AIA STREAMLINES THE BAIL-WRITING PROCESS
By Brad A. Greenberg
The bail business has long been a paper-intensive industry. It’s a line of work that requires its agency owners to have plenty of storage space for decades-old documents.
But AIA is changing that. The industry’s largest surety company has been busy developing computer programs to streamline the bailwriting process. By creating the eFiling cabinet, AIA has enabled agents to securely store documents online. This coupled with AIA’s eReport system allows agents to send and securely pay for reports electronically. Documents can then be searched and retrieved from anywhere there’s an Internet connection. “eReport and the eFiling cabinet are the first entries into a suite new of services we need to provide,” AIA Chief Operating Officer, Robert Kersnick told agents at the Southeast Region Agents Conference in April. Also, forthcoming, is a series of new electronic services focused on empowering agents with tools and information important to their business.
“Nearly ten years ago, AIA helped develop one of the first web based bond management systems,” Kersnick said. “That system, known as Bail Agents Record Service or BARS is still one of the most widely used applications in the bail business today. The tools we are developing today will continue to provide enhancements to this business.” Kersnick went on to say that these new tools will allow agents to “leverage real-time information, access to services, and important documents from within AIA’s own internal systems.”
After giving examples of these types of new services, Kersnick then posed the question “If we can provide this type of information to you would that be helpful?” He asked. “Of course,” responded an agent, beginning a chorus of affirmation. “Yes,” said another agent. “Definitely.” “I wish we had that years ago” Kersnick said more announcements about upcoming new technology were planned for October.
“The industry’s largest surety company has been busy developing computer programs to streamline the bail-writing process.”
“This is a paper-intensive industry. Bail agents today are dealing with many types of documents; these documents are extremely important to their business. We believe that we can provide better tools for managing this. And this is a mobile business, too. Agents are out in the field; they are working on cell phones. Access to information is more valuable if it is available at the fingertips, ”Kersnick said in an interview. “We are going to use our internal investments in technology and our knowledge of the business to support the people responsible for our paychecks. Providing our agents with a strong infrastructure will allow them to focus more on their business. This business is unique,” he continued. “We view it as a partnership. It is our obligation to give back in service, support and knowledge in any manner we can….including providing technical assistance. Anything we are developing technologically is consistent with those ideals. If agents feel this will help them, they will use it. And if they don’t, they won’t, which is fine. For us, we are trying to make these tools as valuable as possible so they will want to use them.”
At the end of the April conference in Atlanta, agents felt Kersnick’s workshop offered them the most useful information they could immediately apply when they returned to work the following Monday. Many were fascinated by the possibility of not only filing powers online, but also having the flexibility to access documents – anywhere there is Internet access.
Thomas Redmond, owner of Arrow Bonding in Johnsonville, S. C., was particularly pleased to see what the conference came up with. “Fifteen years ago, I kept asking IFI (International Fidelity, one of the three agencies that merged in 2003 as AIA) about bail bond reports and computer programs. They didn’t have anything,” That is no longer the case.
By concentrating on forecasting agents’ needs, AIA has taken the giant step of bringing bond processing directly to agents no matter where they are. With a commitment to provide their agents with the resources they need, AIA will continue in the coming year, to bring its’ agents cutting edge technology designed to simplify and improve their business and their bail writing processes.