Five MGAs agree to adopt a common management software

By Jean-Maurice Bouchard | June 20 2002 06:35PM

Five Quebec managing general agents have agreed to adopt the same management software for their companies: Ageman. This software, developed by Modulex, can also be used to interface with the proposed Canada-wide Life Companies Central e-commerce project.

The general agents are Groupe financier BBA, Groupe CMA, Groupe financier Multi Courtage, Richard Langevin Assurances and Agence G. Gadoua.

The selection process was sparked at a meeting last fall by the Quebec MGA association (Association des cabinets gestionnaires de courtage en assurance de personnes du Québec).

At that time, association president Yves Gosselin insisted that adopting a common software for the members had a single objective: to set events in motion in order to ensure that everyone moves together at a time when all the players are trying to find their way in the world of technology.

At a February meeting, the key players whittled the options down to two “made in Quebec” solutions. One was the Maestro application, developed and distributed by Groupe Cloutier; the other was Ageman.

As it happened, the plan of having all MGAs in the province adopt a common technological solution did not work out. The association failed to obtain a quorum at its meetings when it came to settling on a definitive software, a member reported.

As well, the selection process was not without controversy: one of the software applications considered is owned by the Groupe Cloutier, a member of the association and one of the largest MGAs in Quebec.

The impasse within the association prompted five MGAs to team up and choose an application that would meet their needs.

Even though they did not manage to convince every MGA in Quebec to rally behind a single software, the “group of five” are convinced that it is important to create a critical mass.

This stance appeared in a letter issued the day after the offer presented by Modulex, co-signed by the five MGAs involved. The release mentions that “by announcing their group decision, the five firms wish to send a very clear message to their industry colleagues: It is important that MGAs adopt common standards, and the agreement with Modulex was negotiated for the benefit of all firms.”

The advantage of grouping together, explained Lise Bouchard, Vice-President at Groupe BBA, is mainly budgetary. “It is so expensive to develop this type of system that you need a lot of stakeholders to distribute the costs. You also need many users to ensure that the software is viable, and to fuel the supplier’s development.”

Guy Duhaime, President of Multi Courtage, echoed this view. Multi Courtage signed the agreement despite having its own efficient in-house software program. “I invested tens of thousands of dollars in the system. I had to, to continue to develop the system; I recruited three programmers in the process. With this new formula, one junior programmer in house is all I need.”

The agreement also calls for the formation for a work group that will advise Modulex on the best way to tailor its software to MGAs’ needs.