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ACORD Begins Charging Users: What Agents Need to Know

On Jan. 1, 2020, agents, brokers, carriers and others who use ACORD forms will need to begin paying to use the service.

But there’s good news for agents who access the forms through their agency management systems.

Big “I” National, OIA’s national affiliate, has negotiated an agreement with ACORD to cover the cost of End User Licenses when forms are accessed through an agency management system. This means that as long as you maintain an active OIA membership, you have access to a complimentary End User License for your agency.

If you currently use ACORD forms through your management system, you should experience no change in your workflow, with the exception of an initial, and then annual, validation of your membership.

But What If I Don’t Use a Management System?

If you don’t use a management system, your system doesn’t have a specific form you need, or you don’t use another authorized ACORD forms redistributor, there are two subscriptions available based on agency revenue.

Learn more 

Questions or need further help?

 Find more information on ACORD forms subscriptions and licensing requirements 

 Contact ACORD directly at memberservices@acord.org or (845) 620-1700

 Read more about Big I’s agreement with ACORD 


Sales training for CSRs, Account Managers and their Leaders

We’re excited to bring you live, remotely-delivered sales training specifically for CSRs and account managers!

Designed to help increase cross-selling, up-selling and account-rounding skills, the program will help CSRs and account managers close business more confidently and more frequently. Plus, owners and managers get private “coach-the-coach” sessions to ensure successful implementation – all without leaving the office!

[Picture of Sheldon to the left] Delivered by Sheldon Snodgrass, acclaimed IACON19 speaker, the one-year CSR Sales Habit Builder program delivers engaging, live web-video coaching to build powerful habits that lead to a great company sales culture.

The CSR Sales Habit Builder program will teach CSRs and account managers to:

  1. Easily transition service calls into sales conversations

  2. Turn account review calls into account rounding and up-selling calls that are welcomed by clients

  3. Ask questions using an emotive sales process to sell beyond price and improve closing ratio

  4. Generate more referrals between departments and customers

  5. Stop wasting time remarketing policies every time a customer says, “My rates went up!”

  6. Create air-tight follow-up habits in response to “I’ll send it to you…” or “I’ll ask my spouse and call you back.”

  7. Confront fear-based, limiting beliefs that people hate to be sold or that they only care about the lowest price.

After working with Sheldon, one agency owner remarked, “Over the course of his coaching we saw a 73 percent increase in net new PL policies.

Get started!

To learn more or begin working with Sheldon, contact him at (413) 244-2294 and be sure to mention you’re an OIA member. He offers a 100 percent happiness guarantee – if after the first session you don’t believe the program will deliver on its promised results, you get a full refund and can keep all the program materials.

Learn More

Introducing OIA Technology Advisory Solutions

Planning technology changes next year, OIA can help…here is what to consider

OIA and Agency Insurtech have partnered to provide members with a dedicated CIO who navigates technology decisions with you. 

Our suite of services includes

  • a free technology consultation call,

  • an annual membership that provides on-demand insurtech support and quarterly insights,

  • strategy planning workshop that results in a tech blueprint for your team,

  • measurement plans to hold future solutions partners accountable, and

  • a complete vetting and diligence process that empowers you to make objective decisions for future growth and retention.

Do you want to know what solutions are best for you?  Which accountability questions to ask?  Who is the perfect match to meet your tech expectations?  

Visit www.AgencyInsurtech.com and schedule a free consultation or fill out the contact form at the bottom of the homepage, reference OIA, and briefly describe your needs.


The Season of Giving and Nurturing is Upon Us

As we approach the holiday season, take the time to identify your key clients and reach out to them with a handwritten note, letting them know how much you value their business and relationship.

Taking 5 to 10 minutes and collecting your thoughts can pay significant dividends for your agency and adds another differentiator to your business. 

Even if you don’t have the resources to fully apply The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, which states that, for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes) to your client base, select your top 10 and go from there.

To make your gesture even more impactful, record your efforts in a CRM and start sending notes outside the regular holiday season.

This is effective because it’s unexpected and will catch the attention of your insureds and not get lost in the shuffle of all their other holiday cards.

If you want to track your ROI, it can be as easy or as complicated as you would like.

We recommend keeping it simple to start and using the activities in your CRM or agency management system to compare renewals between those that have and those that have not received any cards.

As you get more creative with your nurturing strategy, start recording and building up a strong baseline so you can tweak and optimize your efforts in 2020.  

As you continue to invest in value-offering services such as chatbots, app portals, and digital payments, don’t forget to invest in your relationship with your clients.

Learn more about ePayPolicy

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Todd Sorrel is the co-founder of ePayPolicy, a digital payment processor founded by insurance experts for the insurance industry.  Being an entrepreneur at heart Todd is always improving processes and operations around the office and at home. When he's not speeding up receivables, securing payments, or working on his short game he loves spending time with his wife Meghan and their three awesome kids Paige, John, and Redford.

ODI Issues Guidance for Mandatory Reporting of Insurance-Related Data Breaches

Ohio became the third state to enact insurance-specific legislation pertaining to data security on March 20. While most of the bill’s requirements have staggered implementation dates, there is a portion that took effect in March.

If you believe your agency may have had a cybersecurity event occur that involved nonpublic information either in your system or in a system maintained by a third-party vendor, you are now required to take certain steps to address it.

The Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) recently released several items to provide guidance to insurance agents and companies if a breach is thought to have occurred.


Under Senate Bill 273, all agencies, regardless of size, are now required to comply with requirements to conduct a prompt investigation should they learn that a cybersecurity event that involves nonpublic information has or may have occurred either in their system or that of a third party vendor.

"Nonpublic information" means information that is not publicly available information and is one of the following:

(1) Business-related information of a licensee the tampering with, unauthorized disclosure of, access to, or use of which, would cause a material adverse impact to the business, operation, or security of the licensee;

(2) Information concerning a consumer that because of the name, number, personal mark, or other identifier contained in the information can be used to identify that consumer in combination with any one or more of the following data elements:

  • Social Security number;

  • Driver's license, commercial driver's license, or state identification card number;

  • Account, credit card, or debit card number;

  • Any security code, access code, or password that would permit access to the consumer's financial account;

  • Biometric records.

(3) Any information or data, except age or gender, that is in any form or medium created by or derived from a health care provider or a consumer, that can be used to identify a particular consumer, and that relates to any of the following:

  • The past, present, or future physical, mental, or behavioral health or condition of the consumer or a member of the consumer's family; 

  • The provision of health care to the consumer;

  • Payment for the provision of health care to the consumer.

In addition, in certain instances, notification of a breach may be required to ODI within three business days. In the case of an agent discovering a cybersecurity event in a system maintained by a third-party service provider, any notification deadline would begin on the day after the third-party service provider notifies the agent of the cybersecurity event or the agent otherwise has actual knowledge of the cybersecurity event, whichever is sooner.

Where to find guidance

Several resources to help agencies comply with this requirement have been added to the newly-created Information Security Resource Center on ODI’s website. The resources that can be found to assist agents and companies include:

Please contact OIA and your cyber insurance carrier immediately if you think you may have had a cybersecurity event, so that we can help you understand any obligations you may have to report the event to ODI or to consumers.

Other Requirements of Ohio’s New Insurance-Specific Cybersecurity Law

OIA was able to make several improvements to Ohio’s cyber bill for agents, beyond what exists in the national model legislation and cyber bills that have passed in other states.

Notably, the majority of Ohio agencies will have a large burden alleviated as they will be exempt from a requirement to develop a comprehensive written cyber plan and exercise due diligence in selecting third-party service providers.

This is a big win, as the national model legislation sets the exemption at agencies with fewer than ten employees, including independent contractors.

Additionally, Ohio’s cyber law has language added that states that the superintendent of insurance shall consider the nature, scale and complexity of licensees (i.e. insurers and agencies) in administering the cyber law and adopting any rules necessary to implement the law.

This means consideration will be given to the ability of agencies to comply with the complexity of the law, and that any further rules developed should be “right-sized.”


Agencies are exempt from the requirement to develop and maintain a comprehensive written cybersecurity plan and exercise due diligence requirements over third-party service providers if they meet any of the following criteria:

(1) Have fewer than twenty employees.
(2) Have less than five million dollars in gross annual revenue.
(3) Have less than ten million dollars in assets, measured at the end of the agency’s fiscal year.

Agencies not exempt from these requirements have plenty of time to get ready to comply, as the requirements for a written cybersecurity plan are delayed for one year following the effective date of the bill (March 20, 2020), and the due diligence requirements for third- party service providers have a two-year delay (March 20, 2021).


At this time, there is nothing you need to do (that is unless you think you may have had a data breach). Stay tuned -- OIA will continue to keep you informed on these new cyber requirements as more information becomes available to help comply with the various provisions of the bill.


Big ‘I’ Cyber Resources


We can help! Click below to learn more about OIA's cyber coverage options!


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