Chad Van Camp
Family Insurance Center
“The service is head and shoulders above what we experienced with our old provider. It’s unbelievable how willing they are to respond and adapt to support us as an agency.”
- Locations: Seymour (main office), Freedom, Greenville, and Stockbridge, WI
- Agency Founded: 1988
- Over 150 years combined insurance experience
Chad Van Camp
Over his 11 years at Family Insurance Center, Chad Van Camp has seen the agency grow and expand, adding both new locations and staff. The more the agency grew, the less their agency management system fit their needs. After years of putting up with an out-of-date system, they began searching for an alternative. A referral from a colleague and a Partner XE demo proved the excellence of the system. The continual support of the Strategic Insurance Software team solidified the partnership.
Below is an excerpt from our interview with them.
We have four locations, operating in smaller communities in Wisconsin. As agents, we take pride in being more than a sales team to our clients. We stay connected and interact with them beyond the sale. And, we take pride in retention. Maintaining our current book is really important to us.
We’d been meaning to change management systems for some time, but kept putting it off because it never felt like a “good time.” We were with our old provider for eight years. There was a comfort level there. About a year ago, we finally had enough and got serious about looking at different options. Ultimately, we made the switch early in December 2015.
(Our old system) is very popular among other agencies, but we always felt like there had to be something better. It was cumbersome and didn’t fit the modern feel of the other technology we use. Everyday tasks took too many steps. Also, employee onboarding was challenging. It was difficult for new hires to learn how to operate it efficiently.
We initially asked our carrier marketing reps. We were curious to hear what others were using and what they preferred. Then, at an agency advisory council for one of our carriers, an agent referred us to Partner XE. I honestly hadn’t heard of it, but I trusted this agent and knew they’d done their due diligence. So, I did a bit of my own research, liked what I saw, and contacted SIS.
We demoed Partner XE and another system. At first, we leaned towards the other system but, after a second demo of Partner XE, it became clear it was the better system. We liked the way it flowed, especially the screens you could view with a single click. The user-friendly, modern functionality of Partner XE made it stand out.
The data conversion was a challenge initially. Certain things didn’t convert as we would have liked. It was a difficult to match the data paths in our old system to Partner XE, but SIS was great about working with us. The team moved the data and recoded it, so we didn’t have to reenter information manually. It saved us hours of work. They were able to do it all without tying up our staff.
We knew learning a new system would be a challenge, and were ready for it. We did the (pre-conversion) training and were comfortable. Even with that training, though, the first month was an adjustment. We felt SIS prepared us as much as possible, but there is no substitute for on-the-job learning.
It was maybe 30 days of growing pains. We kept some of our old system accounts open in case we felt like we couldn’t get to something. But, after 30 days, it tapered off. A week in there were a ton of questions, after two weeks there were less, and after 30 days we all felt like we never had to use our old system again. There was no need—we had everything right there (in Partner XE).
Specifically, they helped our staff with certificates of insurance. That was something we struggled with initially. So, SIS set up a meeting to go over that portion of the program.
They helped us understand how the system works and why things weren’t working instead of just saying “you did it wrong.” The support staff was, and still is, always helpful, diligent in responding, and focused on teaching us best practices.
On top of that, SIS continually reaches out to make sure we are comfortable. They follow up to ensure we’re functioning as expected. A common message I get from everyone in our agency is how great SIS is to work with. Not only when we did the install, but even today. The service is head and shoulders above what we experienced with our old provider. It’s unbelievable how willing they are to respond and adapt to support us as an agency.
Very different. With our old provider, it felt like you entered a massive switchboard and hit eight different numbers before talking to someone. Even when you did get a real person, it usually required a callback. They seldom acted on our requests and if they did it was very time-consuming. With SIS, you hear back from an email in a few hours. I’ve never waited more than a day for a response.
SIS feels like a smaller company—more flexible to customer needs. If you have a creative idea to improve something in Partner XE, they’ll listen and change it. Requests don’t fall on deaf ears. I’ve seen changes made in a few days, with larger projects being completed in six months. They listen to what you have to say and develop their product based on customer needs.
Drag and drop was something we liked in our old system and knew it wasn’t in Partner XE when we purchased it. During the sales process, we mentioned that we liked that capability, and the SIS reps told us it was in the works. And, they delivered. It wasn’t just a sales pitch that didn’t go anywhere.
Compared to our old system, there’s more available in a single view. This helps us serve our customers better. For example, if you’re looking at someone’s personal auto, you don’t have to go to a bunch of different screens; everything you need is in one place. So now, when a client calls, we don’t have to keep them on hold. No more fumbling around on different screens to find that information.
The other feature I like is the mobile app. With our old system, we didn’t have a good app to use on the road. It’s great to have everything in the palm of your hand. There are times you get calls after hours or on the weekends (all too often, really) and with the mobile app you can quickly pull it up, load the client’s information and tell them exactly what they need.
After switching, the top thing I would say about Partner XE is their service. That’s not the main reason we switched, but we soon discovered the service is exceptional.
As far as the system, the flow has streamlined our processes. You can plug new users in and get them up to speed quickly. The Outlook Plug-In is a huge time saver. It integrates really well with Partner XE. Running reports is much easier, too. Plus, Partner XE is good at putting a lot of information in front of you in a single screen shot.
My first bit of advice is contact SIS for a demo. When you reach out to your industry contacts, some of may be unfamiliar (with Partner XE) —but give it a try. We are pleased with SIS’s adaptability, customer support, and how efficiently they allow us to function as an agency.