WEBCETERA Integrates ACORD Form Creator into EZLynx

WEBCETERA® is pleased to announce the integration of fully editable ACORD® forms into the EZLynx® product. This new functionality will be made available at no additional cost to current Policy Management users.

The Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) is the insurance industry’s nonprofit standards developer. WEBCETERA already makes extensive use of the ACORD data standards in EZLynx and with this advanced integration, independent agents are able to create, edit, and instantly save a wide variety of digital insurance forms without leaving EZLynx.

“ACORD has done an incredible job of facilitating the data and form standards for the insurance industry,” says Gerry Keeley, Atlanta Regional Director at WEBCETERA. “EZLynx has a close integration of those standards, and this new functionality provides agents an ease of use that is not available in similar products.”

The integration of editable and savable ACORD forms in EZLynx streamlines daily workflows, lowers operating costs, and brings independent agents one step closer to the goal of a paperless and sustainable workplace environment.

“WEBCETERA’s focus has always been on helping independent agents work more intelligently with less. Agent’s don’t want, or need, to purchase and use a dozen different systems when our agency-in-a-box approach gives them more for less,” says Keeley. “Our integration of editable ACORD forms is just one more example of how WEBCETERA is providing agents with the tools to succeed in the digital marketplace and break away from the old model of doing business.”

For more information about WEBCETERA contact:  [email protected]

Webcetera Announces Launch of AgentInsure Comparative Insurance Quoting Website Enhancements

FLOWER MOUND, TX – AgentInsure®, the leading provider of non-biased comparative auto insurance and home insurance quoting, has launched a major update to their consumer-facing insurance quoting website.

Major updates to the AgentInsure website include a more accessible and user-friendly interface to increase starts and completions, as well as additional resources for consumers to find insurance information.

Coupled with EZLynx® rating software, participating independent insurance agents are able to provide live quotes directly to consumers through the AgentInsure website and have those leads deposited directly into their EZLynx account.

Riley Simmons, lead architect in the redesign of the AgentInsure website at Webcetera®, notes that the AgentInsure model is a perfect fit for independent agents.  “AgentInsure is a leading innovator in providing consumers multiple choices of insurance companies. With the extensive network of independent agents we had built with EZLynx, the next logical step was to create AgentInsure in order to connect one consumer to only one agent. This unique exclusive lead model provides not just the best consumer experience, but also an unmatched agent experience.”

AgentInsure serves as an intermediary between the consumer and the agent by providing the consumer with live rates from carriers offered by a participating agency within the consumer’s zip code radius.  Leads are never resold, and the agent retains access and control to the lead information forever.

Webcetera Brings Live Consumer Home and Auto Insurance Quoting to Facebook

Flower Mound, TX – July 18, 2011 – Webcetera®, the leading provider of insurance industry real-time solutions and maker of EZLynx®, expands agents’ web-based sales capabilities with the release of the EZLynx Consumer Portal Facebook® application.

Now Included with CPPro™, the EZLynx Consumer Portal Facebook App from Webcetera allows agents to offer consumers live home and auto insurance quoting directly on their agency Facebook® page.

With a recently announced 750 million active users, Facebook® provides a unique marketing opportunity for independent agencies that need to target specific demographics. Using Facebook’s own advertising platform, agencies can market to individuals based on their information, interests, hobbies, and any other publicly available information the consumer has put into their Facebook account. These advertising efforts can send those consumers directly to that agency’s Facebook page where our application can provide instant gratification to the consumer in the form of live comparative home and auto insurance quotes—all without the user having the leave Facebook.

“The release of our Facebook App and its ability to allow agents to provide live home and auto insurance quoting (CPPro™ or CPLive™) on their Facebook page is yet another powerful tool that Webcetera has released for Independent Agents recently,” says Jaideep Jayaram, Vice President of Consumer Products at Webcetera. “Agents can now share, connect and get recommended by their friends for their insurance services, leading to a powerful reference program”

About Webcetera / EZLynx:

Webcetera, creator of EZLynx, is a leading technology vendor concentrating within the insurance industry. A Texas based company, founded in 2003; Webcetera specializes in real-time software solutions for the insurance industry and insurance consumers. The company’s technology is used by leading insurance carriers and thousands of independent agencies across the country.

Webcetera Announces Enhancements and Additional Features to Consumer Portal with Consumer Portal Pro

FLOWER MOUND, TX – April 25, 2011 – Webcetera®, the leading provider of insurance industry real-time solutions and maker of EZLynx®, expands agents’ web-based sales options and capabilities with the release of Consumer Portal Pro (CPPro™).

With the addition of CPPro™ to an agency’s web site, agents will see more completions of personal lines quote requests, increasing the number of quality sales leads and the closing of more new business.

CPPro™ expands an agency’s online marketing by presenting the consumer a highly refined means of quoting themselves through the carriers represented by the agency. The application automatically follows up with consumers that did not complete a quote request, provides insight to an agency’s online consumer profile, and facilitates the consumers’ rapid completion of the quoting process with optimized forms and pre-fill of vehicle information.

“No other vendor has Webcetera’s strong commitment to the independent insurance distribution channel and its continued success,” says Gerry Keeley, VP Sales. “While older marketing channels continue to decline and new competitors continue to emerge, CPPro provides the needed edge to assure the agent’s growth, not just survival. Now agents can analyze and target their web traffic and hold lead sources accountable. Consumers have a quality experience, receiving live home and auto quotes using the features that we have released for CPPro.”

For more information about EZLynx or Consumer Portal Pro, contact Pete Holcomb at (877) 932-2382, x228 / [email protected]

About Webcetera / EZLynx:

Webcetera, creator of EZLynx, is a leading technology vendor concentrating within the insurance industry. A Texas based company, founded in 2003; Webcetera specializes in real-time software solutions for the insurance industry and insurance consumers. The company’s technology is used by leading insurance carriers and thousands of independent agencies across the country.

Webcetera EZlynx Announces Successful Implementation of Carrier Consumer Portal™ (CCP) at Mt. Washington Assurance Corporation

Flower Mound, TX –  February 16, 2011 – Webcetera (webcetera.com) , the leading provider of insurance industry real-time solutions, today announced that Mt. Washington Assurance Corporation (mwac.com), a member of the Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, has released to production Webcetera’s Carrier Consumer Portal (CCP) quoting and lead-generation tool.

CCP enables a carrier to provide real-time, consumer-facing quoting from its public website. In addition to enhancing projection of the unique value offered by its personal lines products, CCP lets the carrier forward the prospective insured to a selected carrier-agent for personal follow up and consummation of sale. As a lead-generation tool, the carrier is able to define the logic used in assigning the consumer to an agent using ZIP code, line of business, or other carrier-devised rules.

“We saw CCP as a means to seamlessly integrate quoting into our mwac.com web site in a very aggressive time frame,” said Thom Cranley, President of Mt. Washington. “The tool let us provide accurate quoting to the consumer and at the same time turn consumers into prospects for our independent agents.”

“CCP leverages and enhances the industry-leading consumer quoting technology developed by EZLynx for agency web site quoting,” said Jaideep Jayaram, Vice President of Consumer Products at Webcetera. “Our goal with CCP is to enable carriers to present consumers with accurate product pricing and turn these consumers into customers.”

About Webcetera / EZLynx:
EZLynx is one of the premier product lines from Webcetera, L.P., a leading software technology vendor. Founded in 2003 and headquartered in the DFW metro area, the company specializes in developing niche software solutions that meet insurance industry business and consumer needs. The company’s technology is being used by thousands of carriers and independent agencies around the country.

Agent To Agent Advice

Self-reflection and resolutions are synonymous with the turning of a new year. When considering the ever-changing insurance industry, we are reminded of the need to develop successful strategies to thrive in the challenging economic environment of 2009-2010.

How do independent insurance agents address elusive online consumers, uncertain retention numbers, and aging customers on their books? After an in depth conversation with agent Mike Barr of Barr Insurance Agency, this seasoned agent offered some agent-to-agent advice to provide insight into what has brought his team success in these areas.

Apparently, you don’t need a fancy office, a large CSR team, or even the best rates in the land to successfully sell insurance these days…”At Barr Insurance, we feel that customers choose successful independent agents because the agent responds immediately with competitive rates and natural enthusiasm. I can literally be anywhere in the world as long as I can receive a phone call and respond to my customers as soon as possible.” Barr and his team are positioned to receive calls on their cell phones to get the job done. Many consumers are not aware of the difference between buying a policy from a carrier, captive agent or an independent agent. Barr and his team have immediate access to EZLynx, and keep their carrier logins current so that consumers receive instant live quotes from their agency’s CPLive! (EZLynx website integration)

“Where’s the service?” asks Barr. His agency is structured around sales, service, and retention.
The Barr Insurance team makes sure this shines through with each and every new business opportunity and policy holder call. “We spend whatever time necessary to effectively assist the consumer and we rarely miss a call.” Barr’s advertising budget cannot compete with agencies we all hear on the radio or see on television, but he wins his customers over by providing them a great experience and prompt service.

Barr is licensed to sell insurance in Georgia, but has no problem responding to consumer inquiries whether he’s traveling to New York, California, or even Argentina. He also doesn’t mind answering calls from consumers all across the state of Georgia. He boldly sees every lead as an opportunity to serve a future long-term customer.

Barr sees his role as a provider of a service and feels physical distance between the consumer and the agent is no longer a concern in the mind of a consumer. As long as the agent has the desire to help that consumer with their insurance buying experience, distance should not be an issue. Some agents tend to get in their own way, which hinders them from selling more insurance. If a carrier does not require photos of a property or need additional documentation, why is there a need for in depth investigation? “Do you think Geico® goes out to take a picture of each car?” “Fear and paranoia are part of sales dysfunction,”
explains Barr.

He enjoys his profession and believes an agent and the agency must have passion for what they do in order to be productive and happy. He has seen many consolidations, mergers, acquisitions, and policy changes in the insurance world. He takes everything in stride by creating a business philosophy that continues to motivate his team to produce and perform at a high level.

Online consumers are in need of instant gratification, which is evident in the way direct writers are gobbling up portions of the insurance market. With a straight forward approach to online consumers, Barr’s team has excelled in maximizing the use of EZLynx’ ICQ (Integrated Carrier Questions) and CPLive features to quickly respond to consumers. Their expert salesmanship and service complete the phenomenal package.

Barr says, “A web lead is like the phone ringing. You’ve got to follow up in minutes! These consumers want insurance now.” Because the majority of agents do not have online binding ability, service strategies adopted by Barr are becoming common to capture the attention of online consumers while the lead is hot. Barr unselfishly offers advice to his fellow colleagues with the hope that it inspires them to see and renew their joy for selling insurance this year. He believes that all customers want is for someone to help them with their insurance needs. Consumers may search for insurance online these days, but the value of the independent agent remains the same. “This is the best gig I can find in the world,” Barr says proudly. “I look forward to Monday morning.”

Texas Agent Touts ROI Due to EZLynx

Flower Mound, TX, November 17, 2009 – When you’ve been in the business for more than three decades, it could be difficult to make the adjustment to today’s drastic industry changes. Customers know enough about insurance to be dangerous, and instead of looking for insurance in the phone book, they search endlessly online. Independent agencies are being outspent in advertising by companies with deep pockets as well. How do you grow your business, maintain a website, advertise, retain current customers, and find an hour or two to hit the green? An agent has priorities!

Tommy Thompson, President of Southwest Insurance Marketing Group, feels confident his agency has the formula down to a science. “We don’t wait for the business to come to us,” says Thompson. Southwest spent time building name recognition in their community and surrounding areas through multiple channels. After several months of creating their website, the agency strategically added their website link to the bottom of their email signatures to be included with each new email. It didn’t matter if the email was directed to a customer, family member, or friend. Every email was an opportunity to expose the Southwest website and attract new business. “Our website is the path of least resistance. Customers these days are not always eager to talk to you on the phone. They can check out the agency website and receive a quote (CPLive®) without feeling like they are being sold to,” explained Thompson. “If they are really interested, the applicant will respond to the email or phone call when we follow up with their quote request.”

Although it took months to set up the agency website, Thompson takes pride in this investment. Southwest easily spent $10,000 a year on print yellow page ads before creating their site, and have already seen valuable return. “People think it comes down to spending money, but it is really important to have a strategy that will work in the current market,” Thompson advises.

Southwest will not work with certain independent companies that write direct to consumers because it believes they will take business from independent agents. Thompson did not mention them by name, but says, “This is a tough business.” There are other companies out there that are driving independent agents out of business. It is hard to develop a sense of community when independent agents are essentially competing amongst themselves for new customers. Understanding the complexities of the insurance industry helps the agency make informed decisions about managing their business.

“We are out of the order-taking business. We used to spend a great deal of time running multiple quotes for customers who were not really ready to purchase a policy. My team and I can now focus on interested applicants while other consumers can use my CPLive® (on the website) to generate quotes.” With updated tools to efficiently manage his business, the Southwest team spends most of its time utilizing their expertise of insurance consultation and providing excellent customer service to his clients. For Thompson, the reward of being an agent is being able to educate the consumer on the value of protecting their family through effective coverage. “The agent is a critical piece of the puzzle when purchasing a policy. How can an agent focus on addressing customer needs when they are chasing down customers who are just shopping for insurance?”

Southwest proudly touts its 90% customer retention, refined website, and search engine optimization plan. “Competitive companies with great technology tend to last much longer than those who don’t adapt to new technology tools.” Thompson experienced the transition from 1970’s to the new millennium, when agents went door to door to sell policies and the extensive time spent on the phone trying to make a sale. “Technology has evolved and I understand the huge role that insurance software and automation has played in our agency.” He feels that utilizing EZLynx® and its live quoting feature for agency websites (CPLive®) makes an agent’s life easier. The independent insurance agent market has gone down in Texas and Thompson attributes his success to maximizing the best insurance software tools available to make his business run smoothly. He has done something right; not just once, but many times over the last thirty eight years. You won’t see him left in cyber dust.

EZLynx Product Family Chart

About Webcetera, L.P.
Webcetera is a leading provider of real-time quoting and insurance software solutions for independent insurance agents and carriers. Its flagship product EZLynx® delivers accurate real-time rate quotes to independent insurance agencies across the United States. As an insurance software provider, Webcetera has focused on empowering both independent agencies, wholesales/MGAs, and insurance companies with the technology they need to grow and compete. Webcetera is a privately-held company. For more information, visit https://www.ezlynx.com or call us toll free at 877-932-2382.

The True Meaning of Real Time

EZLynx provides 100 percent real time quotingI’ve had the opportunity to work with many of our subscribers and carriers over the last four years in the shaping and evolution of theEZLynx real-time tool. On a couple of occasions over the last two months I have heard an interesting question: “What is real-time?” For the nearly five years in which EZLynx has existed, I have rarely heard the question raised.Some background, if you will bear with me please, before I answer the question.

If you were on the Personal Lines side of business ten years ago, you would have very happily and willingly made use of a (maybe Windows®, maybe MS-DOS®) desktop comparative quoting system. With few exceptions, you received accurate premiums from your carriers. Your quoting system used manufactured rates,
which only means the rates were calculated right on your desktop through formulas that your rating system vendor had devised. Nine years ago, you began to notice holes in your manufactured-rate system. As your quoting system was moving to the brave new world of Windows, some of your major carriers were moving to the brave new world of credit-score based pricing. Your manufactured rate quoting system, try as it might, could not match these carriers’ premiums accurately. Some carriers were quickly deploying their web-based quoting systems as part of credit-scored pricing to gain a speed-to-market advantage with this model.

2001 through 2003 saw the move to credit score-based pricing becoming a flood. You as an agent quickly found yourself giving up on the old manufactured rater with no viable alternative at hand. Manufactured rate quoting systems rightfully became considered a total waste of time and money.For accurate premiums now,
quoting your carriers one by one on their internet-based systems was the only way. As a result, quoting one risk through four carriers, you’ll remember, was a 45 minute process without a single phone call interruption. When the phones did ring, you may have given up after quoting only one or two of your carriers. The value that you deliver through your representation of multiple carriers was lost in your inability to efficiently and accurately shop the risk through your markets. In 2004, the remarkable tool EZLynx® was launched. You discovered that at your fingertips, entering the risk info once, communicated the risk info to multiple carriers simultaneously in real-time and returned the premiums directly from the horse’s mouth. You clicked from EZLynx® to the carrier’s site and the quote was awaiting your next steps. No bridging, no data re-entry, no recalculation, no manufactured rates. Viola!!! It just worked.

So let us get back to the original question – what is “real-time”? Real-time quoting is defined as taking risk information that you enter once, passing it securely over the web to your carrier’s system(s), and receiving back from the carrier’s systems themselves the premium for the risk – the same carrier systems that you used to go to one by one because they are the only source of accurate information. As you already know, “real-time” is the only kind of quoting that EZLynx® delivers to you. There are two kinds of technology available today in delivering real-time comparative quoting to your fingertips. More than half of the hundred-odd carriers deployed in real-time on EZLynx® are communicated via a technology called “webscripting”. The remaining carriers are deployed using a technology called XML.

EZLynx® Web-scripting literally drives a carrier’s web-based quoting system (the same one that you utilize if you log into the carrier’s system and quote there directly). EZLynx® just drives the carrier’s system a lot faster than you can when you are typing on the carrier’s system yourself. Web-scripting returns the same premium that you will receive when you quote directly on the carrier’s site because it uses the same site that the carrier has invested heavily in for you to use. The premium returned is as up to date as the latest rates that the carrier has deployed behind its website. The remaining carriers deployed on EZLynx return their premiums using XML technology. Unlike web-scripting, XML does not make use of the carrier’s web-based system. Your data hits the carrier’s quoting engine through a back door. More times than not, when managed well by the carrier, the premium returned to you is the same as that which comes to you from the carrier’s web-site. While you will tend to see fewer errors (especially VIN related errors) returned by carriers that use webs-cripting, the point of each technology is the same – returning the premium for a risk to you that is accurate. Each technology is real-time, and each when well managed, gives you what you desire – accurate and speedy handling of the shopping needs of your prospects.

EZLynx Delivers Growth for Florida Agent

I have been working with EZLynx for two years. I don’t know what I did without it! Due to the ease and speed of the quoting process, it has allowed me to offer time efficient accurate quotes to my customers in a fraction of the time I was able to do before. Prior to EZLynx it would take an hour or more to quote one customer with 8 carriers and now it can be done in minutes. EZLynx significantly reduces the potential of data entry errors by not having to re-enter the same information in multiple quoting formats. Best of all, I can retrieve prior quotes when the customer requests me to shop their rate and all the information is already in the system.

Since all of my carriers are on EZLynx, I input the information once and within minutes, generate enough information to narrow my choices down to the most competitive carriers. Additionally, it allows me to quote each carrier every time which helps to maintain my agency contracts. EZLynx has been instrumental in improving my auto production and assisting in the growth of my agency.

Veteran Insurance Executive Sold on EZLynxs Quote Scenarios

Flower Mound, TX, December 9, 2008 – Marla Folsom, of Horizon Insurance Group in Arizona, is passionate about finding the best insurance plans and rates for her clients. As an insurance executive, Marla serves on advocacy panels for MetLife Auto & Home®, Electric and Encompass and has been in the insurance industry for 26 years. As a member of beta test groups, she often evaluates the value and efficiency of new programs and services before they’re introduced to the insurance world at large. In 2004, Marla was part of the initial pilot of the EZLynx® quote system so she was naturally intrigued when she heard about Quote Scenarios. After Quote Scenarios was released, she decided to investigate the new feature and see if it would be a good tool for Horizon Insurance. In doing so, she had no idea she would become an advocate for it. “I was excited about Quote Scenarios from the first day it rolled out in Arizona,” she said. “It is a phenomenal sales tool and allows agents to get multiple rates back from the same carrier for one applicant.” Quote Scenarios works by submitting different agent defined coverage/deductible options along with the coverages/deductibles agents have selected for the applicant. The premium results are shown in a matrix on the screen allowing the agent to up-sell or just compare different coverage/deductible/premium breakdowns. In minutes, EZLynx® loops through and returns a rate for the coverages/deductibles selected along with several more options.

“Agents who prefer the old quoting model of retrieving a single quote back from each carrier still have that option, but I prefer using the Quote Scenarios system,” Marla said. “EZLynx Quote Scenarios recently showed me how to help one client get 10 times more coverage for only $10 more,” said Folsom. “Another client got $1 million in coverage for about $100 more a year.” Horizon Insurance Group, a fullline insurance agency, uses Quote Scenarios in all quotes and has discovered the feature helps them “close more business because clients value seeing the facts and options on the screen or on paper.”
Price-only clients and up-sell business sales have also increased. In the insurance industry, Folsom has noticed more E&O lawsuits among agencies that do not offer higher insurance quotes. “Quote Scenarios can be a good preventive method because quotes are documented and can be proven, therefore, there are less errors and omissions.” Folsom said Quote Scenarios provides information in about five minutes as compared to
the 30-to-60 extra minutes she spent earlier selling to clients. “We’re able to sell more business since we have more time,” she said. “You can’t beat that!”

About Webcetera, L.P.
Webcetera is a leading provider of real-time quoting and insurance software solutions for independent insurance agents and carriers. Its flagship product EZLynx® delivers accurate real-time rate quotes to independent insurance agencies across the United States. As an insurance software provider, Webcetera has focused on empowering both independent agencies, wholesales/MGAs, and insurance companies with the technology they need to grow and compete. Webcetera is a privately-held company. For more information, visit https://www.ezlynx.com or call us toll free at 877-932-2382.