Surety bond producers are the lifeblood of the surety business. For many surety companies, agents are the only means of distributing their products. Agents bring new clients to the table, nurture business relationships and serve a critical intermediary role by signing the bond, attaching the power of attorney and delivering it to the principal.
Yet much of the surety business is dependent on manual processes and wet signatures and seals. Agents who want to modernize are often stymied by their inability to electronically interface with sureties. At the same time, obligees such as state transportation departments are moving to electronic bonds, which makes digitization even more of an imperative. Plus, bond principals are demanding faster turnaround and real-time access to data.
Where does that leave your surety if you haven’t kept up with technology? How can you stay competitive if you aren’t making it easy for agents to place bonds with your company?
The good news is that many off-the-shelf surety management solutions include an agent portal feature. Be sure to look at systems that take an integrated approach to surety and are able to address all aspects of your bond life cycle from beginning to end.
Choosing a solution that meets your agents’ needs
More specifically, here are some things to look for in an agent portal:
- How easy is it to submit new business, upload data, pre-fill and auto-fill forms, and get quotes? Does the portal show premium and commission values?
- Can agents make policy changes, submit online payments, get renewal quotes, make claims inquiries, search policy transaction and billing history? Can the portal generate reports for principals and obligees?
- Are there agent-underwriter collaboration tools? Is there access to rating engines? A bond library? Is there access to a bond history and audit log?
- Is there document creation and file attachment support? Can the information entered be used multiple times?
- What tools are available to electronically execute bonds? Is there e-signature? E-sealing?
- Does it include a direct-to-consumer portal featuring online pay and instant delivery of surety bond documents?
Keep the end-user in mind when buying new software
Keep in mind the agent’s primary customer is a busy construction company owner, who is constantly competing for new jobs. Construction firms are looking to partner with a surety agent who can make the bidding and bonding process more efficient and accessible. Contractors need online access to information and real-time reporting capabilities. They also want a fast and accurate means of inputting data and tracking their bonds.
Surety companies tend to focus on improving workflows, automating underwriting, digitizing forms and generating internal reports when they purchase new technology. These are all very important, but don’t forget the end-user — your bond producers. You’ll want a system that provides agents with a best-in-class user experience.
If you’re in the market for an end-to-end solution with a best-in-class agent portal, Tinubu is a leading provider of surety management software. Tinubu Surety is a cloud-based solution for automated underwriting, account risk analysis, bond life-cycle management and surety analytics at the enterprise level. Contact us to set up an appointment and see a demo.