Changes worth knowing about

First, you may notice something new on all the policy screens. In the top portion of each policy screen there used to be a few fields with a green background. Fields like Carrier, Broker, Policy Name, and a few others. They were color coded to indicate that they play a part in commission calculations. Now, with release, they are no longer green. Instead, they have a blue border. They still play the same role in commission calculations – that part hasn’t changed.

We made the color change so that the Carrier field could have a yellow background. As you probably know, a yellow background means double-clicking triggers some kind of automation. The reason the Carrier field is now yellow is make a very awesome feature more apparent.

Double-clicking the Carrier field opens a special web browser that takes you directly to that carrier’s website. Naturally, that assumes you have entered the carrier’s website in the Carrier List. You can view, or edit, that list by clicking Admin – Carrier List. If you haven’t entered the carrier’s web address, do it now. It will save you a bunch of time when you need to verify coverage. Instructions on how to use the special browser are in the recently revised user manual. In simple terms, the browser has all the important client and policy information at the bottom of the browser window. Things like client name, account number, policy number, etc. Each of those can be dragged into the appropriate fields on the carrier’s website. Try it. It’s extremely handy.

Speaking of Admin – Carrier List, did you know we’ve given you the ability to lookup carriers, and add them to the list automatically? That lookup feature also has the NAIC code for every carrier I could find, 665 carriers in total. If you’ve already entered your carriers, but not the NAIC code, you can use the lookup to get the code, and then just enter it manually.

Your Carrier List should have carrier names, web addresses, and NAIC codes for all companies you have appointments with, or that you place through a 3rd party broker. If the web address is there, you can double-click the carrier name on the policy screen which will take you directly to the carrier’s website. If the NAIC code is entered, it will be automatically entered on ACORD forms without you typing it (or having to remember it). It’s really worth making that list complete.

Another new thing you’ll notice is the face-lift given to the Document Manager. It is mostly cosmetic, but the new look makes it more consistent with other parts of ABS Agency Builder. One more obvious change is the addition of a new toolbar button. It looks like a magnifying glass with Find as its caption. This helps you locate documents using a spreadsheet-like grid. It’s especially handy for accounts that have lots of documents. We’ve seen some accounts with so many documents that the list on the left extends beyond the bottom making it necessary to scroll. This Find feature isn’t new, but having a toolbar button makes it easier to use.

Some common pop-up messages in the main ABS Agency Builder program and in the Document Manager have been enhanced. In some cases the only change is to the wording, to make the meaning more understandable. In other cases, additional messages have been added – again, to make the meaning more clear. A good example is when there are network issues.

A faulty network will almost certainly impact how well, or how reliable, ABS is able to connect to the data. This is only a problem with multi-user offices. Prior to these change, ABS only said it couldn’t connect to the server (in techie talk). Now, the program tries to figure out why it can’t connect, and gives you a more informative message, in everyday language. You still get the techie message in addition – they actually mean something to IT people. Let us know if you see a message that says an error has been logged in the Error Log. Sometimes things go into the log that can help us pinpoint where something has gone wrong with the program, or the network, or the computer itself.

Well, this blog got longer than I wanted so we’ll stop for now. You can look forward to more words on things that users commonly ask about. You can also look forward to a few additions to the user manual.

And remember, we don’t charge for training. If you want to learn more about this, or other cool stuff, just set up a time that works for both of us.