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Top 10 Tech Tools

Technology is an essential component of a broker's job. Various broker association representatives weighed IN on what vital tools make it easier to do business.

Imagine: One of your clients was in a car accident and you just helped them get their car towed to the dealership for repairs and back home safe and sound. But the call has made you late for a client meeting across town. Hopping a cab, you start making your way to the meeting only to get stuck in gridlock traffic, due to a jack-knifed truck. That’s when you reach for it–your BlackBerry. Within seconds you’ve e-mailed everyone attending the meeting and let them know you are running late.

The flux of technology has made the insurance industry more efficient, but it’s also made those in the business more reliant on these tools.

Canadian Insurance Top Broker surveyed all your broker associations to find out what technology helps keep brokers moving smoothly, and effectively.

John Penney, president of Insurance Brokers Association of Newfoundland (IBAN), says he can’t live without his “Crackberry.”

“It’s absolute freedom to have your office on your hip,” Penney says. “It’s just about everything you need in one small device.” Penney believes the BlackBerry, and other Smartphones, have revolutionized the way brokers do business.

Rick Orr, vice president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) agrees that Smartphones are now essential tools, but adds that the technological devices that industry professionals use are vital to the business, particularly as many of these devices reduce claim costs by reducing the time it takes to collect, report, analyze and adjudicate a file.

Chuck Byrne, the executive director of the Insurance Brokers Association of British Columbia (IBABC), explains the point-of-sale system used by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). The online system allows potential clients to search for broker locations throughout the province by entering a postal code. It can insure up to $5 million in third-party liability in five to 10 minutes.

“From that perspective it is probably one of the best point-of-sale systems in North America,” says Byrne.

Fred Hyndman, secretary-treasurer of the Insurance Brokers Association of Prince Edward Island, says that despite all the new technology releases, brokers in his province stick to the classics: the telephone, e-mails and faxes.

Saying that, Hyndman confesses that he likes to use Google’s search engine–and GoogleMaps, in particular. This Internet tool allows Hyndman to save time by viewing a client’s property online.

Despite these preferences, one tech tool that all brokers rely on is the broker management system (BMS).

It handles the accounting and administrative tasks and documents every interaction with a client, explains Georges Leger, president of the Insurance Brokers Association of New Brunswick (IBANB). “Pre-broker management systems, we were probably open to a lot more error than we would be today,” Leger says.

© Copyright 2010 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the April 2010 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.

Transcontinental Media G.P.