“Hey, you. Hey, you, in ops. The producer called again. Have they gotten appointed in California? And is their Florida license still active? It’s not showing up on the state website. When will we know? They said they sent in all their stuff last week!”
If you’ve ever worked the administrative side of an insurance agency or carrier, you know this conversation opener is about to lead into your favorite insurance game, called Hurry Up and Wait.
As adults, we play this game a lot. But for those whose operations roles include the duties of following up on appointment and license verification, Hurry Up and Wait means a coast-to-coast game of telephone tag that usually only has a handful of useful hours per day.
The East Coast, West Coast, Middle American shuffle
Whether you work on the coasts or the middle of the country, if you work for an agency or carrier that’s licensed in multiple states, chances are you have had to play Hurry Up and Wait as a sort of phone tag across timezones.
The agent is in Oregon, you’re in Nebraska, and you’re checking a license in North Carolina? Awesome. At 9 a.m. your time, North Carolina is halfway to lunch, and your agent isn’t going to even get into their office for another hour.
Factoring in Daylight Savings Time (DST) and the peculiarities of Arizona adds another layer of nonsense. Most of Arizona doesn’t “do” DST with the rest of the country, except the Navajo Nation, that is, because it’s semi-autonomous and extends into New Mexico and Utah. So, Arizona ends up with a few counties that follow DST, most that don’t, and generally the state constitutes a giant pain when operating across timezones.
This isn’t even to mention the difficulty of working across timezones when you’re operating in Hawaii and Alaska. Hawaii is one of the 15 states that work in multiple timezones. If you’re calling from New York, it might be 1 p.m. before someone on the islands gets into the office to return your call.
State variations add complications to communication troubles
While we see a lot less insistence on an 8-to-5 schedule for those who work at agencies and carriers, state departments of insurance don’t feel the same. And, while some states are easy to email and have very active state portals, others are still pretty insistent on having complicated phone trees be the primary way to contact a real person.
Hurry Up and Wait becomes a nightmare. You find yourself with 15-minute windows of opportunity to follow up on your agent’s license process before someone in Georgia takes their lunch break, or perhaps you agree to schedule a call after supper so someone in Washington can get back to you.
Avoiding having “one of those days”
Assigning people to spend their days phoning across timezones and sending email after email that starts with “Just checking to see” or “Just following up on the application I sent over” is a drain, and a waste of time and talent. And licensing compliance and verification doesn’t have to be that, it doesn’t have to cause ops team members to lose their hair and feel helplessly tethered to their phone.
AgentSync Manage was built by and for people who have been there. They’ve sat in the chair on hold for the hundredth time and hoped that the state on the other end would answer their questions or give them a clue as to why the paperwork was accepted by the license hadn’t been marked active.
With our Manage product, users submit applications for non-resident state licenses and renewals through the National Insurance Producer Registry to the states. With icons that show what the application status is, and automatic alerts that can explain kickbacks or rejections, the Hurry Up and Wait of checking license applications across timezones is now an easy, hands-off process.
No more phone trees, just a glance at the computer screen can tell you whether you’re waiting on the state, whether you’re approved, or whether there were issues with the application. And, with agent portals available, your agents can know their status at-a-glance before they place calls to their relationship managers.
Sure, we’re biased, but we believe it shouldn’t matter where you live, where your agent is licensed, or where your agent lives when it comes to compliance. Compliance should be automatic and easy.
If you agree, see how AgentSync can help your ops team ditch the timezone map.