IWS Release Notes - March 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.

March 28, 2013

New Commission Payments Setting

There's a new setting option in Britecore > Settings > Modules > Contacts > Commission Payments called "Roll over negative commission balances each month (delay negative commission)". By default, this option is selected (checked) in BriteCore so as not to alter your system's current behavior for commissions. The documentation below defines the system's current behavior and explains the optional, new behavior. It also describes BriteCore's limitations when the default behavior is changed.

New Commission Setting Default 2.png

Current Behavior

Currently in BriteCore, when an agency/agency group has a negative commission balance at the end of the month, that balance is delayed and rolled over to the next month––effectively leaving the agency/agency group in debt in BriteCore. All future earnings are then applied to this debt until it is resolved.

Change Request

A few of our clients have requested we change BriteCore's behavior so that commission reports only detail activity for the current month. In response to this request, we've added a new setting to Britecore > Settings > Modules > Contacts > Commission Payments that allows mutuals to control whether or not negative commission balances are allowed to be delayed and rolled over in BriteCore.

When mutuals opt to not roll over negative commission balances (checkbox is unselected), then their agency/agency group balances will start at $0 every month––regardless of the previous ending balance (positive or negative) for the prior month. All amounts, regardless of whether the net total is positive or negative will be placed in the commission queue for review.

Preventing Negative Commissions from Rolling Over

If you would like to prevent negative commission balances from being delayed and rolled over in BriteCore, you'll need to go to Britecore > Settings > Modules > Contacts > Commission Payments and manually remove the check mark next to "Roll over negative commission balances each month (delay negative commissions)."

Commission Setting to Roll Over.png

When this setting––Roll over negative commission balances each month (delay negative commissions)––is disabled (unselected), BriteCore will consider all monthly calculated records as "paid," regardless of whether or not the payment should be positive or negative. This prevents negative commissions from being delayed and rolled over, meaning records from prior months will no longer show up on a future month's reports. Instead, all commission activity will be calculated, finalized, and reported within the same month.

For clients who pay commissions based on written premium, your commission reports should balance closely with your written premium reports when negative commission isn't delayed (checkbox is unselected). However, please note that these reports may not balance exactly if you have premium-bearing items whose premium is excluded from commission.

Setting Limitations and Notes

Before making adjustments to your current commission settings, please consider the following limitations and notes.

  • For carriers who use BriteCore to pay their commission electronically via ACH, it's strongly recommended that negative amounts continue to be delayed (checkbox selected). We cannot issue debits from BriteCore, so any negative "payments" will fail.
  • Carriers who use QuickBooks or Stone River to pay their commissions and rely on the automated export process from the Commission Queue should keep in mind that the export process will only transfer positive amounts to your other system. All negative amounts will therefore need to be handled manually.
  • This setting effectively eliminates BriteCore's memory of what is owed, so BriteCore will always assume the correct amount is paid by the agency/agency group and collected by the carrier. This means that when negative amounts are not delayed (checkbox is unselected), the carrier is responsible for tracking and collecting what is owed and paid by their agencies/agency groups.
  • If there are any previously delayed commission payments in BriteCore, one month will have to pass before this setting fully eliminates all prior month activity.
  • When negative amounts are not delayed (checkbox unselected), BriteCore's negative commission reports (BriteCore > Reports > Retrieve Negative Commission Reports) will become irrelevant because these reports document what is currently delayed due to the net negative commission total.

March 26, 2013

Printing Improvements

Over the past month, we've made many strides towards ensuring the accuracy and consistency of BriteCore's printing. During this time we developed over 45 new tests and committed over 3,000 lines of code to ensure invoices contain proper print states in common scenarios (e.g., canceling payments and reinstating policies).

Key Modifications

In addition to the development of new printing tests, we've addressed minor issues involving BriteCore's printing behavior:

  • Automatic adjustment of print states when a user clicks the Reinstate button for a policy in Cancellation Pending.
  • Automatic printing when policies go from Cancellation Pending to Active.
  • Defect fix regarding the printing of combined billing cover sheets.

We've also changed the wording of two of our settings to better reflect how the system behaves when these settings are checked in BriteCore:

  • "Print Renewal Invoice for Policies with Zero Balance" setting was renamed "Print Renewal Invoice Irrespective of Amount Due."
  • "Print Initial Invoice for Policies with Zero Balance" setting was renamed "Print Initial Invoice Irrespective of Amount Due."

When the above settings are enforced, all initial/renewal invoices will print regardless of the invoice amount (e.g., $100, $10, $1, $0, -$1, -$10, or -$100 would all print). These settings also override the setting for "Do Not Issue a Bill If the Amount Due is Less Than $x.xx."

Example: Let's say your system's settings are set to "Do Not Issue a Bill If the Amount Due is Less Than $5" and you have the settings for "Print Initial/Renewal Invoices Irrespective of Amount Due" checked. If the initial invoice generates for -$9, it will print; if the installment invoice generates for $3 (less than $5 but not initial/renewal), it will not print; and if the renewal invoice generates for $4, it will print.

March 26, 2013

Modified System Behavior for Canceling Flat

We've recently modified the system's behavior for canceling policies flat in BriteCore. From now on, all outstanding system fees will be automatically waived when a policy cancels flat. This modification ensures all policies that cancel flat have an ending balance of $0 in BriteCore.

However, if the canceled policy is reinstated, any fees auto-waived by the system will be put back on the policy and reflected on the insured's account during the time of reinstatement.

March 25, 2013

Disabling Claims Emails in BriteCore

We've added a new setting option to BriteCore > Settings > Modules > Claims called "Disable Claims Emails". When selected, this option immediately halts all BriteCore claim event emails to agents, agencies, and adjusters.

By default, this setting option is unchecked in BriteCore, so unless you manually opt to disable claims emails, updates will be sent for the following events:

  • claim status changes
  • new claim creations
  • updates to claim contacts

To disable these emails, click the check box next to "Disable Claims Emails". BriteCore will immediately stop sending claims updates. Note: Claims manager recipients listed in Settings > Admin Alerts > Claims will still be notified when Loss Reports are uploaded to a claim, and note alerts manually attached to a claim will still be sent to specified e-mail recipients when users add the recipient's address to the note alert.

Disable Claims Emails.png

March 20, 2013

MCAS Report and Vendor Tagging

IWS is currently working on the Market Conduct Annual Statement report to be added to BriteCore > Reports > Report List. In order to use this report, you'll need to tag all reportable MCAS items in all effective dates inside BriteCore > Vendors > Vendor Tags > MCAS. This process could take a while, so we encourage you to start tagging your reportable items now. For instructions, tips, and best practices on how to tag your own coverages in BriteCore, please see our new MCAS article on the BriteWiki.

March 13, 2013

New Setting Allows Mutuals to Prohibit the Use of Non-Annual Terms in BriteQuote

We've added a new setting to BriteCore that allows mutuals to control what agents are able to see and select from the Policy Term area in BriteQuote. When enabled, the Prohibit non-annual term lengths in BriteQuote option defaults and locks all new quotes and applications to an annual term length that cannot be altered by the agent in BriteQuote. As you can see from the example image below, when this option is enforced, the Term area is grayed out in BriteQuote and disabled from selection.

Grayed Out Term in BQ.png

Enabling the New Setting

This new setting––Prohibit non-annual term lengths in BriteQuote––has been turned off in all BriteCore sites by default. If you'd like to prevent all non-annual policy terms from being selected in the Agent Portal, you'll need to manually enable this feature in Settings > Modules > BriteQuote.

Prohibit Non Annual Terms.png


Policy term lengths that are locked on the agent side can still be updated on the BriteCore side. If you change a policy's term length from within BriteCore, the change will be reflected in BriteQuote, but the agent still won't be able to alter it.

March 11, 2013

FireFox Release Notes

Mozilla recently released a new version of FireFox that may affect how you or your agents view PDFs in BriteCore and BriteQuote.

New Built-In PDF Viewer

FireFox now allows users to view .pdf files inside the web browser without downloading them from the internet. Such files are displayed inside an automated PDF Viewer that allows users to scroll, zoom, and scan through documents quickly.

Since FireFox is BriteCore's recommended web browser, you'll likely encounter the new plugin when viewing PDFs in BriteCore, BriteQuote, BriteWiki, BriteIdeas, and Trac. However, this plugin is not exclusive to BriteCore programs. It'll appear automatically any time you open a PDF from any website when using FireFox's newest version––Version 19.0.2.

Please be advised that not all PDF documents are compatible with FireFox's new viewer, and therefore may not always be displayed correctly on your screen.

If FireFox senses that items in your file are incompatible with the viewer, a yellow pop-up warning will appear on your screen that states, "This PDF document might not be displayed correctly." This warning will give you the option to Open the PDF with a Different Viewer. When you click this button, you'll be prompted to download and view the PDF in its entirety.

FF Warning.png

See FireFox's Online Support notes for more information on how to display PDF files inside the Firefox browser window and how to fix common issues you might encounter when using the viewer.

March 11, 2013

Addition of the Attachments Screen in BriteQuote

We’ve added an Attachments tab to the policy ribbon in the Agent/Agency Portal. From this tab, agents can upload documents to BriteQuote policy applications prior to their submission. These documents may be used for underwriting purposes and/or correspondence from agents, insureds, or past carriers on prior claims. The Attachments screen accepts most file types, so agents can upload nearly anything you want them to upload including images, change requests, questionnaires, signed forms, and any other supporting documents you request. Supported file types include: jpg, gif, png, tiff, bmp, eps, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, txt, pdf, zip, and html.

Attachments Tab Screen.png

Uploading Files

Agents will be able to upload files to a policy application until the application is officially committed and accepted as a policy in BriteCore. At this point, the policy becomes a “read only” version to the agent. Once an application becomes an official policy, any attachments that were uploaded from the agent portal can be viewed, downloaded, or printed from the Policy > Attachments screen in BriteCore or from the Policy > Documents screen in the Agent Portal.

Note: Photos and reports specific to the applicant's property should still be uploaded to BriteQuote via the Risks menu rather than Attachments. For example, clients using RiskMeter should still upload RiskMeter reports using the RiskMeter upload button on the Risks screen.

To upload a file to Attachments in BriteQuote

Follow the instructions below when you're ready to add new folders and files to the Attachments screen in BriteQuote.

1. Add a Folder to Attachments
Click the Add Folder button to create a folder to store your documents. You can create as many folders as necessary to keep your uploads organized. In the example image in the gallery below, you'll see that we've created folders for E2Value Documents, Risk Meter Documents, Signed Applications, and Supporting Documents.

2. Add Files to Your Folders
Click the green plus sign next to the folder in which you'd like to upload a file. You can upload several files at once to a specific folder by clicking the Add Another button inside the Add Attachment pop-up box. See example image on the right where we've added four file fields to our upload box.

3. Rename Files and Folders As Needed
If you need to rename a file or folder, hold down the SHIFT key and click on the file or folder name.

Administrative Alerts

Agents will still be able to upload files to policy applications that have been submitted through BriteQuote but not yet committed in BriteCore. If you'd like to receive email alerts each time an agent uploads a file to an uncommitted––but submitted––policy application, you’ll need to add an email recipient to Settings > System Wide > Administrative Alerts > Attachments Uploaded to Submitted Application. Once you've entered an email address in this field, BriteCore will fire alerts anytime there's a file uploaded to a submitted, yet uncommitted, policy application through BriteQuote.

Admin Alert for Attachments.png

March 7, 2013

New! Clear Commission Queue Button

We've added a new button to the Commission Payment Queue in BriteCore > Policies > Payments > Pending Commission Payments called Clear Commission Queue. This button was created for users who manually process commissions, because it allows them to clear their commission queue without processing payments. It also enables them to make manual adjustments to their negative commissions while keeping the data in their queue relevant.

Clients who process their commissions electronically or who want their commissions pulled over into QuickBooks should continue using the Process Commission Payments button to process their payments. If you're unsure about which button you should use, please contact your personal Account Executive.

Clear Commission Queue Button.png

March 6, 2013

Added the Ability to Customize System-Generated Numbers

We've released a new change that gives users the ability to customize the prefixes and suffixes of system-generated policy numbers and claim numbers in BriteCore. This means that if you want to, you can start your policies or claims with an abbreviated version of your company’s name (e.g., IWS) and end them with a number that counts up from 100.

We highly recommend you read the Best Practices documentation below before changing the default numbering systems in BriteCore for your claims and policies.

Customizing Your Policy Numbers

The system currently defaults all system-generated policy numbers to the following format: 10-YYYY-1. This means all policies generated under this criteria will start with the number 10, display the current year (2013), and end with the next sequential number starting with the number 1. The numbering will start over again at the beginning of the next year using the same format but replacing the body with the current year: 10-2014-1, 10-2014-2, 10-2014-3...10-2014-987.

If you'd like to change the default for your system-generated policy numbers, go to Settings > Modules > Policies > Policy Numbers and add your preferred prefix and suffix to the corresponding text boxes in BriteCore. The system will allow the customization of up to six alphanumeric characters inside the prefixes box and the input of any number between 1 and 100,000 in the suffixes box.

Once you've customized your policy numbers and saved your changes, BriteCore will issue new system-generated numbers using your established Policy Numbers criteria. Previously existing policy numbers aren't affected.

Customizing Your Claims Numbers

To customize your company's system-generated claims numbers, go to Settings > Modules > Claims > Claims Numbers and add your preferred prefix and suffix to the corresponding text boxes in BriteCore. As with your policy numbers, the system allows the customization of up to six alphanumeric characters inside the prefixes box and the input of any number between 1 and 100,000 in the suffixes box for your claim numbers.

Once you've customized your claims numbers and saved your changes, BriteCore will issue new system-generated claims numbers using the established Claims Numbers criteria. Previously existing claims numbers aren't affected.

Best Practices for Customizing Numbers

Changes Appear in Both BriteCore and BriteQuote

Please be advised that when you customize your policy or claim numbers in BriteCore, the system will immediately start referring to your newly set criteria when issuing new system-generated numbers in both BriteCore and BriteQuote. Note that pre-existing policy numbers and claim numbers aren't affected by your changes.

Use Caution When Customizing Numbers

You should be cautious when customizing your policy numbers and claim numbers in BriteCore because the changes you save are permanent and therefore cannot be reversed once they're set.

For example, if you change the default format of your policy numbers from 10-YYYY-1 to 10-YYYY-1000 and then change them back to 10-YYYY-1, the next system-generated policy number will still be 10-2013-1001, not 10-2013-2.

Be Aware of Third Party-Vendor Limitations

If you use third-party vendors with BriteCore and choose to alter your policy number from the standard BriteCore numbering system, we recommend limiting your total character count to 14. Note that a dash (-) counts as one character.

Many third party vendors have limits on acceptable policy number lengths. For example, ISO has a limit of 16 characters per policy number, and BB&T has a limit of 15 characters per policy number.

Please contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding this release of this change in BriteCore.