Vertafore Commercial Submissions
All they did right...and the one big thing it’s missing.
At the end of March, I attended Vertafore’s annual user group conference, NetVU Accelerate, in Denver. It was incredible to see clients in person as well as meet new agencies interested in our product. It was also my first opportunity to see Vertafore’s new Commercial Submissions product. To say there was excitement about it is an understatement. During the keynote, both CEO Amy Zupon and Chief Product Officer James Thom spoke about the release and there was a huge roar. After hearing about it for the past 2 years, I can understand why there was excitement. What insurance agent wouldn’t be excited about a comprehensive solution that delivers insured data capture, for a standardized data set, with two way AMS integration, integrated with all the best carriers to provide quotes for multiple lines and classes of business, a fall back to populate ACORD forms, and thousands of Smart Forms to get supplementals complete.
After seeing the presentation and demo of the product at the break out session, it’s clear they are off to a great start. The product has some powerful features enabling agencies to do single entry and get quotes from a preliminary set of 8 carriers across a few key lines of business (BOP, General Liability & Workers Compensation). Agencies were deeply engaged and asking great questions. The product team was informed, responsive and willing to continue their discovery work as they were challenged by agents with feature requests and additional requirements. Adoption of the platform has grown. They announced 150% growth in agencies in the last year and have now made the platform free to agencies (up to 500) until October of 2022. The roadmap is full and includes the addition of new carriers, the expansion to additional lines of business (Umbrella, Commercial Auto), 3rd party data pre-fill, and 2 way AMS integration. A big shout to Vertafore and the team for getting here. I have no doubt this was a huge challenge.
What they got right
Vertafore clearly leveraged their strengths to build this initial version. They use their own SSO for authentication. They’ve used their carrier relationships to recruit 8 carriers and their own credential manager for carrier authentication. On top of that, almost everyone loves that they can pre-fill apps with existing customer data from the AMS. They integrated appetite information and they present quotes from multiple carriers in a clean interface, allowing the agent to bind directly from the platform when the carrier APIs support it. All of this has produced a great way for agents to easily re-market small commercial policies for existing clients at renewal time.
Unfortunately, agents don’t love spending time re-marketing small commercial policies for existing clients. That’s not their focus. What they want is a fast and easy way to get quotes for small business prospects (i.e. new business) so they can spend more time sourcing and servicing their larger, more complex clients. For small businesses, the information required by carriers for quoting doesn’t live in the management system, it lives with the business. So without a digital client interface for data capture, the agent has to separately collect information from the insured and then manually key-in that information into a rater. It’s painful.
Like so many terms in the insurance industry, “Commercial Submissions” can mean different things to different people. After all, working a commercial submission is complicated and has so many different steps. When they first announced the Commercial Submissions product, many agents thought Vertafore would build a Broker Buddha competitor (I think even Vertafore thought they would too). As of March, the digital client interface for submissions with integrated eSignature was the last item on the roadmap. They call it “Forms Flow Refactor”. In my experience, if something isn’t “next” on the roadmap, it's going to take a while. Unfortunately, it's the critical component of "commercial submissions" that is missing from "Commercial Submissions".
For your new small business submissions and your renewal mid-market commercial submissions, there is nothing out there like Broker Buddha. We are the only independent solution for commercial submissions that delivers a powerful, agency branded customer experience that saves agents time and delivers submissions to agents in days, not weeks.
Broker Buddha and Vertafore remain complementary and not competitive
- Broker Buddha helps agents gather information from their clients to construct a submission (any LOB, any class, any size).
- Vertafore helps agents deliver that information to carriers to get quotes (3 LOBs, many classes, small business only)
In addition, we are working on a solution to easily pass information from Broker Buddha into AMS360 and Sagitta, which will allow agents to then pull that information into Commercial Submissions to get quotes.
I encourage every agent to try Vertafore’s Commercial Submissions platform while it’s free. Why not!? Have you used it? I’d love your thoughts. Have a different view? Please share!
We’re all working to upgrade this industry. Let’s work together to make it happen.
Keep it simple,
Tuesday, May 24, 2022