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.

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.