This post is part of a series sponsored by AgentSync.
While modern insurance infrastructure allows insurance companies to access today̵7;s reporting for insurance producer and underwriter licenses, many still require a hard copy of the licenses.
At AgentSync, we firmly believe that the requirement for paper license copies is a thing of the past, for a few reasons, not the least of which are:
- The paper license only confirms that the insurance producer or adjuster was licensed for X days – a single point in time.
- The paper license does not indicate things like a producer’s nationally reported compliance violations.
- If a producer did not download and print their original license within days of receiving it, some states will charge them to download it later.
- Digital compliance options can deliver accurate, up-to-date data without paper!
- Paper licenses are a significant risk for insurance agencies, MGAs, MGUs and carriers alike
Why print licensing is a risk for your agency, MGA, MGU or operator
The above reasons should suffice – out-of-date information, mistakes, misspelled or smeared information all present their own risks to varying degrees. But as we see it, by not validating data against a source of truth like the National Insurance Producer Registry, you leave yourself vulnerable to unscrupulous actors.
The unfortunate truth is that while the majority of people work in insurance to fulfill its promise of providing a safety net to people and businesses, some people work with broken compasses. Whether someone is just hoping to hide their motives or history, or they are deliberately intending to deceive for malicious purposes, leaving it entirely up to the producers to enter their information correctly is an opportunity for error and mistake.
At best, manual processes lead producers to accidents and errors, from misspelled addresses or incorrectly entered dates of birth. In a worst-case scenario, they’re an opportunity for bad actors to cover up their past misdeeds, and without a process to validate that data, you could end up in a long-term partnership with someone who has a documented history of unethical behavior.
So if you’re an insurance agent, agency, MGA or other downstream distribution partner whose operator requires paper licenses, here are three tips to get you through what can be a very manual process.
1. Prints details from AgentSync’s data
Carriers can use an agent’s national producer number and pull data from the national insurance producer database. However, even if an operator’s compliance processes do not use that type of process, we have found that when agencies explain how up-to-date and accurate the information in AgentSync is, operators may allow producers to print their detailed summary to use for verification. After all, the reason carriers ask for hard copies is usually to validate that the producer is licensed – but again, this is done much more accurately with current information than with a point-in-time snapshot of the original license.
If your operator is willing to accept a simpler proof of license, you or your agency can print your data from AgentSync. By using the “Printable View” button in AgentSync, you can have a PDF or printed copy of today’s producer (or adjuster) license information summary emailed or otherwise sent to your carrier if they accept this information as a substitute for a paper license.
2. Download image copy of mail status and save PDF to AgentSync
If your carrier requires an image copy of the physical license and is not yet willing to accept validated data from AgentSync or other insurance databases, it is always best to comply.
All states have some version of the paper license available for free within a few weeks of getting your first license; you may have to request it, or they may send you a paper license in some rare cases.
For those who remembered to request a download of their free copy of the paper insurance license, using AgentSync’s front-end producer or adjuster portal can be an easy way to keep a copy. Just upload the PDF file to the portal and keep it stored in the NIPR attachment repository for the times your agency has to send it to carriers.
Again, although the daily synchronized data is much more reliable than a static copy of a license, some operators may insist that their internal protocols use a hard copy as a source of validation.
3. Print or download a paper insurance license afterwards
If you didn’t keep a PDF copy of your original state license (we don’t blame you) and your agency is now working with a carrier that requires one, you’re left with a few options. States using government services provide a PDF at no additional cost. Other states may use service providers that charge a fee to obtain a copy of your original license.
We have a summary of which states use which procedures and what you can expect in terms of costs here.
Or, if you prefer, you can use NIPR’s widget to find the best source to print or download a hard copy of your various state licenses.
Convince insurance companies to stop requiring paper licenses
While AgentSync can help your insurance company, MGA or MGU store and validate paper license information, the best way to really convince insurance companies across the industry is to stop requiring paper license verification.
Paper licenses are a thing of the past. Most state insurance departments no longer print and mail copies of producer or adjuster licenses for one reason: there is a better way to do things. Insurance companies must verify that a producer or adjuster has a valid, current license. But a paper license is simply not the best way to accomplish this task anymore!
- Paper licenses penalize producers or adjusters licensed in multiple states by requiring them to manually request licenses from many government entities, often at a cost.
- Paper licensing requires digital storage space and processes that often require multiple steps and manual input.
- Paper licenses only validate the timing of the original licensing and leave the carrier exposed if the producer or adjuster has engaged in reckless or risky behavior since the license was obtained.
- Paper license records do not reflect any violations states have reported about that manufacturer or adjuster to the national database.
- Paper licenses result in manual delays, error-prone processes, and slower onboarding for producers and adjusters throughout your organization.
- Paper licenses leave you and your operating partner at risk from unscrupulous characters.
So while AgentSync can help facilitate a paper-based license verification process, we’d really rather you didn’t have to; we are team digital data sync all the way!
If you’re looking for ways AgentSync can support your agency’s processes, or if you’re interested in how we can transform carriers from paper-based processes, schedule a demo today.
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