IWS Release Notes - April 2013

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We strive to keep our products above the industry standard so that your systems remain current and flexible. For that reason, we make continuous improvements to BriteCore's code base. We've been experimenting with a continuous release process, and we'll be shifting to this to better reflect our daily improvements. Rather than waiting for the all-clear of many items to go out in one weekly release, you'll receive continuous updates for code changes going out in the daily release. Items that require full release notes for this month can be found in this section of the BriteWiki.

April 29, 2013

Commissions - Hard Error (Fixed)

We've made updates to BriteCore's commission logic to ensure that system and custom fees billed-to-date are always deducted from the total commissionable amount, even when a policy is committed after the effective date and the initial invoice's payment date.

This change was largely inspired by clients using BriteQuote who require payment at the time of application submission. Previously in BriteCore, if a payment was made on a policy in a month prior to the policy being committed, then the system would include the policy's fee amounts in the total commissionable amount rather than deducting them. We've since changed this behavior to ensure fees are never included in the overall commissionable amount––even when clients accept payments prior to the policy's commit date.

April 25, 2013

To Be Released Monday Night - April 29, 2013

Changes to BriteCore's "Carry Balance Forward" distribution option are scheduled for release on Monday, April 29, 2013. We're sending release notes out early for this request so that you have time to communicate changes with your staff.

New Carry Balance Forward Distribution Option

We've made changes to BriteCore's "Carry Balance Forward" distribution option. When selected from the Payment Distribution box, this option now pushes all outstanding debits (invoices and fees) forward, making their due date and cancel dates match the due and cancel dates of the next future installment. This option is only available in BriteCore when an insured underpays their account balance by an amount that's greater than the company's specified Billing threshold (located in Settings > Modules > Policies > Policy Lifecycle > Billing) and the policy has at least one future installment remaining.

Using the "Carry Balance Forward" Option

You'll want to select this option from the Payment Distribution Box when you want to delay policy cancellations from directly inside the Payment Distribution box. This option prevents policies from entering cancellation or cancellation pending by carrying all underpaid invoice and fee amounts to the next, future installment invoice. View the new "Carry Balance Forward" distribution option in the example screen shot below.

Note: The old "carry balance forward" option is still available in BriteCore but has been renamed "(Deprecated) Carry Balance Forward with Adjustment.” This is because this option will be removed from all BriteCore sites soon based on the user feedback we received on our forum. Please notify us via the BriteCore Forum within the next 30 days if the old Carry Balance Forward with Adjustment serves a necessary function in your office and you would like us to keep both Carry Balance options available.

Carry Balance Forward 2.png

When you use the "Carry Balance Forward" option, the underpaid policy will be set to "Active" status and all affected due and cancel dates will be displayed in red inside the policy's Account History table. This visual cue allows you to determine at a glance which invoices have been altered. The system also keep notes inside the Account History row so you can view the original due and cancel dates alongside the altered due and cancel dates.

Below is an example screen shot of a policy's Account History when the "Carry Balance Forward Option" is selected at the time of payment. To give you some context, this example policy is on a quarterly billing schedule and was in Cancellation Pending status when the insured made an underpayment. The quarterly due amount for the policy was $594.75. However, the insured only paid $550 of the total amount due, so the account was underpaid by $44.75. When the Payment Distribution box appeared, the payment processor chose to carry the insured's balance forward making the $44.75 underpayment due with the next installment invoice. The next quarterly installment invoice is due by 7/02/2013, so the underpaid amount will also be due on 07/02/2013. This has been noted in the Details section of the invoice record of the Account History table.

AH After Carry Balance.png

Important Note

The due and cancel dates of the AH rows that have been carried forward to the next invoice do not revert back to the original due and cancel dates when the payment is NSFed or otherwise deleted, see example screen shot below. The functionality of reverting the dates back to the original due and cancel dates when the payment is marked void––as if the payment did not occur––is not a part of the original Software Requirement Specifications for this change request.

If this is not the behavior you desire, you can manually adjust the due and cancel dates back to their original dates using BriteCore's Edit & Reprint button (located inside the policy's Account History rows). Note that you may need to edit and reprint more than just the invoice––there could be a non-pay or reinstatement record that also needs to be adjusted. Additionally, if you'd like to change the Carry Balance Forward logic for voided payments, you will need to submit a new Change Request through BriteIdeas.

CBF and NSF.png

Additional Notes

  • If there are multiple overlapping debits such as an underpaid invoice and a non-pay, the “Carry Balance Forward” option will move the due and cancel dates forward for all outstanding debits on the account.
  • If no future invoices remain on the policy, the option to "Carry Balance Forward" will not be available.
  • The processing of subsequent endorsements or billing actions will not cause the policy to cancel unexpectedly or the "carried" balance to become due at an earlier date.
  • We've temporarily preserved the old "carry balance forward" functionality that includes the adjustment row. This option has been renamed "(Deprecated) Carry Balance Forward with Adjustment,” and will be removed from BriteCore soon.
  • Automated Continuation of Coverage functionality is coming soon to BriteCore. When this functionality goes live, users will be able to set up their system so that a "Continuation of Coverage" notice automatically goes out when the "Carry Balance Forward" option moves a policy's status from "Cancellation Pending" to "Active".

April 22, 2013

Billing Summary (Fix)

We've made updates to BriteCore's code base to ensure billing summaries add up to the total amount due. These updates should fix any discrepancies you were noticing on your billing summaries. However, please note that invoices previously generated will not be regenerated or reprinted, so some of your invoices will still reflect Billing Summary discrepancies until the next installment invoice generates.

BriteTip: When editing and reprinting invoices, be sure to use the most current invoice to ensure the billing summary displays correctly.

April 22, 2013

Changes to Payments Received Report

Per client request, we've removed Premium Transfers from the Payments Received report. As a result, you'll no longer see a Premium Transfers column on the Policy Types sheet of this report, and premium transfers will no longer be included in the policy type totals listed on the Payments Per Policy Type sheet.

April 2, 2013

Dropbox Integration

BriteCore is now fully integrated with Dropbox, a file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, and client software. When enabled in BriteCore, Dropbox allows BriteCore to automatically upload print jobs to folders inside your Dropbox application during nightly processing. You then have access to a running 3-day history of those print jobs through Dropbox. This means you can reprint your files anytime you need to––within the 3-day storage period––without having to contact IWS for assistance (e.g., your printer ran out of paper during nightly processing or your toner cartridge was out of ink).

Minimal set up is required on your part to integrate Dropbox with BriteCore. If you'd like to set up your own Dropbox account or find out how this integration works, check out the new Dropbox section of the BriteWiki.

April 2, 2013

Rating Error (Fixed)

IWS has addressed an error affecting some clients and policies. Though the fix for this error may not affect you, we wanted to bring it to your attention.

This error applies to your site if:

1. You have policies renewing automatically in BriteCore. This excludes data converted policies or clients whose policies have been on the system for less than one year.

2. Of those policies, the change only affects the policies containing a line item that receives its limit from two other line items. Commercial lines, or more specifically BOPs, are the Lines of Business most likely to have this type of setup.

3. Of those policies, the change only affects the policies that have been auto-renewed by the system. This excludes policies where a user visited the Builder screen of the policy (e.g., to resolve Persistent Builder).

4. Additionally, if a policy had this error, the Declaration would have shown **** as the line item limit rather than a numerical value. If so, you may have already caught and addressed the issue by re-rating and saving the policy.

Overall, we expect very few policies––if any––to be affected by our change. Nonetheless, if you find a policy where the line item limit was previously ***** and upon an effective date endorsement, the limit changed from ***** to a numerical value, this change (fix) is the reason.

April 2, 2013

BriteCore Is Now Fully Functional in the Cloud

IWS is excited to announce that BriteCore is fully operational in the Amazon cloud! This past fall, during the BriteCore Users Conference, we provided information about Amazon EC2 and the mutual goal of moving all of our client sites to EC2. Following the Users Conference, we dedicated a great deal of time and energy to carefully crafting fast, tested, and stable processes around this new architecture. As of today, five clients are fully operating in the cloud. Each receives the following benefits:

  • Unlimited testing available through Marshmallow Cloud
  • Instant search abilities from an Elastic Search service
  • Stronger server side security
  • Improved site backups and disaster recovery

The development time, which concluded around the end of February, led us to two important additions:

  • Elastic Load Balancer
  • Celery Processes

Elastic Load Balancer
The Elastic Load Balancer distributes BriteCore across multiple server instances for an individual client. If one server node goes down, the balancer self-heals and shifts all traffic to the remaining server nodes. You must have at least two server nodes to get the benefit of self-healing. With the Elastic Load Balancer, there are two primary cost drivers within the hosting environment:

  1. The web server nodes
  2. The database instance size

As a client, you select the size of the instances that make up the nodes. We've provided some benchmarks that will help you make an informed decision on which size instance you desire. Most clients probably want two c1.medium iweb servers and a db.m1.large database instance. This configuration will cost around $700 a month. Larger volume clients with more traffic might choose to go as high as four c1.medium servers and a db.m1.xlarge database at a cost of about $1110 a month. Based on your desired capacity and performance, we'll be able to adjust this as we move forward.

Celery Processes
For those struggling with the speed of the Payment Distribution screen, Celery is particularly exciting. It's a program that runs processes in the background so the user interface continues to respond. When you apply a payment via the Payment Distribution screen, PDF deliverables take time to generate and we've moved these to the background. The document generation is responsible for the lion's share of the time it takes to update account histories so this is a tremendous boost in speed.

What Does This Mean?
You now have the opportunity to take advantage of the many benefits of the Amazon EC2 cloud. As we discussed at the user conference, you'll fund your primary EC2 hosting environment, and we'll fund the environment support and all test sites. We're prepared to start migrating all clients to this platform over the next 2-3 months. In order for us to plan resources accordingly, we ask that you provide us with answers to the following questions:

  • Do you have any outstanding concerns or questions relating to the migration to EC2?
  • What size instance would you like?
  • What is your company's desired time frame for moving to EC2?

You can find more information about Amazon EC2 instance sizes in our BriteCore Benchmarks Document. 

IWS looks forward to assisting you in the migration to EC2 and allowing you to take advantage of its many benefits. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. Have a great day!