In 2015, Microsoft began encouraging companies that use its Silverlight media format on their web pages to dump the tech in favor of newer, HTML5-based media playback systems. Microsoft and others now recommend that web developers handle video and other media playback via a number of new protocols introduced in the ongoing HTML5 standardization effort.
The Microsoft Silverlight plug-in promoted proprietary technology rather than open standards. You had to develop on Windows. For our customers it means the Microsoft Silverlight version of AccuAgency can only be used on Internet Explorer.
Last October we released the HTML5 version of AccuAgency that we’re calling AccuAgency5. We’ve posted some blogs about some of the great new features. We’d love to share more about the features and benefits you get with AccuAgency5. Here’s a recent Q&A session we had with Roger Walker, Vice President of AccuAgency, who can tell you even more.
What is AccuAgency5?
This latest version of AccuAgency uses the latest HTML5 web technologies to deliver the same great AccuAgency experience with increased speed and flexibility.
What does this mean for me as an agent?
Faster and more flexible means that AccuAgency is designed to run on any modern browser including Chrome and Edge. The system has been optimized to adjust to any size screen and we've tried to streamline the interface to make using AccuAgency as easy as possible.
Can I use my preferred browser, tablet, or phone?
Yes. Call us to discuss in more detail. While we can't support every option and haven't tested every device and browser out there, the cutting edge technology of AccuAgency5 is designed to work on mobile devices and modern browsers regardless of the type of device. Let us know what your needs are and we will check the compatibility.
Will I have to update or change anything?
No! Provided your PC is up to date your AccuAgency5 experience should be fairly similar to what you’re currently used to.
When you say “fairly” what do you mean?
While most things should be in the same place you’re used to finding them, we’ve simplified some of the menus and the dashboard.
The Utility, Home, Admin, and Account menus have been reshuffled to allow greater ease of access and use.
What are some of the general changes and improvements from Silverlight to HTML5?
Overall the new platform is easier to navigate than Silverlight. It’s touch screen friendly for devices that allow users to interact with a computer by using their finger. Users can save login credentials in their browser so they don’t have to login with their username and password every time.
In addition to the “under the hood” optimizations, there are a lot of improvements to the user experience. Improved search options, dashboard improvements, drag and drop capabilities, utilization of browser tabs and stored form fields, simplified rate display and bridging, and much more. There are a lot of new features on the horizon too including integrating ability to send and receive text messages, enhanced certificate of insurance management, and more carriers available for quoting and downloads.
What management feature are you most excited about?
Management Plus and Management Premium customers can drag and drop attachments. It’s a nice time saving feature that agents have been asking for and we’re excited to have.
What are agents saying about the new AccuAgency5?
Our technical support team is getting a great response. Agents like that it works on multiple browsers and operating systems Modern, popular browsers all support HTML5 (Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera).
It’s mobile and responsive. Responsive means AccuAgency5 can detect the user’s screen size and orientation and change the layout to accommodate the device making use of cascading style pages, flexible layouts and flexible images.
Any other new features?
Yes. When you are ready we will walk you through the improvements so you can be comfortable with them. Remember you can run AccuAgency5 and the current version at the same time. There is no conversion process so you can try it out and switch back and forth until you are comfortable.
Who is using AccuAgency5?
New customers are getting the latest AccuAgency5 version of AccuAgency. We’re ready to switch our Louisiana customers over now. Our inside Sales team is available to train our current customers so they can start taking advantage of the great new features.
HTML5 is faster, more flexible and it’s the future. You don’t want to get left behind. HTML5 is here to stay as more and more elements get adopted more and more companies will start to develop in HTML5.
Give us a call and get switched over to our new system or for a free trial as soon as today. You’ll discover a world of difference with the many features the new system employs. Plus, it’s the same great price!
Contact us to learn more. We think you are going to love it!
Tax season is almost over and you’ve probably filed your business taxes for your independent insurance agency. Could you have done a better job of tracking your business expenses and deductions?
According to the IRS, your business expenses must be ordinary and necessary to be considered a tax deduction. An ordinary expense is an accepted and common expense as an insurance agency. A necessary expense is one that is appropriate as an insurance agency.
The 2017 Department of the Treasury IRS Business Expenses Publication 535 discusses common business expenses and explains what is and what is not deductible.
Anything used for both home and business must be divided up into percentages. If you have a 3,000 square foot home and your home office is 300 square feet, you can deduct 10% of your mortgage payments and other home expenses including insurance, utilities and repairs.
Reference Publication 535 for a checklist of tax deductions for your insurance agency including car allowance, mileage, gasoline, repairs, oil changes, registration fees and tolls. Deduct your Continuing Education expenses including classes, state licenses, renewals and subscriptions insurance related publications. The list goes on detailing deductions for insurance, office space, office supplies and equipment and more.
Consider apps to help you organize and track your expenses and receipts. There are smartphone apps that let you scan receipts and organize them for you. These applications make it fast and easy to search and retrieve your receipts.
There’s a great free app called Evernote that will track your receipts. For expense reports, try Expensify which automatically creates reports from a photo of a receipt. Shoeboxed lets you scan receipts with your smartphone’s camera and extracts the information where you can then organize and store it. Receipts by Wave scans your receipts and makes them fully searchable. It can link receipts to your bank records automatically.
These are just a few suggestions to help you make next year’s tax preparation for your independent insurance agency a little bit easier and hopefully a lot more organized.
Vikki Thomas has been working in the insurance industry since 1995. Vikki has worked for several carriers in customer service, quality assurance, underwriting, product management and marketing. Vikki has worked at AccuAgency since 2008.