Transition Guide: FSC Manager FAQ
(1-18) Questions Concerning The Operating Environment For Your System
- (1) Is your system web-based, 3rd party hosted and/or available as stand alone in agent's office? If hosted who is your provider? Do you handle all back up? If system ever crashes do we have that data available? Do you have to move us to another server? Ease of setting up laptops for use out of the office? If you host do you work together to coordinate assistance?
Newton is flexible and available for multiple platforms. Many agencies prefer to run locally on their own in-house server due to the flexibility and cost effective nature of that setup. For those preferring cloud services, we offer both a Shared and Dedicated cloud.
- Hosting provided by Ajasent
- Local Server/Client
The system is friendly to the on-line environment and setting up a user is very simple. The dedicated cloud is a virtual server with resources and software customized solely to your agency. All cloud services include software options such as Microsoft Outlook (with or without Exchange) and Office.
For hosted solutions, the backups are the responsibility of the hosting provider, Ajasent. The backup for systems located in the agent's office are the responsibility of the agency. In the event a backup must be restored, our technical team will assist the agency to verify a proper restoration of the system and data.
- (2) Ability to host OUTLOOK Email service and integrate with your system so we can easily moved emails from OUTLOOK into mgmt system? Ex- Drag and Drop? Can they handle fax @ skeele? Does your system automatically drop them into a client file or do we need to drag and drop? Email on cells of users? Does your system ask you to grant access for each email every time you send one? Do you offer encrypted email?
The system is integrated with Outlook in both email and Calendar functions. Any item generated from within the system (certificates, Auto ID’s etc.) can be emailed, faxed or printed easily. Items are created as .pdf and inserted into the email. When sending, you can select “templates” for the email to standardize common email wording. This also works for things like e-fax, MetroFax etc., Unless there is something extraordinary with the skeele fax solution, accommodating fax@skeele should be possible.
Incoming emails can be dragged directly from Outlook and dropped on the client tab, or a policy. The email is searchable within the client by key word and also any word within the email. This is a powerful feature to ensure you find exactly what you are looking for quickly. All incoming and outgoing items automatically date/time stamped with user ID in the Activity and are not editable.
Encrypted email is available within Outlook.
- (3) Ability to host Agency Shared Folders available to all system users? Host Personal Folders?
Your cloud service provider will facilitate Shared and Personal Folders. While your cloud provider will establish this for you, we assist in the transition process to ensure your needs are met. We have a team dedicated to the success of your cloud experience.
- (4) We are concerned with the speed of sending items to PRINT within the mgmt software, as well as time pulling up stored images? Compatible with word/excel/outlook/pdf, jpg files? Do you use Black Ice?
Printing performance is exactly the same as with your common Microsoft Office Products and .PDF Readers. Newton does not place an additional burden on your printing services and is completely optimized for the local or hosting solution of your choice. Black Ice is fully supported and in use at Ajasent. We do not demand a specific print solution with Newton in a typical agency setup, however a thin client print service is desired in hosted environments. Newton will indeed work with many if not all these printing solutions.
- (5) How is support handled? Chat / Sign into computer/ Log a request and await response? Can you “shadow” user direct or do we need to log into a webex and grant you permission?
Newton does not require support tickets or on-line requests for support. All support calls are answered when you call, and any question you have is addressed at that time. If further research is required, we work your question without delay and communicate with you proactively. You may also email if more convenient, or you can visit our support page and click the help button. If you desire a support representative to answer your question while sharing your computer screen, we provide that service as well.
- (6) Integration with EZLynx and /or PL Rater for rating? Can you import/export between two?
Below is our list of supported rating vendors and their integration level within Newton. We do not restrict you to any one vendor.
|Vendor||Export From Newton||Import Into Newton||Integration File Type|
|Evolution (Capital Rating)||Yes||Yes||Download .Al3|
|EZ Lynx||Yes||No||Completed ACORD .PDF Forms|
|FSC Rater||No||Yes||Download .Al3|
|ITC Turborater||No||Yes||ITC .TT2 File|
|PL Rating / Silverplume (Vertafore)||Yes||Yes||Download .Al3|
- (7) Download of PL and CL policies; Certified list of carriers and how easy to become “certified” for download with your system? Packages for CL & PL? When renewals come in do they overwrite the existing policy line/data or do they create a new policy line? Does the system cancel out the old if a new line is issued or do we cancel it out? If it overwrites how do you see past policy and history? If you have policy history is it highlighted to show the changes or do we need to look at it page by page? For mid term endorsements when you d/l do you list what the change is and any billing associate with it? We referred to this in AFW as quick view and in FSC as download summary. We had this at AFW and FSC added it but FSC had a concern about the download time being increased. We understand Allstate never has any billing. We had issue of downloads dropping zeroes and numbers after dashes will your system handle these policy numbers fine? (ngm,prog, etc). billing mid-term or on prior term how is that handled? As an endorsement? How about cancel billings?
Agency Systems is certified with every major carrier and their subsidiaries and hundreds of other regional carriers. We are constantly adding new companies as requested by our agents. Certification requests are routinely turned around within a day or two. The process is simple, and can be accomplished from start to finish and implemented in your agency within a week or two. We offer the full complement of downloads for Personal, Commercial, and Commission Statements.
The download setup in Newton is straight forward and accomplished during a one on one training session. After that session, you should be ready to download within an hour. From that point, your download managers are run to capture all files available from the companies since the last download. Next, inside Newton, you open the download management center, select the new files to process, verify the downloads as they are processed, and address any items that require further attention. After the first training most offices on a daily basis will complete their downloads in less than 10 minutes.
Policy numbers from the company play a key role in how the data will show in Newton. We accept the policy number format as it comes directly from the carrier and do not modify that number in any way. This being the case, there are two conditions that take place with how download data is viewed.
One, if the policy number does not change at renewal, download will create a new policy sequence to retain all prior policy history. Download will never overwrite existing policy, or ACORD Form data. It will create updated information to compare to prior terms. You will be assisted in the setup of all your download alerts, a tool that notifies you of important changes from the prior download data. Alerts can be established to notify you if the policy has cancelled, or if the premium has changed by a certain amount, or if there is a change to drivers or vehicles, or all changes to any key account. The alerts can be sent to the producer or CSR responsible for the account and allows you to proactively address changes.
An example for Case Two is if the company changes the policy number at renewal with a trailing number. The policy history is retained under the old and new number. The view is intuitive and easy to identify changes.
Companies deal with cancelled policy transactions differently and we have workflows in place to best implement those company differences in your agency.
Most agencies deploy the Commission Download module for their direct bill commissions which allows you to process them quickly. For companies that do not offer Commission Download, our agencies use the Commission Builder in Newton to enter the transactions quickly by hand providing a full direct bill reconciliation.
In addition we have an optional module supporting companies that do not create commission download files. The process converts a carrier specific .csv file into one that can be processed electronically.
- (8) “SERVICE LINK” with FSC is like Transformation Station and TransActNow….what do you have/use for real time access to clients accounts? How does it handle 5 different offices/codes? Does it need to update/refresh each day on the first use? When you use this link can you capture or copy the images from the web?
Newton employs Policy View, a quick and easy way to access carrier web sites from the client or policy within Newton. Policy View stores appropriate agency staff unique ID, passwords and policy number for a quick connect to the carrier website specific to that policy. You are not required to update/refresh daily.
We currently do not offer the image capture, however that is an attractive feature and we have added it to the enhancement list.
- (9) Does your system drop phone calls into our pull up client files automatically?
No, however digital voice messages can be dragged to the client file as an attachment. In addition, a client can be quickly found by searching for as little as the last 4 numbers of a phone number, displaying all matches in a "Google" like search.
- (10) Does your system allow for minimizing screens so you can switch between screens? Dual monitors?
Multiple client screens can be open at the same time, and you can switch between them. Dual monitors are no problem. In addition, you can open Newton multiple times on the same workstation, as the same operator. Unlike some vendor databases, multiple open instances of Newton does not require additional seat licensing.
- (11) Memos or client single letter templates- nonpay cxl, lpr to prior agent, etc Can you pull in policy dates such as a cancel date? FSC couldn’t we had to type in the date.
Newton Memowriter contains merge codes for many different data fields, including policy transaction effective and expiration dates. When a policy is cancelled in Newton, the transactions dates are set to the date of the cancellation. As a result, the cancellation dates can be merged directly onto a memo through merge codes.
Merge codes are automatically replaced with client/policy data when a letter is “merged” with a policy.
- (12) Compatible with xp? Do you use internet explorer? Firefox? Chrome? Most companies still use IE so have moved to firefox but very few.
Our system will work with any browser. When “launching” into Carrier websites, we use our own proprietary browser window to insure compatibility with carrier websites. Although Newton will work with XP, we strongly recommend against its use because Microsoft has discontinued security updates. This would expose your agency to potential virus attacks.
- (13) Visual Organization- font size? Bold type? We had issues only with fsc not afw and were told that it was a monitor resolution system size issue.
All primary user areas of Newton use a consistent visual band viewer to display information. The band viewer will bold items or set specific font colors to easily identify areas of interest to the user.
Most users who have issues reading text with a high resolution monitor will benefit from lowering the Windows resolution. Lowering the resolution will make all text easier to read, inside and outside of Newton. Our technical staff will work with your IT team to insure your working environment is optimized to meet your needs.
- (14) Do you have to refresh your system or is it instant? AFW was instant, fsc you have to “click” another screen tab.
Many bands of the system will refresh automatically, such as editing a filter to display the activity for a client. When an activity filter is changed, the updated activity view is automatically displayed with the changed view of the data. Some areas of the system will require a refresh.
- (15) Are we able to run multiple agency entities with your program?
We support both department separation and multiple agency needs.
- (16) Are there separate companies? Ex- One to handle property and casualty and a separate one to handle life and health?
You could separate them by company and still have access to consolidated financials or in the same department, whichever works for you
Individual company codes in Agency Systems can be assigned to a Parent Company. The Company Tab -> Active Policies list for a parent company will list all policies assigned to the parent company, and all policies assigned to any subsidiary. The Management -> Company Tab will summarize all active polices by Parent Company, but will retain the option to display only policies assigned to specific company codes.
- (17) Does your system have signatures for users on acord forms? Do you offer electronic signature of forms on client end?
Yes Acord form signatures are established by user in the agency. Electronic signatures are under consideration for a future release.
- (18) Do you somehow integrate or interact with an agency website or social media such as facebook?
MyInsuranceDashboard.com provides a 24/7 web portal for your customers to access their policy related information that integrates directly with Newton by Agency Systems. Your customers will be able to review schedule items, generate published certificates with updated holder information, and view published documents to their dashboard. They will also be able to interact with your agency by requesting changes to schedule items, and upload supporting documents to your office. These items will flow directly to your management system with minimal effort by your staff. MID is an optional feature.
- (19) Process to scan/attach/organize and recall stored images within your system?
Items can be loaded by client or by policy in a client file using drag and drop, browse and attach. After an item is selected, it prompts you for a unique searchable description and is automatically date/time stamped with user ID in the Activity and place attached.
While it is easy to find attachments now, a soon to be released feature will allow you to organized them by user defined categories as well.
- (20) NYS ID card system…integration with them? Ability to do Canadian Id Cards? FSC had to create a template for us. Company verse writing company for NY State? Also, it should default to all capital letters like the NY id card generator does. We had issue with ID cards deleting the replacement vehicle. How does yours work? Can you add a vehicle? Do as a transfer? Just print an updated card? Does the writing company pull? If someone changes that writing company one time is it always changed?
- Canada Non-Resident ID Card is integrated directly in Newton’s ACORD form system.
- FS-20, FS-21, and FS-83 bar code ID Cards can be generated directly from Newton’s ACORD forms system.
- Vehicles can be individually added/removed from a New York Bar Code ID Card just like any other ACORD form. New forms can be printed, and previous copies reprinted.
- The replacement vehicle setting, and other NY ID specific options are saved directly to the vehicle schedule.
The company code listed on the ID Card is based on the company code assigned to the policy. Newton separates the invoice company from the policy/writing company. The NY Company Code identification number is saved within the policy/writing company’s profile.
- (21) REPORTS- How do we record monies from clients? What reports are available to cross check monies in order to do deposits? // BOB reports…available in side by side periods ie 1st quarter 2014 vs 1st quarter 2013? Producer/sub office breakdown availability in the reports? Do you have an unbilled report? AFW online did but not FSC. DL error report? DL memo report (prog)? Tranlog/suspense/f/u reports? New business report? Expiration report? Marketing reports (auto no home)
Entering payment from a client can be performed for a single policy, multiple invoices, including automatically forwarding the money to the company. In addition, Agency Fees can be easily added on-the-fly when a payment is received.
Newton includes many in depth reporting options for financials, and policy production. While there are others, the circled items below list our more basic reports.
In addition, Automatic Reports allow you to set up a group of reports once, and run them every day or month.
In addition, Newton has a unique live "Dashboard" incorporated throughout the system which allows your CSRs to see their to do lists, work expirations, and produce reports. The result is an interactive reporting system, up to date as you work, without the need to exit and print reports. The view of those lists are customizable and easily viewable in excel.
- (22) Where do we store carrier info (now in SYSTEM TAB on FSC) to include contracts, loss ratios, memos, commission defaults, contacts, emails, phone #’s , writing companies etc? Where do we store banks, markets etc that are in the address book now?
An easily accessible Company tab is used to store company information for general access. The company section of the Management tab is used to store secure documents, with limited access to system administrators only.
"Address Book" information is handled by creating “Inactive client” files that hold your Rolodex information – For example: Vendor Rolodex – would have contacts for…. - Landlord - Utility Company - Phone Company - First National Bank
- (23) SYSTEM Calendar for use by system users?
Newton pushes diary/suspense items to your outlook calendar.
Both our public and private cloud providers support MS Exchange shared calendar options.
Selecting the option will create a calendar event with a default day that matches the diary suspense date.
- (24) Can we tell what users are actively signed into the system? Different user levels?
Currently active users can be viewed by a system administrator from the server. If you are hosted in a private cloud, you view this information directly within your session. In a public cloud your server access is limited.
- (25) Office Notes locations if available? Verse quick notes?
Newton currently does not offer a system wide message board.
- (26) Go over your suspension system or follow ups or tranlogs and options;
Diary/Suspense items can be between User and/or Client and/or Company and/or Interest or any mix of these. They are integrated with Outlook for calendar and email. If you must send a reminder for a client to mail or fax to you, click suspense on the client, assign a due date and possibly a user defined tag such as “application follow up”, choose the contact at the client and write your note.
A diary/suspense can be associated with a specific policy, and a specific company contact. Selecting a company contact will automatically start an outgoing email, with text pre-filled from the diary window.
Once sent, it will be processed through Outlook and date/time stamped by the user ID automatically.
Diary items can also be “updated" if you need to follow up again and the system will capture the new notes and date/time/user ID stamp them. Of course, all activity is recorded in the permanent client and/or policy activity.
- (27) Search capabilities for clients….options available (ex with fsc you do .. etc) By name? Address? Policy number? Etc
Newton Search capabilities are designed to work like Google. You can search for client by First, Middle, Last, nickname or DBA, address, phone or fax, email address or driver name. Like Google does, Newton gives you a “predictive” search, so long names can be found without typing the entire name.
Policy search can find by an exact match, first 5 characters, last five or using the predictive search which will save you from typing the whole number.
Newton search capabilities is a real strength, you will appreciate the power of our "Google" like search engines.
- (28)Describe the download processing an agency goes thru each day and time involved? Available to run off hours?
After the one-on-one training session, you should be ready to download within an hour. From that point, your download managers are run to capture all files available from the companies since the last download. Next, inside Newton, you open the download management center, select the new files to process, verify the downloads as they are processed, and address any items that require further attention. After the first training most offices will complete their daily downloads in less than 10 minutes.
We have options to "process all silently" which allows the person running download to simply let it run and move to other work until completed. Then they would review any items that “pended” such as a new policy for a client that was not entered into the system. This is a tremendous time saving feature.
Commission statements are run on a monthly basis and normally take less than 5 min per company.
Certain companies will reduce the direct bill commission for fees, such as an MVR expense, or possibly combine and Agency and Direct Bill statements. Newton's Commission Download can handle these adjustments on-the-fly, reducing the amount of time required to process the download.
- (29) Format of system pages in relation to ACORD format? How does your system look when we go into it? Can we type into acords? Can we print blank acords?
Newton uses the WYSIWYG method for ACORD forms. They look exactly like the actual Acord forms. Large fields can be used in their entirety and even “re-sized” if needed. Forms related to a particular policy as well as drivers, vehicles, properties, etc. are “Grouped” together to make policy service such as an endorsements, renewals and re-marketing simpler with very little data entry.
Yes, you may print blank Acord forms. As forms are printed, emailed or faxed, they are automatically date/time stamped by user ID and stored permanently in the client/policy activity and place attached.
- (30) Explain your “TRAN LOG” system as far as the defaults, how we can set it up, etc? Does it require automatic tranlog?
The activity part of our system is automatic and comprehensive. When client and policy actions are performed, such as adding an attachment, or updating any part of a policy, the activity log will be updated. You will be prompted to append additional text if you desire, otherwise the action is completely automatic.
All activity can be filtered based on activity type, and an activity search will automatically find the activity item, email, or attachment that matches the search term. Further, you may search the text in the body of an email as well as subject line.
- (31) Personal client files verse commercial client files? AFW you had to pick on or the other. FSC has both personal and commercials form in each client file.
You can mix and match personal and commercial activity as fits your operation. You can copy contacts from the Commercial file to the Personal file or the reverse to make the process simpler.
However, if you want to use our automated marketing feature, the personal lines vs. commercial lines indicator drives the correct correspondence to be delivered.
- (32) In a commercial file does your system have a specific spot to put in tax id #’s like personal has for date of birth or ss#? Can you convert or retain our household member info (name/dob/social sec #/ driver’s license #/occupation/employer)?
Yes. Also, you may copy “contacts” from one client to another where there are common employees or ownership or in this case from a Personal to a Commercial client.
- (33) FSC can push changes to a policy when a loss acord is completed does your system ask to do this? Why push changes for a loss but not if we complete an acord change form it doesn’t push that info into file?
Newton is a policy driven system, where all forms are saved to a policy. The forms will pre-fill data on many forms based on policy transaction dates, and prior risk information. We do not generate a policy transaction from the Acord loss notice.
- (34) How does your system handle disability policies? Watercraft? Cycle? Landlord and dwelling fire? Flood?
All policy types in Newton have the same features and functionality, and are not limited by their class of business. For all unique types of policies, a unique "class code" or line of business can be created. You can have an appropriate ACORD form attached to the policy, or a company-specific attachment saved to the policy for full risk and coverage details.
If a policy is entered with a specific class code such as Motorcycle, and the company sends the download file incorrectly as Personal Auto, the system can correct in many cases because we compare to the prior term class code.
- 35) Can you easily move a file that downloaded to the wrong client file to the correct client file? What if it has been billed or what if not billed?
A downloaded policy can easily be moved to the correct client if a duplicate client is created by download in error. The download system also has built in mechanisms to check against "likely" client duplicates to prevent the problem from happening. If the policy has already been invoiced, a new transaction can be added to the existing policy, and that transaction easily moved to a new client.
- (36) Do you have a true copy application? Or does it create a “future application”
When a policy is updated, such as a renewal or an endorsement, existing ACORD forms can be copied to the new policy transaction automatically. The updated forms are an exact copy of the original form.
In addition, coverage data can be copied between ACORD forms, and entire holder lists can be easily copied between certificates of insurance.
- (37) Dates are they consistent in each area- 04/04/2014? Can we type in with dashes or without? That was an upgrade at FSC. Do you default to current date?
Newton date fields work the same throughout the system. They do not require the entry of any special characters, such as / or -. Where appropriate we default the current date.
- (38) Does the system default to correct home percents for HO, MH, FO? Ex- 10% of A, etc?
Our agencies normally begin the workflow with the rating vendor of choice. Download automatically populates these fields appropriately, both in the unique download viewer and Acord form.
- (39) Do you have separate local defaults verse system defaults? Ex- auto show quicknotes, ask if word is closed, manual refresh, etc.
Our user preferences area has many options which can be set per operator, with additional options available for system-wide changes.
- (40) Can anyone delete an application they created by error? Can we delete a customer we created by error or in duplicate? Also delete forms?
Yes, assuming access for deleting has been established by the system administrator. Access to deleting clients/forms/policies is controlled by the security system and further by the security level of the operator.
- (41) Cross reference capabilities? Can you cross reference between two different accounts ex- a commercial account and then a personal account for same person? John Doe LLC verse John Doe personal auto?
Yes, in the latest update to Newton related clients are displayed, and you can toggle back and forth to work on, or view any of the related client’s information. This update is not yet in distribution.
- (42) If a client is incorrectly assigned to a wrong sub-producer how easy to correct?
Correcting the CSR/Producer/Sub Producer is as easy as opening the client file, changing the assignment to the correct sub-producer and saving.
- (43) Does your system allow the administrator to “customize” the agency workflow processes to force everyone to work thru the same process, the same way and do the same documentation (tranlog)?
Newton provides options for most processes and does not dictate which process must be used. However, My Newton Education along with the Newton support team will work with you to determine "best practices" and document those for any user on our WIKI.
My Newton Education is the most "hands on" ongoing education group in the industry and they will quickly become a valuable partner for you and your staff.
- (44) For auto clients when you are entering data does your system have a vin look up of some sort?
Although Newton does not offer the feature directly at this time, many of the rating vendors which integrate with Newton have this capability.
(45-46) Accounting And Billing Discussion
- (45) Accounting features- Built within your system or integration with Quickbooks/Peachtree? DB commission download available? Agency bill verse direct bill?
Accounting is completely integrated with no end of day, end of month or end of year processes. All trust accounts are fully integrated by item within the GL. This guarantees that at that all times your company/producer payable, company receivable and income are reflected correctly in your financial system. This also eliminates errors and the extra complexity of posting to an outside system such as Quickbooks.
Why is integrated accounting important?
If your daily policy and payment activity is not automatically updating your financial system, you can never guarantee those transactions are included correctly (if at all) in your agency financial picture. With millions of dollars at play annually and thousands of transactions involved, you can see how errors might affect your agency's security. Errors and malfeasance happens unfortunately, and transaction level integration with your financial system reduces the risk of that going unnoticed.
The majority of our clients use commission statement download for the auto creation of their invoices, handling fees, etc. effectively in the process. Surplus lines and other policy “invoice” needs are integrated seamlessly within the accounting system, as well as installments and premium finance.
Direct bill commission download is available an fully integrated within the financial system. For companies that do not provide electronic commission download, we include commission builder, a tool to quickly enter transactions directly from the DB statement.
Newton handles all aspects of both agency and direct bill transactions.
- (46) Automatic billing of new business and renewals; automatic processing of daily processed billings on system? Do we need to perform billing tasks such as ok invoices or calculate payments? Are these things “scheduled” or automatically run or do we need to run them manually every day, weekly? Etc? Can your system default to a full payment plan in billing? Can your system default invoice views say for direct bill verse agency bill?
Invoices can default as either Agency Bill, or Direct bill, depending on the company. Agency bill policies can be configured as installment invoices, including an initial down payment amount. There are not extra steps to required to "calculate" transactions as all areas of the system update automatically. There are no "end of day" or "end of month" processes.
For Agency Billed policies, invoice wizards can be configured to easily create multi-line invoices including, premium, fees, and automatically calculate taxes. For direct bill policies, most agencies will use commission download or commission builder to quickly process a statement without the need to manually enter individual invoices.
(47-52) User Groups/Training/Costs/History/Future Questions
- (47) User groups in areas of county? Annual regional or national conference? What states are you currently operating in?
Regional workshops are hosted regularly by our education partner My Newton Education. These include not only education and training staff, but some feature Newton support staff as well. Workshops are very flexible, productive, hands-on and each class includes question and answer sessions. Our most recent workshops were held in VA, TX and NC, and we have California scheduled for July and Massachusetts scheduled for October. We operate in 50 states.
- (48) How do you handle training? Do you send someone out to the agency? Is it online? Over phone with tech support webexed into our system? We need full training not a general workflow. We know each agency may process things differently but the how to should be the same format.
You will have a Customer Success Manager assigned to your agency to guide you through the implementation process and coordinate the conversion, training and any hardware implementation issues.
Our education partner (My Newton Education) handles your training, and there are two stages to the process. We first work with you one on one to understand the foundation of Newton. At that time you are sent a video and workbook series followed by unlimited regularly scheduled webinar classrooms with a live trainer to review each topic. The second stage moves you into one-on-one sessions with a trainer, designed to address agency specific needs and workflows for your office.
MNE attends to your training needs both during your pre-live and post-live periods. While you are pre-live, your agency is provided with trial data converted from your previous system and that data is used for your training. Because you are familiar with your own data, the training is easier, more relate-able, and retention is better.
In addition, because your are actually working with the data, you have a chance to review it before you go live on Newton. This phase usually lasts 30 days and flexible to your agency needs.
Just before the live date, the final data conversion will be placed on your system. By now you have been through your initial training (during which you have verified the conversion data), and you are ready to go.
During the post live phase you have the same access to training resources for an additional 30 days. This period includes proactive checkups and reviews from your trainer and accounting check ups from our specialists on a scheduled basis.
This process defines the signature difference in the Newton relationship compared to others. Software is only as good as your ability to use it, and My Newton Education provides every resource to insure "you know what you need to know", for a smooth transition from FSC.
- (49) In this age of data mining, is our data accessible via standard means, free ODBC driver, in the event we had another program that needed to read our data? Or in case we ever needed to convert to another system. If so please give us the name of the ODBC driver so we may download a copy for testing purposes.
Newton uses an industry standard SQL database from Pervasive. Some well-known corporations using our PSQL are Sage, Intuit, Disney Companies and even the WebMD website. The data connection between your workstation and server employ an ODBC driver (Pervasive) and all is constructed with industry standard coding methods. You will never have issues with the stability of your data or your access to your data.
A note about stability and industry standard SQL.
As you can imagine, large corporations would never stand for the constant rebuilding of data files as is common in our industry today. The SQL product driving Newton is rock solid and a rebuild of any file is rare. It is important to validate 2 things in your analysis here: Exactly how often do rebuilds happen? Are they recommended as a routine maintenance precaution? A red flag would be documentation found on support sites instructing agencies how to rebuild data files.
Regarding SQL, you must insure your data is not in a proprietary or non-standard database. If a competent programming professional cannot easily understand your database, you should be concerned. Horror stories abound of agencies held hostage because their management system is built around proprietary or other non-standard (or non-SQL) database products.
The data accessed through Newton is yours and portable to insure you have access to your data whenever and however you may need.
- (50) Is there a cost to purchase your system? How many years do you/can you convert? What are the costs for initial conversion? Monthly maintenance fees based on agency size, users? What are those monthly fees? Training fees if any? Webinars verse onsite? Ability to take agent information and load into a training agency database for new agency to work on before going live? Guarantee a number of years? Price up after those years? A charge to release data? What are the 3rd party hosting fees if applicable?
At the March PIA meeting we distributed a flyer which included our pricing as shown below. We do have a setup fee but have allowed FSC clients to spread that payment over 24 months with zero down. This of course is optional.
Pricing for the options below are included or excluded accordingly:
|Option||Included / Optional|
|Personal Lines Download||(included)|
|Commercial Lines Download||(included)|
|Commission Statement Download||(included in the last column)|
|Sales and Marketing Automated Drip Marketing Module||(optional)|
|Dataview - Historical reporting dashboard||(optional)|
|My Insurance Dashboard – Web Portal for clients||(optional)|
We normally recommend two years of data for conversion. This can be altered by the agency. Specific details about the conversion is found later under the conversion section questions.
Our conversion partner, EDI Concepts, is completely responsible for the conversion and takes complete ownership of each conversion. Your success is theirs. The owner of the company has owned an agency and is a CPCU. The level of commitment to the conversion, data and process is un-paralleled in our industry.
A charge to release data was answered on question 49. No charge.
Our support fees do not get increased each year as other vendors do. We carefully evaluate our costs/expenses and over the past ten years have raised our prices three times.
The cloud fees are priced separately and are not included in these prices. The costs can vary with each agency due to other needs outside of Newton.
Below is the pricing structure for all of our training programs.
|Pre Live Training||Included|
|Post Live Care||Included|
|Membership To My Newton Education||$15 per month per agency|
|Post Live Webinars||$19 per agency|
|Post Live Onsite Visit||$895 + Travel expenses per day per agency|
|Additional One On One Sessions||$65 per session|
|Additional Accounting Check Ups||$75 per session|
- (51) Explain how the company uses the Users groups for training, enhancements, improvements etc? How direct a “voice” do we have to affect change and what is the time frame?
Along with training, My Newton Education handles your ongoing education needs with an extensive suite of services for members. The continuity they provide from training to ongoing education is invaluable to our agency partners as relationships are established and maintained for the long haul.
MNE provides extensive hand holding throughout the transition process and hosts a full calendar of webinars and regularly scheduled workshops. You may also read or post articles on the agency forum. My Newton Education resources are a convenient and effective means to stay current on all new releases and updates and industry changes. More importantly, MNE focuses on your agency to help implement workflows that work best for you. My Newton Education is the most "hands on" ongoing education group in the industry, and will quickly become a valuable agency partner.
We have a few avenues for our agencies to be heard. MNE has a user to user forum for agencies to discuss future and/or immediate needs together. Our support team is always willing to “place and enhancement” request in for you. We accept emails regarding enhancements and are willing to discuss these with you. And we are very dedicated to this group of FSC users and have already evaluated many areas where we see differences to make the transition smoother for agencies that decide to move to Newton.
Most importantly, we always have listened to our users and credit the success we are today with the strong group of clients currently in place.
We provide 2 releases annually. The first release includes major feature additions but also updates to the infrastructure to keep up with Microsoft technology advances, guaranteeing your agency against system obsolescence. The second release provides minor point revisions and updates.
- (52) History of company? Growth in the past 3 years? Projections? Prospect of selling to larger company? What was done in the LAST UPDATE release and how long ago? Plans for next release and what is to be included (release notes)? Do you have online manager manual? How often do you update? Do you have tutorial videos? Describe your agency system of the future.
Our company has been under the same ownership for 25 years. While other vendors have come and gone, we have thrived because we embrace the technology employed by Fortune 1000 companies and others such as Disney, Intuit, Sage, and WebMD. While that decision was more costly, it has guaranteed our customers against obsolescence for the long term.
As our competitors chose the path of "rapid" development tools, that decision ultimately led to the "rapid" obsolescence of their products. Agencies everywhere are still left on platforms unable to keep up with important changes in technology, and could be forced into an unwanted conversion.
We have experienced profitable and stable growth for decades. Our client base has increased over 22% the past 3 years. We are not selling out, and for a number of reasons. 1.) we are stable and profitable and as such, AMS and Applied will acquire their customers cheaper by buying out distressed vendors, 2.) our customers would never agree to convert to an inferior product, and 3.) this is an employee owned business with many long term loyal employees and members of the founder's family in key positions.
We offer product updates 2 times annually. The first update provides major revisions while the second update are for point revisions and technology and maintenance updates. Every release is accompanied by a complete set of release notes with links directly to our WIKI support library. My Newton Education also provides a series of new release webinars for each new release. These webinars are wildly popular and the recordings are made available to members.
We have a complete set of videos broken into 2 categories. The Newton video library is complete with 40 or more videos of features, overviews and how-to's. More importantly, MNE offers a more comprehensive set of agency-view videos to show you how to use the system in your agency. This is unique in the industry and a most effective agency learning tool. In addition, and just as unique, MNE can record your training sessions for later review and distribution to staff that may not have had the opportunity to attend a training session.
The management system of the future employs a web-based user interface running over a private virtual server under the control of the agency. This is important because of security and customization. The forward thinking agency would never relinquish the control of their data.
Finally, the system must be built on technology employed by the largest of corporations. Those companies will always be aligned with the latest technology and you should be there with them.
To see how the system of the future may work, see MyInsuranceDashboard.com. MID is an optional secure web portal available for your clients convenience today.
Detail discussion of these questions can be found at http://ediconcepts.net/conversions/fsc-manager/.
- NAME, ADDRESS, CONTACT INFO (how many phones and emails) and driver fields dob/ss/dl #
- Sub Agency/Producer
- TRAN LOG History
- Policies/ TAG Field
- Policy History
- Simple Receipts history
- Family Information Section
- BILLING HISTORY
- Follow ups
- Completed forms (Certs, Binders, LPR’s etc)
- Quick Notes on system
- IMAGES/Categories for the organization of images
- How do we do the SMP/BOP/CPP Acord app breakdown with your system/download
- ID Card merge in your system (in NYS…integration with IIES NYS System)
- E-fax out of OUTLOOK?
- Is PRINT PREVIEW always available?
- Security Rights within system? Explain the layers of rights assigned?
- Signature on docs available?