We are usually asked about:

What differentiates Velocity from other software products?

  • Velocity is soft-coded so that customization of the software for your particular needs is easier and does not involve significant cost and time to implement. The flexibility of the software thus distinguishes it from most other products on the market;
  • Velocity offers end-to-end processing of insurance business from application to invoice to renewal to accounting with a robust and superior integrated premium accounting system;
  • Velocity allows for real-time rating and underwriting validations using rules and algorithms defined by the client. Rating and underwriting manuals and changes can be input by your staff without the necessity of hiring programmers.
  • Velocity allows the client to custom-automate their own unique business processes by using workflows to automatically execute virtually any task. This capability is available in Velocity or in web pages developed with VRC’s WebFlows technology.   Examples of this are: creating diary items, rating and endorsement changes, creating and sending out invoices, direct interface to other websites for automatic import or validation of information etc.;
  • VRC has created WebFlows technology which is a tool that allows the creation of web pages using generic sets of tables to automatically create 80-90% of web presentation and functionality. This wizard-like tool allows for the easy creation of web pages tailored to each business process providing both external and internal access to Velocity.
  • Velocity allows for document management, clearing and storage using its drag and drop technology. Velocity can take electronic information (including paperwork, images, photos, recorded statements, videos) and drag and drop that information into an organized storage space in the database for future retrieval when renewal, claims, coverage and other issues arise. In short, a paperless environment is created.
  • You can take advantage of Velocity’s HTML email editor which allows for magazine quality images and communications in your emails. Alternatively, plain text emails are always available.
  • Velocity gravitates toward an optimum technological model of simplicity and centralization of the software for maximum responsiveness and performance. This integrated software model limits the adverse influences on core functionality caused by multiple software interfaces and add-ons.
  • Velocity is architected to operate on the most reliable, secure and scalable platform that is available.  Velocity operates on the current technology using a three-tier structure of front end browser, application server and database server. It is designed to operate on a non-message based (monolithic kernel) operating system like Unix or Linux.
  • Since 1986, VRC Insurance Systems has been developing Velocity into the most versatile, integrated and powerful software on the market – so effective and comprehensive that five of the top ten Brokers in the United States have implemented it to run their businesses.
  • Velocity is the only affordable integrated, versatile and powerful insurance processing software on the market. The cost to implement Velocity is not only a fraction of what our competition charges but also we have developed our tools and features so that your business can actually realize significant savings by elimination of costly and duplicative paperwork, administrative time and effort.
  • The Velocity program is browser-enabled to connect to the application server so that the program can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Velocity offers clients an HTML-based Portal  providing the capability to have agents, brokers and insureds self-service by the sharing of  real-time information  through a Portal to your database as customized by you;[As examples, Velocity allows you to have insureds, brokers and agents apply for insurance online, obtain immediate underwriting and rating decisions, obtain premium quotes, obtain certificates, renew policies, obtain insurance policy information and/or report claim information directly into your database without replicative human intervention.]

What kind of support and customization is provided with Velocity?

Support and Service to the Customer is one of the reasons why our client retention is so high. Just ask our Customers. VRC is proud to be able to serve its clients in a personal “hands on” fashion in a variety of ways. Here are examples:

Operational Reviews and Consultation Services

Operational reviews are used to bridge the gap of client requirements and software implementation. These reviews are performed on-site for both existing Velocity clients and potential new clients. During these sessions VRC investigates and documents the entire workflow for the personnel. Sessions on new business, endorsement processing, cancellations, renewals, accounting procedures, and web data flows are held and a document is published which details these workflows. These workflows are matched with “how to” procedures from beginning to end. Any gaps in existing and required client workflows are documented. The necessary parameters to support these procedures are detailed in these findings. The end result is a blueprint on how your company will use the system. This narrows the focus for user training and provides a launch point for the implementation. We highly recommend this process as a thorough review will provide the customer with the highest degree of satisfaction in the long run

System Configuration

As a threshold consideration, customers often review their infrastructure needs with us before we implement Velocity. This type of consultation may also become necessary at any time when the needs of the client change or when issues arise from integrating separate technologies or processes. Many of our customers have internal expertise on existing infrastructure but often choose to avail themselves of the knowledge base regarding performance, capacity and flexibility VRC can provide regarding hardware, operating systems and networks.

Conversion

In most cases, with each new client that chooses Velocity, a conversion is necessary. The conversion of legacy system historical information into usable Velocity data is a significant concern to our new clients. VRC has converted many systems with a tried and true methodology. We start with a conversion checklist which details which area of the system need to be converted. These areas include, but are not limited to, insureds, brokers, markets, chart of accounts, basic policy information, detailed exposure and coverages, basic claims information, detailed claim payment history, sales history, open receivables, open payables, document, and diary items. Each area has prescribed format that is documented with each conversion performed. VRC can help extract data or take the prescribed information directly into Velocity. The methodology of conversion has been refined to yield the shortest amount of time to complete, while having a statistically reliable audit result

Support

Implementation consulting is commonly requested. Velocity is designed to be soft-coded so that users can design their own coverages, underwriting rules, and outputs. Velocity comes standard with 40 ACORD lines of business ready for deployment. Clients that offer non-ACORD business can use Velocity for the unique characteristics of these lines of business. Some of our clients setup their own products without using VRC’s services, but, in the event that a product needs a quick start, VRC can be engaged to complete the soft-coding of their lines of business. Assistance in the implementation of rating, proposal development, and establishing automated renewals are frequent types of requests which VRC routinely fulfills.

Custom Modifications

Velocity is a system rich in features and is configurable to match the needs of most clients. Even though Velocity has been enhanced over the twenty plus years of its life by thousands of changes, a client may find a new tweak or a new subsystem would greatly increase productivity. VRC always exhausts the current system’s capabilities prior to engaging in a new development project. A hallmark service provided by VRC is the changing of Velocity to meet its client’s requirements. Whether the change is to the core database, user interface, reports, processes, web facing presence, or third party interfaces, VRC has the history of meeting these challenges with US based staff many of whom have been involved with engineering Velocity changes since its beginning. This level of experience matched with state of the art tools allows VRC to work efficiently to deliver solutions.

VRC University

Our VRC University program provides the training tracks we believe are necessary to become accomplished in Velocity. The tracks include front office, accounting, and technology. Classes are offered in progression from freshman to senior level. Each course is targeted to take no more than two hours, inclusive of testing. VRC offers monthly free sessions to the VIP users community. VRC also provides specialized training. This training can range from simple coaching for veteran users to written training guides for new implementations. Our experience is that investment in training correlates to productivity minimizing downtime and maximizing your business processes. Ongoing training is particularly important for businesses adding new employees and also for upgrades to new functions and features.

What is VRC’s mission and who are the management?

Company Mission Statement

Virtual Research Corporation (VRC) was established in 1986. VRC’s mission is to provide the premier software system to the insurance agent, broker, and carrier markets using the most advanced hardware and software technologies available.  Our approach is summarized below:

  1. Leveraging the most advanced enterprise technology with internally-evolving software to achieve uncompromising performance, reliability and scalability.
  2. Achieving for its clients maximum efficiency gains in terms of cost, performance and usability across a wide range of markets.
  3. Providing the highest level of personal attention by experienced, resourceful, and committed professionals averaging more than twenty years of industry experience.
  4. Implementing rapid product advancements based on user group recommendations, industry-leading client direction and creative management ideas.

The Velocity program has evolved over the years to its current three tier and end tier technologies. The Velocity product is now our core offering in the property and casualty insurance market. Velocity has evolved in function and performance to the point that it is now used by five of the top ten insurance brokers in the United States[1]. VRC is a “grass-roots” organization which has grown organically without outside capitalization, mergers or acquisitions.  The company is debt-free and enjoys the freedom and focus of answering only to its customers and constituents. This is one reason why its products are more affordable than its competitors. As a genuine research and development organization, VRC is able to achieve its goal of flexible performance, reliability and scalability through its internally and rapidly evolving software. Our customers can comfortably know that their business process capabilities and cost management goals can and will be advanced from year to year with user group recommendations, industry-leading client direction and creative management ideas.

Management

VRC’s primary location is in Westlake Village California and has approximately 20 of the 25 employees and independent contractors working at this location.  Other employees are located in California, Michigan, South Carolina and Oregon and work remotely through the Westlake Village location. VRC is owned principally by board members and the management who hold over 95% of the shares. The management of VRC are: Peter Cooper, President & CEO; Dennis Deems, COO & Vice President; Brand Cooper, CFO & Senior Vice President; Thomas Turgeon, Senior Vice President; Rick Scheible, Senior Vice President, Development and Kevin Thordarson, Vice President, Development.

VRC delivers its services almost entirely through employees but also has independent contractors available who are familiar with the software and have assisted for many years in support and development. VRC does not currently outsource any of its support or development services. VRC employs skilled computer professionals highly experienced at producing programs and software in the insurance industry.  The entire VRC senior staff have an average experience level in excess of 25 years.

What is Velocity’s technological architecture?

Our Technology

The standard Velocity software program operates on a three-tier architecture of client/application/database server.  This allows the application business rules to be housed in a single central location. The benefit of this is to eliminate the adverse effects of a client server-like installation where each workstation computer is required to have installed a complete copy of the application program. This also eliminates the alternative necessity of installing a significantly configured terminal services computer to run the application for Wide Area Network access with its inherent limitations on scalability and potential maintenance and installation issues.  The Velocity program is browser-enabled to connect to the application server so that the program can be accessed from anywhere. Portals into the customer databases are also three-tier architecture and utilize an application server which communicates natively with an HTML browser for easy creation and processing of webpages.

Our experience has taught us that the most reliable, scalable and performance-oriented model is a non-message based (monolithic kernel) operating system like Unix or Linux. We find that most of our clients are relieved to have this technology since it increases performance and eliminates or reduces the need for high levels of maintenance of the hardware and operating systems ‐ in effect the systems just run with no touch and without significant or any unplanned downtime.

Our Software

  • VRC’s integrated software provides a comprehensive package of all essential insurance functions and features for Rate, Quote, Issue, Rating, Underwriting, Servicing, Claims, Accounting and Document Management. It has been developed and designed in America in-house to be primarily soft-coded so that it provides optimum flexibility to allow for the peculiar custom requirements of any client;
  • VRC’s software evolves internally and rapidly with annual or more frequent substantive releases based on user group suggestions, industry-leading direction and management vision;
  • Our software is web-capable and allows for outside self-servicing through portals and provides tools for IT departments or unsophisticated professionals to create with assistance web flows, pages and processes;
  • Our R&D department is on the cutting edge of technology with our relentless pursuit of automation, ease of usage, simplicity and mobile applications.
  • – See more at: http://www.vrcis.com/faq/#sthash.d7W3Mn1R.dpuf

What is unique about Velocity’s underwriting and rating process?

Velocity Rating is definable and maintainable by insurance professionals.  Velocity rating does not require a programmer to implement and maintain underwriting manual changes.  Rating tables can be easily added or updated by download.  Velocity users need not subscribe to any update service. Policy coverages (limits, deductibles, terms and conditions etc.) can be preset.  Alternatively, coverages can be determined through a defined validation process.  Velocity definable rules are created to match your underwriting guidelines.  There are underwriting factors that can be applied in Velocity at the discretion of the underwriter based on their authority to adjust the premium. This process can be performed through self-service portals by consumers providing  24/7 access. For business which involves significant renewal steps Velocity offers preprogrammed definable automated processes.  This one system is wholly integrated which means the entire process from application to rating, underwriting and general ledger posting is recorded, stored with a proven audit trail.  Payments can be made through credit card integration so that transactions can be literally no-touch.

What are the advantages of a soft-coded system like Velocity?

Velocity is soft-coded so that customization of the software for your particular needs is easier and does not involve significant cost and time to implement. Most of our competitors produce hard-coded software that requires significant programming time and charges to make even minor adjustments to functionality. Long ago we recognized that our clients need to adjust their business processes and products and therefore would be regularly needing to make adjustments to the functionality and processing.  We therefore architected our software so that a large amount of the code referencing tables and functions was written in code that can easily be modified. The flexibility of the software thus distinguishes it from most other products on the market. Because of this soft-coding Velocity can be easily customized to meet your unique needs.

What accounting system does Velocity use?

Over the years the Velocity accounting software has developed into a comprehensive enterprise premium accounting system. It is the result of the collaborative input from a large number of insurance entities, national brokers, retail brokers, banks and niche markets. This accounting system is robust and can easily service businesses with high numbers of transactions and those which require complex tracking and reporting. Examples of its capabilities are: processing & storage for multiple entities, multiple policies, tiered accounts receivables, tracking and automated allocations of commissions, financing premiums, calculations for mid-term or out of sequence endorsements, cancellations, refunds,  allocations of expenses and credit card and ACH capabilities. In some cases, the comprehensiveness of Velocity accounting has been the primary selection criteria of the customer.

How does Velocity manage documents?

This software enables you to account for and process in-bound documents (faxes, emails and attachments) and store them in the Velocity system. Upon receipt of documents, you can assign a context to the document (e.g. customer number, application or policy number etc.) relying on our Drag & Drop technology, or, if the proper context is included in an email, the assignment is performed automatically.  Definable rules (using the Scripting Engine) can automatically create a number of functions such as a queue event (e.g. diary item or an email). Documents can be placed into different queues by making a queue choice from the source (e.g. fax, phone number, email address etc.). The document can be status-tracked and saved for audit purposes. There are many other features included such as:

  • The system recognizes and saves the source document yet allows for editing of the source document to create a destination or cleared document. The cleared document will have a link on it to allow reference back and viewing of the source document;
  • The system allows for easy selection of documents for storage and/or rejection of documents (as well as rejection of selected pages in a document) which are unessential such as cover sheets or pages that have already been copied in other documents;
  • The system allows user/processors to designate to the queue their availability to process documents at any time. Document clearing is performed by page;
  • Documents can be converted into PDF format, merged into other documents, deleted, rotated, straightened, stored, broken down into multiple documents, purged, but the source document will keep its original orientation.

The Velocity or Portal user will be allowed to perform any standard function while clearing documents into Velocity (e.g. create a policy, application, claim, save a record, etc.).

How does Velocity automate customer workflows?

Velocity can be used with tools such as its Scripting Engine to provide automatic macro capability enabling the execution of client-defined (internal and external) processing tasks. You may internally create and maintain your own processing and functionality with:

  • Automatic workflow invocations, defaults with validation
  • Automated rules-based underwriting
  • Application validations, qualifications, limitations or references
  • Database connectivity to outside websites

You can define workflows that can be automatically or manually invoked to perform virtually any task. Examples of automatic workflows enabled by this engine are: start an order, re-rate the policy, print an invoice, email confirmations, create follow up diaries etc.

With the Scripting Engine, not only can you rate your risks, but also institute your own pre-defined underwriting rules, pre-fill a complete set of limits, automatically implement threshold qualification guidelines (based on your rules or state, rate and policy filings).

For applications received on the internet, triggered macros can contemporaneously validate entries, disqualify applicants from coverage or disclose coverage limitations or provide transfer references to other programs or insurers. This automatic process minimizes errors and omissions and provides for the consistent application of your underwriting criteria.

The Scripting Engine allows the system to automatically talk to other computers on the internet and exchange, import and validate data (e.g. Departments of Motor Vehicles licensing information).  The Scripting Engine can be used internally with Velocity’s extensive set of API’s to easily create workflow invocations and automatically accomplish tasks.

How can program business and mass renewals be managed on Velocity?

Program management is one of Velocity’s specialities managed through use of the Velocity Carrier bundle. The Carrier Bundle is a package of subsystems that can be added to Velocity to extend its reach to rate, quote and issuance functions. This bundle demonstrates the high degree of automation and flexible processing capabilities provided for the creation of new policies, renewals and mid-term endorsements. Claims Administration has been included in this offering to accommodate those situations where claims need to be paid and administered.

Rating:

The rating program is an integrated and native system within Velocity as opposed to an external system. Clients are enabled to input predetermined rates or define their own customized rating criteria for policies or endorsements without the need of a programmer. Rating can be input based on exposure-based criteria or cumulative value criteria with automatic calculation of taxes and fees. Retroactive, Out of Sequence and Mid-Term endorsements are easily rated. Premiums can be varied by state and effective years for each line of coverage.

Quoting:

The program allows for creation of multi-quote alternatives based on various coverages, limits and deductibles and payment plans; automatic creation of application and quotes from expiring policies; side-by side comparison of quotes from different carriers and the creation of correspondence and calendar activities throughout the quoting, renewal and mid-term endorsement process. Quoting has been used to create quick quotes on the web, detailed quotes both on the web and by CSRs and provides standard and custom product proposals that include multiple coverage combinations and premium options.

Policy Issuance:

The carrier bundle will complete the process of closing the policy cycle.  Declaration pages and applicable endorsements can be packaged with a table of contents and listing of form attachments. As with most features within Velocity, you can create and maintain your own forms library and rules for attaching endorsements. Policy issuance documents which are pre-determined can be automatically pulled and packaged. Invoices are automatically issued for new business, renewals and mid-term endorsements based on quotes accepted.

Mass Solicitation and Renewal:

This tool allows the client to target prospects/clients in various ways to take advantage of the Rate, Quote and Issuance features. Definable criteria can be used to focus upon a segment of the market (e.g. all polices with a certain renewal date or period) to be the subject of a campaign. Mass renewals can be automatically handled by creation of pre-defined proposals, letters, emails, diary items in a time-sensitive manner. This process can include an opt-out strategy wherein policies and invoices are generated and can be automatically emailed. A Proof of Mailing feature is included as needed.

Claims Administration:

The core Velocity product is used to track claims.  With this add-on subsystem, claim payments can be administered with loss ratio reporting.

What self-service capabilities are extended to the internet with Velocity?

Velocity opens up to you the entire world of self-service through its Portal. The Portal provides for information sharing with clients, agents, brokers, and carriers through a secure access point. The Portal fits seamlessly into your existing web presence.Our experience is that your clients, agents, brokers and carriers want access to their information on your database. If you provide this information via the Portal, not only does it save them time but it saves you the time you would otherwise have to respond to their inquiries. In addition, because you provide easy access to their information, your customers will keep their business with you. Examples of Features for this portal and products which can be used within the portal include but are not limited to:

  • Document Sharing: For example: accounting and commission statements for your agents; certificates of insurance; policy information etc.
  • Customizable Text on Your Web Pages: You can tailor the wording on web pages presented within the portal for your unique requirements.  You can announce new programs, explain coverage options, and provide FAQ’s to your community.
  • Library of Standard Forms: Virtually any document you would like to share can be placed in this area.  Standard policy information and explanations of coverage, as well as, samples of declaration sheets and endorsements can be placed in the library.  Phone lists, emergency contacts, and other coverage related documents can be made available through this tab.
  • Rate, Quote, Issuance Workflows (requires additional licensing): The entire sales process (Rate, Quote and Issuance) can be accomplished on your Portal on line.  From entry of simple indications of quote, to complex application capture, and through the calculation of premiums determined automatically based on your underwriting guidelines, policies can be issued, credit cards charged and all documentation can be emailed to the insured.  All of the above is stored in the Velocity system as if it were hand keyed by your CSRs.  All documents generated by this process can be shared.  There are also definable trigger points that create follow-up diary items for your own staff.  Imagine how this input performed directly by your market will dramatically reduce your cost of operations.
  • Access to Secured Information and Customizable Inquiry Capability: The Portal provides you with the means of answering those everyday requests from your agents or insureds.  Via a secure definition system, you can provide this self-service inquiry directly.  This will cut down on your phone inquiries, provide portal users with the power to answer their own questions and attract new markets with this empowerment.  Reports are easily defined and can be activated to download into spreadsheets or other file formats.
  • Dashboard Interface (requires additional licensing): VRC can create customized presentations for your portal users.  This graphical presentation of information will attract more visitors.  Of course, the information is secure and is only what you decide to share.  You can share, for instance, their sales performance, commissions,  loss ratios, submission hit ratios, and statistics by state, region or product line.

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