Applied Systems recently wrapped up its Applied Net 2020 Virtual Conference. It was the largest Applied Net yet, with over 12,000 insurance professionals tuning in from around the world to engage in over 120 education sessions, featuring over 180 speakers and presenters. It’s safe to say the insurance technology giant did not let the COVID-19 pandemic rain on its parade.
Over eight days of thought-provoking content and virtual networking, Applied gave attendees valuable insights, tools and techniques needed to succeed on their digital path forward. There was a virtual exhibit hall, live demos of new Applied products, and plenty of networking opportunities via the networking lounge. All focus was on the digital path forward – the theme of Applied Net 2020 – which the firm says is “fueled by innovation and driven by diversity.”
“At Applied, we’re leading the way. We’re lighting the digital path forward, connecting the digital ecosystem of insurance with practical innovation, creating productivity, simplicity and intelligence, and driving value to our industry like never before,” Applied announced in its opening video, setting the tone for the conference as innovative and inspiring. “While today feels uncertain, we’re here as your partner, working together to make change and opportunity – for each other and our industry – challenging conventional thinking to create new realities for a stronger tomorrow […] As we travel this digital path forward, it’s up to us to put lives back together, restart businesses, rebuild communities, and dream new dreams.”
The educational sessions at Applied Net 2020 covered a wide range of topics, from mobile and data analytics, to the cloud and more, providing attendees with crucial insights about their Applied technology investment, industry trends and best practices.
This year’s guest speakers included: Applied CEO Taylor Rhodes (pictured, top), who announced two new product launches; Michael Howe (pictured, below), EVP of product management at Applied, who unveiled the latest Applied product innovations and roadmap; Applied Client Network CEO Brian Langerman, who discussed how Applied Client Network helps clients make the most of their Applied technology investment; and Rich Belanger, EVP of product development at Applied, who talked through the firm’s product portfolio evolution and discussed Applied’s expanded partnership with Google.
“While we couldn’t predict a global pandemic or the massive economic fallout it has and will continue to create, this is now our new reality,” Rhodes said in his keynote address. “So, the question is, what can we do together during this time to help accelerate your journey to the digital future? How can we use this crisis to help you become a more resilient agency or carrier – to help you emerge from this crisis as a stronger and more valuable business?”
One of the new tools launched by Rhodes during the conference is Applied Marketing Automation, the industry’s first natively integrated marketing automation application, which enables agents and brokers to quickly build and track marketing email campaigns, while also delivering relevant and timely content to P&C and employee benefits clients and prospects.
Product management leader Howe commented: “We believe the true power of becoming a digital agency comes not only from the capabilities of individual products, but also in how they work and integrate beautifully together to provide the agency with a more seamless set of end-to-end workflows and common data.” Applied Marketing Automation is digitally integrated into Applied Epic, giving agents and brokers immediate access to the tool via their management system.
“Agencies and brokerages have historically found it challenging to attract and actively engage both prospects and customers,” Howe added. “As the competitive pressure in the market now increases, many are now looking to improve how they market the unique strengths of their business to both existing customers to protect the existing book, but also to generate new business leads that can drive growth at the agency.”
The second tool that Applied launched was IVANS Submissions via Indio, a solution for end-to-end commercial submissions management that enables insurers to more quickly and easily market appetite directly to agencies and automate submissions data exchange between systems. By tapping into the IVANS network of 32,000 agencies, IVANS Submissions enables insurers to efficiently reach the right agents with the right products to increase ease of doing business and drive the most profitable premium growth.
“We’ve all heard the joke that we should just delete 2020 and move on, but instead, what if we look at 2020 as the year we all finally get serious about the digital changes we need to make to build stronger bonds with our customers, to equip our precious employees with the tools they need to work more intelligently, and to build more resiliency into our businesses?” said Rhodes. “If we’re honest with each other, the insurance industry overall, and especially the independent agency channel, didn’t do as well as some other industries in the last digital inflection [after the Great Recession]. We still have some catching up to do to really harness the value of our digital future.”
That’s what the Applied Net 2020 Virtual Conference was all about – helping independent agencies plot their digital paths forward with confidence, so that they can emerge as stronger, more resilient, and more valuable companies after the COVID crisis and beyond.