Going Paperless – “Personally”

by Rusty Keighron, Field Sales Account Executive, Agency Markets, Vertafore on August 30, 2010 · 10 comments

I believe that for me to speak credibly to our prospects and customers about going paperless in their agency or business, I need to do the same in my personal life. The benefits that we discuss about being able to receive documents electronically, to find them quickly, to print them only when needed on demand, to share them easily by email or fax, and to purge them when no longer needed are just as important to me as they are to our agencies and customers. One of the benefits of being a Docstar employee is that I am provided with a scanner (the first I’ve ever had), and I was determined to use it as our customers would. I had a very full lateral file with my records and like most of us, could never find the document I needed and dreaded the yearly (sometimes bi-yearly) cleanout.

Past Due Papers.jpg

The first step was to sign up for electronic delivery of credit card statements, power and gas bills, bank statements, broker statements, and cable. Make sure your notifications for payment are sent to your best email address – I had directed those for my power bill to be sent to an email address I didn’t check very often, and was nearly disconnected as a result! [Note to customers: Docstar makes all electronic documents immediately searchable by any word, so it’s just one more benefit of receiving them this way.] Any bills and statements that don’t come electronically (like my insurance policy and statements!) are scanned upon receipt and then dropped into a nearby shredder.

I was already paying bills through Quicken, but most of the notifications come with a “Pay” button in the email that allow me to pay or schedule payment directly from the link. Documents need to be properly categorized of course (charity receipts used to be the worst to try to find at tax time) but I prompt for that information at the time of filing. If you use Quicken and would like to attach scanned documents or files to a transaction, you can simply right click on the transaction date and choose Attach. My travel documents are handed off to TripIt (www.tripit.com) where they are immediately passed to my iPhone and iPad for access on the go.

One thing I’m not yet filing electronically but will get to are warranty documents for the washer, dryer, TV set, furniture, printer, electric knife, watch, clock radio, and even the garbage can (?) that you’re expected to produce with a receipt when they are in need of repair. How many times have you realized it’s easier to pay for a repair than figure out if something is covered and be prepared to prove it?

Tax time is now a breeze; looking up any check, payment, bill, or policy takes only a few seconds.

My lateral file is still full – but what’s in there is now more than 4 years old (my start date with Docstar) and is in need of a thorough cleanout. This experience makes my presentation to my clients much more credible because I do practice what I preach. The paperless office (and home office) is available to you today!

What are you challenges in going paperless at home or at the office?  Our contributors have great solutions.  Let us hear from you.

  • Kathleen Glattly

    That is personally awesome!

  • Randy, thanks so much for sharing this with all of us. I too spend my time teaching agencies how to be organized. Yet, I also find it difficult to manage. As a small business person I have 2 main tools, a program NeatReceipts at http://neatco.com for all business receipts and expense reports and my Fujitsu ScanSnap S300M scanner. While I am not always 100% on top of my stuff, I would drown without these tools.

  • Rusty, I agree that it is important to illustrate the importance of going paperless to customer and prospects. However, while scanning is an important step in eliminating paper, being able to extend scanned data to end-users further supports an agency’s mission of a paperless environment. Document imaging systems that integrate with web-based client access solutions (such as Artizan’s CSR24) enable agencies to provide policyholders the resources they need online, eliminating the need for hard copy. This integration not only enforces the paperless message but gives clients the means follow that message.

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  • Rusty Keighron

    Hi Christen, I agree that having web-based client access for agents is a great thing. Many of our customers take advantage of docSTAR's WebView thin client to securely give their end-users and remote producers access to agency documents. We are adding the ability to allow remote users to add scanned documents through inexpensive TWAIN scanners and to do basic annotations that do not change the base document. Thanks for bringing that up, great point.
    Pat, I was laughing at your NeatReceipts comment. I took advantage of last week's WOOT to buy a portable scanner and NeatReceipts software for a bargain price! We'll see.
    Rusty

  • We are paperless at the office but never dreamed of going paperless at home. This article is an eye opener. Time to buy a home shredder. Thank you for the informative article and ideas.

  • Rusty Keighron

    I am LOVING my Neat Recipts!! No more cropping and taping receipts to blank paper. One more drawer full of stuff that can now be on the hard drive instead.

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