Carolina Agents Journal with Linda Dodson

(IIANC magazine May 2018)

Q&A: AVYST Partners with IIANC Members on Smoothing Applications

Carolina Agents Journal recently spoke with Linda Dodson, chief experience officer of AVYST, an insuretech firm providing sales and risk management solutions to independent agents and carriers. IIANC is partnering with AVYST to provide its eForms Wizard tool to members to eliminate redundant entry on application forms and get to market faster. IIANC members receive a complimentary Wizard license through November 1.

Q: What’s your background, and why did you join AVYST?

Linda Dodson: I’ve been fighting for 30 years to improve the agency experience. I started as an agent too, then worked at carriers and as an ACORD industry volunteer to develop forms, download and real time.

Independent agents struggle every day with an inefficient submission process. All the ACORD forms aren’t in their systems. And there are carrier-required forms and agency-specific forms that are outside of the management system forms or ACORD forms, like details on the clients you want to add.

People tell me for commercial lines applications it’s a three or four-touch process in working with the underwriter. At my most-recent company, at least 60% of insurance applications were submitted incomplete.

AVYST is a solution I could get behind. If we can get all the application information in at once and block the market, that’s going to be a better experience for the carrier and the agency will write it ASAP. The agent doesn’t have to go back to the consumer to look for more information. That’s just not a good customer experience.

Q: How does the eForms Wizard work?

LD: The tool enables independent agents to interview clients and prospects onsite while inputting data – just one time – directly into forms that are saved and sharable.

With our partnership with the International Risk Management Institute, or IRMI, we also built in the capability to make it easier for producers to understand – at the point of sale – how to consult and gather the correct information on their clients. So, they consult first, then sell.

The system has the ability to add agency specific and company forms, ACORD forms and all the supplement forms that allow agent to submit forms once. The beauty is that due to the way we built our product, we can easily add any form, sales script, etc. – things agents and carriers never thought could happen before. And the forms are continually updated.

Once the information is collected, it can be conveyed to carriers, wholesalers and other people within the agency. You get to the market quicker, increasing your chances to close the business.

Q: What lines of business are best?

LD: It is great for any line of business and we now have producers using it forcommercial lines as well as high-net-worth personal lines.

With the integration of the IRMI glossary of terms at the form field level, agents can be proactive in the consultation of their client with products or terms they may not be familiar with. eFoms Wizard includes additional lines like professional liability, agriculture, cyber liability, state-specific forms, etc.

The Wizard tool enables agencies to build their own packages, so their producers can sell what they should be selling. If they want them to always offer a cyber policy, they can put it in the package so that producer can see it. And they don’t have to jot it down on a yellow pad or write it by hand on an ACORD PDF form, and hope the CSR can understand the notes later. This is a one-time, easy process.

Q: How does this work with the agency management system?

Avyst is the perfect compliment. As a sales and risk management system we enable producers to collect data in the field, offline. We help to retire the yellow pad, or handwritten app. We’re about making it easier for those vendors and their agents to solve a problem in the industry. This is good for all vendors.

Because we can generate data files that can be consumed by a vendor (or received by Avyst) we can also help 3rd party vendors, such as management systems or CRM systems to improve the process for their clients. We are not a management system, and not in that space.

The way we built this, these forms can always up to date, both ACORD and non ACORD, and work offline. Again, solving known issues. This is a long-awaited solution because we’re not only focusing on the agents, but on improving the completion of applications for carriers or wholesalers. As mentioned we have the ability to send them ACORD AL3, XML files or other unique mapping to import into their systems. We want to work with everyone. We want to be an enabler to take the pain out of the process.

Q: What’s the AVYST arrangement with IIANC members?

LD: IIANC members who sign up get the eForms Wizard free until November 1, and if they like it they’ll receive it for half price or $50 per user per year after that.

If the members want more information, they can visit or