Archives for Systems

Visa and MasterCardsYou have been asking for credit card payment capability – and now it’s here!

Your insureds now have the option of paying installments or in full with Visa/MasterCard/Discover credit cards. This option is available on new business and renewals issued beginning December 1.

You also now have sweep capability!

If you accept payments from your insurance for down payments or installments, nothing can be easier than processing a sweep payment with us. All you have to do is make sure your agency is set up once and all future payments are as easy as possible. Just call anyone in our office and we will have you set up in minutes.

You can now also include the policy down payment information while submitting the policy. You no longer have to bind the policy then go submit the down payment separately.

If you submit the down payment information during the policy submission process, once the policy is bound you will get a confirmation as to whether the payments was or was not processed successfully. If it was not, you can still go to the policy and make the payment separately.

Regardless of which method you choose, you have the peace of mind of knowing that all payment information is stored securely and safely.

Improved Quoting LayoutWe’ve completely redesigned our system to make it even faster and easier for you to quote and issue policies.

We’ve also made important product improvements. The most significant of those is that we can now write homeowners policies on dwellings situated on up to 300 acres – that’s right – as part of our farm and ranch coverage options we can now go up to three hundred acres.

Other iMGA farm and ranch options include coverage for:

  • Tractors, ATVs and other mechanized farm equipment
  • Farm and Ranch Liability
  • Animal Collision Coverage
  • Additional buildings

So quote us today – on a farm and ranch, homeowners, rental dwelling, vacant or renter’s policy – quoting and issuing is easier than ever before!

Hurricane Sandy

Photo courtesy Brian Birke

Fortunately when Sandy hit landfall winds were down to 80 miles per hour and she was no longer a full hurricane.

But with a death toll that has already reached 88, estimated economic losses exceeding $50 billion, and over 3 million people still without power, her impact was still massive.

At times like this we are especially proud to be part of an industry that exists to help people rebuild. Much of the damage in this case has been due to flooding, which is not covered by homeowners insurance. But estimates are that up to $20 billion of the losses will be covered by insurance. As agents, carriers, and adjusters work with customers all over the affected areas, the public will once again have the chance to see our industry come through for those in need.

While we would never compare our experience to the devastation suffered by many on the coast, over 1,000 miles away we were directly impacted by Sandy, and we learned some lessons the hard way as a result.

Make Sure You (Really) Have a Backup

This sounds so silly, and we thought we had it covered. Our systems are located in two data centers hundreds of miles apart and in the middle of the country in areas not susceptible to natural disasters. The two locations are on different power grids, with multiple connections to the internet and backup power.

But we outsource our email. Our email provider also has two data centers. But they’re only 100 miles apart. And they’re both on the coast – in New York City and New Jersey. As a result – and because of one more important lesson they hadn’t learned yet – for almost two full days we found ourselves without email.

Make Sure You (Really) Have a Contingency Plan

In addition to email being down for almost two days we had another internal service we use go down for a few hours. Their experience was enlightening, to say the least.

Their data center was on the 17th floor in a building in downtown Manhattan. So far so good. It had huge backup generators to provide power in case the electricity went out – which it did. Generators require fuel, though. So they had big tanks of diesel fuel in the basement. Still fine.

But the pumps that pumped the diesel fuel from the basement to the 17th floor were also in the basement. Below sea level. Just a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. The basement flooded almost immediately, rendering the pumps (and therefore the generators) completely useless.

In order to restore power they literally had to form a bucket brigade and carry diesel fuel up 17 floors a few gallons at a time.

Our email provider had a similar issue at both their data centers. It’s mind boggling that no one had thought to consider the impact of flooding – only of a power outage.

So What Now?

We are:

  1. Reviewing contingency and backup plans with each of our vendors.
  2. Ensuring that their (and our) backup plans consider multiple failures for different or multiple concurrent causes.
  3. Switching to vendors with better contingency plans.
You may want to consider the same.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those struggling to rebuild. If you would like to help personally, we recommend that you text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. The Red Cross has an amazing history of helping people in situations exactly like this.

Many of our agents have asked for a way for us to save sweep account information. We’re very happy to say that it is now available!

You can call us and we can set up your sweep account, or if you’re set up with manager level access (if you have the ability to add or remove other users in your agency) you can make the change yourself.


1. Click on the User Manager tab.

User Manager

2. Click on the Companies tab.

Companies Tab

3. Scroll down the page and enter the sweep account info and click Submit.

Enter Account Info

From then on any time any of your agency personnel are logged in and click the Make Payment option from Policy Manager, they’ll see a drop down that lets them choose either an ACH payment or a Sweep payment. If they choose Sweep they only need to put in the amount and they’re done!

We’ve Also Made Down Payments Easier!

You no longer have to bind the policy and then make the down payment on an insured-bill policy. Now, just before you bind you can enter the insured’s payment info and the amount of their payment – or, if you have sweep set up, just enter the payment amount!

If the insured elects to pay later*, you’ll get a handy reminder of the minimum due and its due date so the insured can avoid unnecessary cancellation.

We are constantly working to make things easier for our agents. We truly appreciate all you do, and hope you find these changes very helpful.

Log in now to set up your sweep account and start saving time today!


*Renters policies will not offer the pay later option – at least the minimum due must be collected at policy issuance.


We understand how critical it is that our agents be properly compensated for the effort it takes to service a policy. We also understand how important it is that everything in the policy issuance and management process be as easy as possible.

Effective immediately, iMGA agents may add an Agency Fee to a Renters policy.

If an Agency Fee is added, it will be:

  1. included in the calculation of the minimum down payment,
  2. disclosed clearly on the policy declarations page,
  3. remitted to the agent on the first commission statement after payment is received, and
  4. automatically included on each renewal of the policy.

Here’s how it will look on the declarations page:Agency Fee Declarations Page Display

You have a wide range of choices as to the Agency Fee you’d like to charge (including the ability to NOT charge a fee), and that choice can change by policy.

We hope you enjoy the added flexibility this provides. If the response to this is positive we will evaluate expanding it to other products as well. Please let us know what you think.

At iMGA we work very hard to make things as easy as possible for our agents and customers. We know our agents work with many companies and many products and it can be hard to be sure you let the customer know what is and is not covered on their policy.

We think we have part of the solution. While we still do not require signed applications for our policies, we now have applications available for you to provide to your customers. As of today, those applications for our Texas Elite HOA/HOA+/HOB and Admitted HOA/HOA+ Homeowners products automatically display the covered perils for the dwelling and contents along with limits and whether the coverage is at replacement cost or actual cash value.

Here’s a shot of what that looked like for a sample base HOA policy without replacement cost coverage:

HOA Plus Application Image


We hope this makes your life simpler, and makes it much easier for you to ensure your customers understand their coverage.


If you’re an agent who doesn’t work with us already and you’d like to work with a market devoted to making Texas MobileHome, Homeowners, Dwelling, Vacant and Umbrella as easy as possible, please tell us about yourself.

At iMGA we on purpose avoid doing things just because everyone has always done it that way.

One of the industry traditions we have bucked in the spirit of being as easy to do business with as possible was the requirement for signed applications.

While many of our agents appreciated that, many others found the absence of an application made completing their processes more difficult and actually caused them extra work. So, we are now giving our partners the choice of having an application for the insured to sign or not.

We believe we are now able to provide application functionality in the best way possible, and are rolling it out to all our products over the next couple weeks starting today with our Texas Admitted HOA/HOA+ homeowners product. Here’s how it works:

There’s a new button on the last page of the application between the Exit and Generate Policy buttons.

If you press that button a PDF is instantly generated.

That PDF is also saved with the quote, so if you exit the quote and later search for it in Quote Manager, you’ll now see the Application in the Attachments tab of the saved quote.

And once you issue the policy, you’ll see an unsigned copy of the application in the Attachments tab of the policy in Policy Manager.

Also, if you’d like, you can upload a copy of the signed application, though that is not required. To do that, just click on “Upload Attachment” on the Attachments tab in Policy Manager.

We hope you enjoy this new feature.

At iMGA we listen to the suggestions and requests of our agents, and we work hard to make our systems as easy to use as possible. If you are a Texas agent who sells Home, MobileHome, Dwelling, Vacant Dwelling, Renters or Umbrella policies and would like to work with iMGA, tell us about yourself.

A couple months ago we needed to switch our print and mailing. The firm that had been doing it could not any longer. This turned out to be a huge positive for several reasons. As part of the process we:

  1. Updated the system creating the print packages.
  2. Analyzed each policy package.
  3. Reviewed the output from each transaction type.
  4. Examined ways to combine output.

These efforts returned significant savings and a better experience for our agents and clients. As a result of the project iMGA was able to produce mailers with:

  1. Much more modern, clean, user-friendly documents.
  2. Much less wasted paper and ink.
  3. Less confusing layout for the clients.
  4. Fewer envelopes and separate packages.

We know there’s always room for more improvement and we will continue to listen to suggestions about ways to get better. In fact, several of the changes we made were the direct result of input from agents that we listened to and those changes made a meaningful impact.

We’re very happy with the results so far. With a few weeks of focused efforts we were able to make substantial improvements in a significant portion of our business.

Specifically, we:

  1. Improved mailing reliability.
  2. Dramatically reduced staff effort and time needed to handle printing and mailing, and
  3. Decreased costs.

All in all, a great experience.

What portion of your business have you focused on lately? What portion of your business would you like to improve? Why not start with that now?

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

That also describes our experience last week.

Thanks to our outstanding agents we had already reached our best month ever by the middle of last week. We’d also had our best day ever just days before. Our newest products had quickly become very well received. All was fantastic.

Then everything fell apart. Thursday we were only barely able to issue a handful of policies. Friday we couldn’t even do that. We’ve been adding so many things to the system lately it was hard to isolate what might have caused the problem and find the real solution. Attempting to do so involved a lot of system restarts. Sometimes quoting was possible, sometimes it wasn’t. Same for payments and policy status information. Endorsements and new business binding was pretty much out of the question.

Of course that caused a lot of phone calls that normally wouldn’t be needed, which caused much worse phone, email and chat service than we are usually able to provide.

To those of you who were affected – we’re very sorry. You were wonderfully patient and understanding and we appreciate that very much, but we still feel terrible that you ever had to go through that.

Now What?

  1. We found and fixed the root cause. It turns out the problem was directly related to the growth we’ve experienced. We became victims of our own success. Lesson: Test systems to be sure they can handle twice or three times the volume you’re at now. It’s great to have solid growth. It’s terrible to not meet the need when it arises.
  2. We “fessed up”. Be straightforward. People will either appreciate your candor and forgive your imperfections or not be the type to cut you any slack anyway. Fortunately we work with awesome agents very willing to do the former.
  3. Get something useful out of the experience. We have changes in place that will make quotes load faster and a checklist that should make troubleshooting easier moving forward. We also have a new understanding of how to more easily roll back product changes so we can confirm or eliminate those as the cause of any issues. Make sure you get some lemonade out of the lemons that come your way too.

What did we miss? What else do you think we could or should take away from this experience?

Are you an agent we don’t already work with? As you just read we’re not perfect. We definitely work hard to make things as easy as possible for our fantastic Texas Personal Property agents, though. If you’d like to become one, tell us a little about yourself.

Between the wildfires raging across Texas, Sunday’s 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the two wars we’ve fought in between, we’ve had very clear reminders of all that our military and first responders (fire, police and EMT) willingly sacrifice.

In order to show our appreciation for and support of these brave men and women, we’re introducing a Military/First Responder discount in our Texas Elite program.

To apply the discount simply choose “Yes” on the “Military/First Responder Discount Applies” question on the Coverage Info page.

MilitaryResponder Discount Screen Shot

Military Responder Tip

Call Tony or Mike at 512.494.4161 x12 or x13 if you have any questions or need any additional information – and don’t forget our special wildfire disaster relief support program for the American Red Cross Central Texas office.

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