April 4, 2013 by Harmeet Singh, Online Editor
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Epic 7 includes a Canadian French translation and was available in the United Kingdom, which it is not. Canadian Underwriter regrets the error.
Addressing the Canada-specific needs of brokers here was a key part of developing the latest version of Epic 7, the broker management system from Applied that will be released in Canada for the first time later this month.
Currently, about 20% of Applied’s business comes from the Canadian market, or about $40 million annually, Reid French, CEO of the company said Wednesday during an Epic launch event in Toronto.
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The majority of the effort in creating the latest version of Epic was about making it work for Canada, French noted.
Applied announced last summer that the system would be available early this year. It’s currently in a pilot phase and will be generally available near the end of April.
Other Canadian-specific points of Epic 7 include:
Western Financial Group is one brokerage that also saw leveraging the new management system as key to its growth.
About a year and a half ago, the company started the process of selecting a new broker management system for its 120 branches in the country, which were mainly using the TAM system, also from Applied.
After a rigorous testing process of eight different systems, which included risk assessments, meeting with various vendors and user experience testing, Western settled on Applied’s Epic offering.
“Nothing is static for us,” noted Jeff Burke, the company’s president and CEO, during the launch event. Western has a five-year target of having 200 locations, he pointed out. By the end of 2014, Western will have the Epic system implemented in its 120 branches, but that number will likely grow.
For Burke, the Canadian element of Epic was especially important. The product has been used in the United States, but will be new to Canada when it has its general release here later this month.
This week, Applied also opened its new office in Windsor, Ont. (where the recently-acquired Compu-Quote was based). The company also maintains its Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, Ont.
Last September, the company also opened its first data centre in Canada, in the Greater Toronto Area, which French said was crucial for addressing Canadian brokers’ needs.
That move was important for Applied’s EpicOnline offering, where the broker management system is hosted online (in the cloud). Nine out of 10 new Applied customers choose that option, the company says. That online availability is also crucial in times of catastrophes, French pointed out.
Following last year’s Hurricane Sandy, French said brokers working on the U.S. East Coast were able to service their customers by using EpicOnline, even if their offices’ systems were down and they had to use their laptops in a coffee shop. That’s critical, since when customers are most affected by a storm is also when they need their brokers most, French said.
Going forward, brokers can expect to see Applied continuing its expansion here, he added.