply click Finish.
14. In the resulting log entry dialogue, you will see that it has pre-filled the renewal date of the policy. Next you can enter the information about the renewal. For example, the total premium amount at which the policy renewed.
15. Take this opportunity to drag a PDF copy of the renewal that was provided by your broker or carrier into the log entry window. This will make the declarations available when retrieving this renewal log in the future.
16. Once all information is complete and to your satisfaction, click OK.
17. This will now reflect that this policy is pending renewal for the future date that you specified. Once that date arrives, the status will change from Renewal (Pending) to Renewal.
COMMIT TO ACCURATE WORKFLOWS AND COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR TEAM
Taking the time to learn these two valuable workflows and incorporate them into your agency will get you on the path to reliable and accurate reporting in Agency Intelligence.
When you communicate these processes to your staff, it is a good idea to explain to them the reason why this data is so important. Often, a workflow is rolled out to agency personnel that is perceived as an unnecessary or frivolous change to their responsibilities. If they understand the function and importance of the data that they are charged with, it can equate to their eagerness to learn and ensure that the data is correct.
By George Patterson, CPIA
Agency Development & Systems Administrator
Using Policy Date Fields in HawkSoft