Why Do We Use Secure Email?

Authors: Chris Long and Dewayne Earwood

At the Milner Group, we have been implementing and enforcing security protocols diligently for years, in an ongoing effort to keep personal information safe for our advisors and their clients. When email was designed in the 1970s, security was largely an afterthought and unfortunately, email has not changed much since then. Personal information can be easily obtained by a ‘Man in the Middle’, who is spying on the communications as they are shared across the internet. Encryption of this private material is the best way to prevent you and your clients from being targeted by these criminals.

PII (Personally Identifiable Information)

Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is information that can be tied to any individual’s account number. Criminals can use this information to hack into these accounts for the ultimate goal of obtaining items such as social security numbers, names, and dates of birth. This information is also valuable for resale on the black market for identity theft.

Medical Information (HIPAA and PHI)

Medical information is required to be kept private based on HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws. Criminals will use this information to blackmail people with potential embarrassing medical information or fraudulent insurance claims, to obtain prescription medications, and to advance identity theft. Information in this category will give criminals the most money on the black market, which makes it the most targeted information on the internet.

Bank Account and Routing Numbers

Financial institutions are required under the Gramm Leach Bliley Act, to control the way in which they share information related to personal financial information. Access to an individual’s financial information can grant criminals the ability to simply transfer money out of someone’s account to an offshore account completely draining their financial resources.

Trust is the most important aspect of the client/agent relationship. That trust needs to start with the assurance that all of a client’s confidential information is safe and out of the hands of criminals. The Milner Group will continue to ensure that the best security measures are taken and that confidential information remains just that, confidential.

Becoming a Virtual Advisor

Author: Milner Group Annuity Director, Chris Long

It goes without saying that the ability to conduct business remotely has become paramount since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Major tech companies like Alphabet Inc, Facebook, Spotify, Salesforce.com Inc, and Slack Technologies are anticipating their employees will be working remotely until 2021, at the earliest, according to a May 16, 2020 blog post from MarketWatch (Swartz, 2020).” Twitter has officially announced that they will likely have employees operating remotely permanently to some capacity.

Working remotely is not a 2020 concept. Many organizations have been constructing the capability for certain departments to work from home over the last decade. Although the stay-at-home orders will eventually be completely lifted and returning to a resemblance of ordinary, everyday life is inevitable, developing the ability to conduct business virtually will remain a vital skill in staying connected to your clients and making sure you are always available to serve them. It may seem like a daunting adjustment, but most agents do not even realize they have been developing these valuable skills over the last few years.

Agents have been scheduling appointments with their clients over the phone, monitoring policy values online through their agent portals and submitting applications electronically for years. The ability to get information to clients, and from the carriers, without any face-to-face to contact has been a normal aspect of an agent’s daily operations. It is reasonable to assume that moving forward, the ability to conduct business virtually as an agent will be a determining factor in gaining an advantage over their competition. After the last two months, clients know that most of the sales process can be done virtually; so moving forward agents will likely be encountering clients that will expect that type of service.

The Milner Group has been working diligently to enhance our online platforms, as well as our mobile application, to help our agents with marketing, case design, contracting, underwriting, new business, customer service, compensation, and much more. We want to make sure that our agents have all the tools available for them to be an effective virtual advisor. We have constructed our new agent onboarding process to be completely remote, so that agents who would like to partner with us can be contracted and ready to write business without ever having to leave their office.

We are embracing the importance of offering a virtual solution to all our agent and client needs. The future is uncertain, maybe more so now than ever. One of the things we take pride in at The Milner Group is our ability to adapt to the current environment and provide our agents with everything they need to succeed. In 1979, we hired computer programmers to design the first brokerage-specific, multi-company application processing system. 41 years later, we are still making efforts to enhance the virtual capabilities of our organization and making sure our agents can assist their clients as effectively and efficiently as possible.

References

Swartz, J. (2020, May 16). Internet/Online Services. Retrieved from MarketWatch: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/work-from-home-productivity-gain-has-tech-ceos-predicting-many-workers-will-never-come-back-to-the-office-2020-05-15