ID Federation – Your Help Needed to Improve Agency Security

Managing User Passwords – also known as Credential Management – is the number one pain point for independent insurance agencies, as revealed by an ID Federation survey of 400 agents. It takes an agency 30–60-plus minutes to add or delete a user.

SignOn Once

Password Management has been a prior topic in this newsletter: Why Your Office Needs a Password Management Solution.

For their part, insurance carriers spend significant money on systems security, usually with a siloed approach that doesn’t recognize the reality that agencies work with dozens of carriers.

Passwords aren’t so safe anymore. Some agencies still store usernames and passwords on Excel worksheets or shared documents or write them down on sticky notes kept in plain view. Passwords cause slowness and inefficiency in a business that serves customers who demand speed and efficiency. Carriers see inefficiency, too, when answering numerous low-value “password reset” calls. Cybersecurity laws will increase time and cost demands on all insurance firms.

Now, there’s new progress: An independent agency and a regional carrier have broken through — to show that things can be different.

Should You Use Google Meet Instead of Zoom?

We have all had a crash course in how to use video conferencing tools to get things done.

Google Meet

This week I participated in a 4-hour board of directors meeting because we could not meet in person. Everyone is experiencing the benefits and drawbacks of video.

Zoom is one of the most downloaded video conferencing programs right now and for a good reason. I have been using Zoom for a few years because it is easy to use and the video and audio quality is excellent, even when using a laptop webcam and microphone. They have an Outlook plugin and Chrome browser extension to make it easier to launch the program or invite people to your meeting without having to type in a web address or close one program to launch an app.

Google is promoting its platform – Google Meet – as an alternative to other video programs. It does not want to be left out!

ActiveWords: Auto Correct on Steroids — and Much More

Keystrokes cost money. When you reduce the number of times you need to type a word or phrase, you will increase your productivity and save money.

ActiveWords

I’m always looking for tools that help you get back the only thing you cannot buy: Time.

There are countless daily activities that you repeatedly do. Writing the same email to different clients, logging into the same sites, opening the same folders, even just typing your email address.

ActiveWords is one of the tools I could not function without.

What I like about ActiveWords is that it allows these actions to be easily repeatable. ActiveWords enables you to leverage your vocabulary and innate naming ability using words you enter or select in any context to accomplish a variety of actions.

Microsoft Adds AI-Powered Editor to Word

I seldom write anything — article, LinkedIn post, or a comment — that I don’t first run through a grammar checker. I’ve been writing almost my entire career and learned early on that a good editor is worth their weight in gold. If something doesn’t make sense to the editor, it certainly won’t make sense to the reader. I’ve always felt a good editor enhances what I write.

microsoft editor

I’ve written previously about Grammarly – my current preferred automated Editor tool. I have paid to use this tool for several years and find it to be a great help.

Microsoft Editor

Microsoft has included limited editing capabilities in its Microsoft Word product for some time. In the past, I have considered it to be more of a quick spelling and simple grammar checker. It works fine, but I find Grammarly provides a deeper depth and evaluation.

Remind Clients to Check Personal Credit Reports

Over the last few weeks, we have provided information on how to make sure you don’t fall for any Coronavirus Scams. You can read those articles here and here.

free credit reports

One way to keep a close eye on potential scams is to actively monitor the information on your credit report.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The purpose of the FCRA is to promote the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s credit reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the FCRA for credit reporting companies.

As a response to COVID-19, all three credit reporting agencies are now offering free weekly online reports through April 2021.