You want to grow your agency, and insurance solutions can help you do that. But how do you determine which solution is the right fit for your agency? In this article, we’ll review important points to consider when selecting software, tools, and services to help you manage your surplus lines tax filings, compliance, and reporting.
Staying compliant with the states for surplus tax filings can be an arduous task…but it doesn’t need to be! InsCipher has developed two E&S insurance solutions to eradicate unnecessary difficulties for your agency. Let’s learn a little about our products and services before diving into the nitty-gritty details.
InsCipher Connect® – Surplus Lines Management Software
InsCipher Connect®, our cloud-based software insurance solution, helps agencies streamline the different state document requirements, reporting due dates, tax amounts, and much more within their secure profile. Many agencies will create elaborate spreadsheets to keep track of this detailed, ever-changing information. This process can lead to outdated information causing your agency to miss state deadlines or neglect required forms. When states audit agencies, they expect all information submitted to them to be complete and correct. Certain forms are often not required to file with the state but are still expected to be filled out and saved by the organization for each policy. InsCipher’s Connect® software spells out the difference in each form and advises which forms are optional and required by the state. All documents may be stored in the Connect® portal, creating a centralized database for all policy information. That way, if your agency is ever audited, all the information they’ll ask for can be found in one place, and you can rest assured all information is accurate.
Another common issue agencies face when working with manual systems is taxes or stamping fees being miscalculated by taxing fees (or not taxing fees) the way the individual states do. These mistakes trigger amendment requirements that take both time and money away from your agency. InsCipher Connect® alleviates this issue by providing a detailed tax calculator tool that is kept up-to-date with rates and fees for all 50 states (including municipality taxes in Kentucky!), plus D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico. You can also access our pared-down free state tax calculator here. InsCipher has also partnered with many states to offer a convenient state E-Filing tool within Connect® to allow for large batch filing–significantly increasing your agency’s efficiency and reducing errors often seen through manual submission.
InsCipher Filing Services™
The Filing Services™ service-based insurance solution provides intuitive, updated software solutions combined with the best state specialist filing team around! Our team utilizes the Connect® product with the constantly updated and ever-changing information supplied by our experienced compliance team to help agencies file hundreds of thousands of policies every year. Our team has been helping agencies avoid the costly penalties and fees the states impose for incorrect or late reporting for over half a decade. By uploading your policies into our Connect® software via API, batch import, or our data entry wizard, our team immediately starts tracking your surplus lines filings, payments, and reporting. They take the stress about regulation, compliance, deadlines, and tax rates out of your hands!
Should our internal audit identify errors in submission or policy data and other required documents submitted by your agency, a member of our team will reach out personally to your organization to collaborate until a satisfactory solution has been found. Additionally, all reports and payments, along with their confirmations, will be stored in the Connect® portal, so you may access them at any time for your reassurance that we are on the job!
Determining the Best E&S Insurance Solution for Your Agency
How do you decide which product would be the best fit for your agency? Here are some things to consider:
1) Knowledge and Workflow – One of the first things to identify is knowledge and workflow.
- Does your organization already know the state filing and payment requirements in each state?
- Is there a compliance team that will keep your team up to date on ongoing state changes and updates?
- Does your agency already have established workflows and SOPs? Your agency will want to create and utilize standard operating procedures to keep workflow consistent. If SOP’s are not readily available, creating new workflows for all the states you write business in would be extremely time-consuming. It’s imperative that the knowledge and training coincide with the SOP’s so your agency doesn’t get behind on reporting. Many states will charge hefty late fees if payments, filings, and/or reports are submitted late. These are often exorbitant fees that would have been avoided through the correct use of our products.
If your agency already has a foundation to start from, then Connect® would be the choice for you! However, if significant training and research would be involved in learning the various ways to file, you will want to consider our Filing Services™ product.
2) Volume and Personnel – Next, you’ll want to consider your volume and personnel.
- How many policies per month would you have to file?
- Do you plan on growing exponentially within the upcoming year?
- What is your internal capacity? Does your agency have a sufficient workforce to cover the often time-consuming tasks of filing, reporting, fixing tags, making payments, and communicating with states? Several times throughout the month, follow-up calls or emails may also be necessary.
If your agency wants the management of these tasks to maintain control over all aspects of policy filings, Connect® would be the right insurance solution for you. The system would notify you of upcoming due dates on the dashboard calendar for anything the states require, whether for a zero report or a state payment.
If your agency has a high volume of policies, is short on time, or is understaffed, then our Filing Services™ team will ensure that your company will be kept up-to-date on everything you need.
At InsCipher, we are dedicated to providing E&S insurance solutions to ensure your agency has access to the most up-to-date, compliant information available to feel comfortable writing surplus lines business in all 50 states. Whether it’s providing the software and tools you need to submit those policies on your own more efficiently through Connect®, or utilizing our Filing Services™ team to manage your surplus lines filing and reporting from start to finish for you, we are committed to providing intuitive insurance solutions to make your life easier, allowing you to focus on the big picture–growing your agency.
InsCipher is an insurtech company providing software and services that are revolutionizing inefficient insurance processes. Save your agency time and money by automating surplus lines compliance, filing, and reporting. Want to learn more? Request a free demo today!