Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Pre-sales questions

How long have you been in business?

We sold our first copy of ABS Agency Builder in 1994 under a different name. We changed the name because of the similarity to a different, non-insurance related product. Because it was developed by an actual insurance agent, it was used even before it was released for sale. During our early years, we focused on Direct Writers (Captive Agents), which makes us relatively unknown in the Independent Agency world. Because many of those Captive Agents became “independent” we completely redesigned the software starting around 2006. Today it satisfies all insurance agencies, Captive and Independent. 

Is your program in the cloud?

You have your choice of running on your office computers or running in our cloud. The software looks and behaves exactly the same. Some people like to be in control by running on their own computers. Others are willing to let us handle the technical stuff like Windows and ABS software updates, and backing up data. If you’re one of those, ABS Cloud is crazy fast and easy to use. Please click here for more info.

What can you do about the client / policy data I have in a different system?

We are able to migrate data from other agency management systems into ours. If you have made your own system, we need to see what you’ve got. Most people who create their own system use a spreadsheet, or an off-the-shelf contact manager like ACT! or Microsoft Outlook. In those cases, the conversion will be relatively easy, and inexpensive. In any case, you should call us if you want talk further.

What about a Paperless Office?

The ABS Document Manager is used by most of our offices to get rid of their filing cabinets. It is a fantastic feature that automatically links documents you store, to the accounts in ABS Agency Builder. In addition to being linked to the account (household if you wish), documents can also be linked to a policy, or to a family member in the account. This makes document retrieval easier than anything you have ever used. Period.  A word to the wise, the advantage of a document management system is to make document retrieval easier, and faster. None of them save you much time putting documents into the system, but with some it takes longer. The real advantage to ABS Document Manager is that it saves a little time in filing, and saves an enormous amount of time when you want to find the document.  

Do you have a comparative rater?

Most insurance carriers now offer on-line rating which is much more trustworthy than even the most popular rating systems. We offer one-click access to carrier web sites where you will get the current rates. As you know, insurance rates change frequently. When they do, there is a lag between the new rates, and when they are available from the 3rd party rating companies. If you really want to upset your clients, quote a policy at one price only to have it issue at a higher premium. We were agents ourselves, and we understand. The answer is no. We make it fast and easy for you to use the carrier’s on-line rating system because we believe it will save you grief in the long run.

Why do you have extra cost options?

We don’t believe in charging people for things they will not use. The main program contains features of benefit to all agencies. The other modules are things some agencies need, but others don’t. For example, some agencies are physically located where they almost never have drop-in premium payers. Others are located where they must process lots of payments (like a strip mall). The Receipt Manager would be a waste of money for an office that hardly ever receive payments. Likewise, some agencies prefer to have hard copies of their paperwork, so our Document Manager would be of no benefit. Also, there are those who have been using a 3rd party document system, and switching to something else is simply not in the cards.
You get the idea. It’s a practice that saves some folks a bit of money. Don’t think of it as our way of inching up the cost. It’s not. It’s our way of trying to keep agency management affordable. Besides, the two options we just mentioned only cost a little over $100 a year. That’s right – a year and we don’t charge monthly fees.

What if I want to add an option after I’ve been using the program for a while?

We prorate the annual license fee. You can add an option whenever you wish, and we’ll treat you right.

What if I don’t like it after I’ve used it?

We offer a 30 day money back guarantee (except for ABS Cloud). If you are interested in cloud-based software and want to see what it’s like. Try our 30-day trial.  Our 30-day trial period is where you pay a small, non-refundable fee, and get the full, unrestricted program, on your computers. We even provide telephone training for you and your staff. If you don’t like it, we keep the fee. If you decide to keep it, we apply 100% of the fee toward your license purchase. Our order form does not reflect the trial period, so you should call us if you want to give it a try.

Typical “How-To” questions

How do I backup my data?

ABS Comes with an easy-to-use data backup utility.  It can be run manually, or it can be scheduled to run unattended. There are very complete instructions in our user manual. Do not rely on external, 3rd party backup system unless they are used as off-site storage for the backup file made by ABS Data Backup. This is important.  .

How can I change the word processor return address?

Templates control the layout of letters. To edit the ABS word processor templates:
1. Open word processor (pretend to print a letter to anyone).
2. Click Edit » Templates
3. You should find 4 template files.

How can I add a new workstation?

A full installation manual is here. It covers the server (Host) setup, as well as client workstation installation. Follow the instructions to the letter, especially step 14.

How can I change the server (Host) to a different computer?

You will need the installation manual during this process. It does not cover changing host computers, so follow these instructions:
1. Use ABS Data Backup to make a removable backup of your data.
2. Make sure the new host computer is connected to your network.
2. On the new host, uninstall ABS if installed.
3. On the new host, install ABS according to the installation instructions (especially step 14).
→ 3a. Do a Host installation.
→ 3b. Do not attempt to open ABS yet.
4. Restore the data from the backup made in step 1. You may now open ABS.
5. If the old server is to be retained as a workstation, uninstall and reinstall as a workstation.

Note: if the new host has a different Computer Name, you will need to reconfigure the path for each workstation.

Upgrading Windows on the server (Host): What to do?

You will need the installation manual during this process, although it does not cover changing host operating system. When upgrading Windows, follow these instructions:
1. Use ABS Data Backup to make a removable backup of your data.
2. Upgrade Windows making sure it is still connected to your network.
3. After Windows is operating properly, install ABS per the installation instructions (especially step 14).
→ 3a. Do a Host installation.
→ 3b. Do not attempt to open ABS yet.
4. Using ABS Data Restore, restore the data from the backup made in step 1. You may now open ABS.
Note: if the new host has a different Computer Name, you will need to reconfigure the path for each workstation.

How do I create mailing labels?

Mailing labels for bulk mailings are created from the Predefined Queries. Once you have selected and filtered your query, simply click the Mailing Label button at the top of the screen.
To create a single label for a single client, click File » Print » Single Label.