Never Miss A Deadline Again: 5 Tips to Help You Stay Organized
There is a myriad of deadlines to keep track of when managing surplus lines. We share 5 surplus lines organization tips to help you keep on top of it all.
There are so many deadlines when it comes to managing surplus lines – monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, annual reporting, filing, tax payments, zero reports, amendments. In addition, there are licensing requirements and deadlines to worry about – obtaining and renewing SL licenses, keeping up with CE credits, surrendering a license, changing a BOR, etc. So what is the best way to keep track of all of these deadlines, filing due dates, and licensing requirements?
Each state has information regarding filing/reporting instructions and licensing for brokers. Depending on the state, it may be the Division of Insurance or a separate Surplus Lines Association. You can find details about various due date calendars and filing processes by researching each of these state resources. Arkansas, for example, has a “Surplus Lines Brokers Filing” page contained with the Arkansas Insurance Department website, where a list of due dates is clearly outlined.
To stay on top of any changes in deadlines, many states have the option to sign up to be on an email list and be notified of any regulatory changes or receive newsletters. Be “in the know” by receiving regular updates from every state.
Surplus Lines vendors
Never miss a deadline again by using InsCiphers’ surplus lines tax filing and licensing software, InsCipher Connect®.
Within the InsCipher software, all due dates and deadlines are automatically built into the intuitive tax calculator, as well as the filing calendar dashboard. The system determines what documentation is required with each filing, and even provides downloadable templates and state stamp wording requirements. The software is backed by our dedicated compliance team–knowing all of the state rules, regulations and nuances is what we do. InsCipher also offers managed surplus lines filing through our in-house Filing Services™ team, staffed by U.S.-based surplus lines specialists that ensure filings and payments are completed accurately and on time, every time.
License management can be difficult and time-consuming, especially if there are multiple licensed brokers within one agency. However, having an assigned individual within your agency and/or utilizing a license management software system can help ensure you never miss a license renewal or continuing education deadline.
An internal organizational system
Whether or not you use an outside vendor, it is critical to have an organized structure and workflow within your agency. Keep a calendar of tasks and due dates, whether it’s through Google, Microsoft Outlook, Teams, or other calendar software. Commit to keeping calendars updated and set any automated reminders. Have individuals on your team responsible for maintaining and auditing the tasks and workflow.
Spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets!
What did we do before Excel spreadsheets? If you are not using a vendor like InsCipher to manage your surplus lines tax filings, creating documents for your internal use is helpful and necessary. Someone on your team with proficiency in Excel or Google sheets can create custom documents that keep track of due dates and state deadlines. For inspiration on documents and processes that will help streamline your internal filing process, check out our article, 7 Excel Tricks for Faster Surplus Lines Filings.
The final step in the surplus lines compliance process is issuing tax payments, stamping fees, and any assessments on time. Failure to do this may result in fines, penalties, and possible action on an SL license. Adherence to state deadlines is critical. The surplus lines filing platform varies from state to state. Some states allow direct payment on their websites, some go through a clearinghouse such as SLAS or OPTins, and some require a paper check. InsCipher Connect® users can enjoy state E-Filing, allowing for simplified surplus lines filing for approximately 90% of the surplus lines filing volume within the country.
Additionally, numerous accounting software products can also help streamline this process and help keep track of payments, invoicing, refunds, etc. This is a must to ensure accurate and on-time tax payments utilizing EFT whenever possible as allowed by the state.
Surplus Lines tax filing, payment, and license management involve myriad due dates and deadlines. It can quickly feel like an overwhelming task, but it is manageable with the proper tools and internal systems in place. InsCipher is here to do the heavy lifting you don’t have to!
Contact InsCipher today to request a free demo to learn how we can help you comply with all state due dates and deadlines and make late fees and penalties a thing of the past.
Lara is the Compliance Manager at InsCipher. She has over 20 years of insurance industry experience, including Surplus Lines, Property & Casualty, and Workers’ Compensation. Lara recently earned her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, demonstrating her advanced understanding of the insurance industry. Lara is an asset to the InsCipher team and the clients we serve, helping them navigate the complexities of surplus lines compliance.