Category: Document Assembly

Achieving 100% Contract Certainty™

Here’s a strange comparison for you: contracts are like concrete. But what do legal agreements have to do with building materials?

Think about a concrete foundation. If a foundation isn’t rock solid, whatever is constructed on top of it could collapse without warning-the same is true about any company. A business is only as strong as the contracts it’s built upon and its ability to fully understand and comply with those contracts. Things like weak liability and intellectual property protections, missed contractual milestones, inadvertent breaches, and misunderstood termination for convenience clauses are all recipes for disaster.

What if your company could eliminate that unpredictability and achieve total certainty over what’s inside 100% of its contracts? At Exari, we see this as a simple three-step process.

Step 1: Gain visibility into your existing portfolio of contracts.
Whether your company has dozens of contracts or thousands of them, it can be nearly impossible to keep track of every single requirement, restriction, and deadline. When your company’s revenue and reputation are on the line, staying ahead of your obligations and out of breach is imperative. But how could you do this without having to read every clause in every contract?

The answer is simple: Turn your documents into data. When contracts are imported into the Exari system, the most important clauses and information are pulled from the document, allowing business users to visualize and analyze this data in seconds with the help of dozens of standard reports.

Step 2: Gain visibility into your contractual risk.
Every contract contains several important risk factors…termination clauses, IP protections, payment terms, liability limitations, etc. Could you assess precisely how much risk is contained in a particular contract? How about the risk contained in your entire contract portfolio? Unfortunately, for many companies the answer is “no.”

That’s why Exari created a revolutionary algorithm that analyzes more than 20 specific contractual data points, determines the contract’s risk to your organization, and assigns it a simple risk score. And since these scores are based on a uniform set of data, you can compare apples-to-apples and fully understand the risk (or lack thereof) across your entire enterprise.

Step 3: Gain visibility into your contracting practices.
The easiest way to make sure that your company is creating low-risk agreements is to develop a standard procedure that promotes good contracting practices and prevents so-called “rogue contracting”. The question then becomes, how do you both tightly control your contracts while still providing the flexibility necessary to prevent legal department bottlenecks?
Exari’s DocGen™ allows all business users to do just that with an innovative and streamlined document automation system. Using a simple question and answer “Wizard” interview, DocGen™ lets any user create pre-approved, ironclad contracts, while integrated workflows loop-in the correct people, as needed.

Achieving 100% Contract Certainty™ has never been easier for businesses large and small. Think of it as reinforcing your wobbly foundation. You’ll be glad you did.

And since a picture’s worth a thousand words, please take a couple minutes to enjoy our newest video “100% Contract Certainty.”

9.thumbnailMat Calabro is Exari’s Marketing Specialist. Reach out in the comments or on twitter @ExariMat

Understand the entire Contract Management ProcessView Contract Management 101 Now

 

From Body Parts to Nuclear Reactors – How Document Generation is Helping Lloyd’s Reshape Risk Management

For over 300 years the Lloyd’s market has been one of the most innovative sources for risk management solutions. From body parts to nuclear reactors, Lloyd’s is a one stop shop for the world’s specialty insurance and reinsurance needs. It’s an ecosystem where close personal relationships, proximity of brokers and underwriters and actual paper policies still matter – and for those willing to work within the square mile of the City of London, it’s incredibly efficient.

There is, however, a very clear and challenging problem that is facing the London insurance market. In the race to expand business and diversify revenue streams there’s an increasing need to tap into technology to connect producers to brokers and ultimately the underwriters of risk.

Although the high touch of the Lloyd’s market works well for underwriting vast amounts of risk for large companies, it isn’t as practical for higher volume, lower value business. With the growing need to tap into these markets, but lacking resources, it is clear that a more automated document generation approach will help to drive productivity, resulting in innovation and growth.

Steve Jobs once told Wired Magazine that, “Creativity is just connecting things.” If that’s the case, then Lloyd’s brokers and, indeed underwriters, are getting creative. If the world is getting smaller it’s technology that’s driving us forward.

This is why we at Exari have created our Submit, Quote, Bind solution, for agents, brokers and underwriters.

Using DocGen , Exari’s document generation software, agents are now able to quickly and accurately capture risk information to help generate quote and policy documents. We removed the operational barriers and increased efficiency to make the job easier, reducing time, cost and risk.

This solution is as easy as 1, 2, 3 – with the help of the most advanced document generation software on the market.

  1. Submit: Using a web based interview the broker can gather all risk information and with the push of a button, create the submission document
  2. Quote: Carrier can create a quote or decline to quote using the automated system
  3. Bind: Once the quote is accepted it is set to bind! The underwriter can automatically create the documentation and the invoice.

Exari’s SQB solution is empowering Lloyd’s Syndicates with a source of new business, enabling Agents to quote and bind business locally, with compliant and pre-approved documents from the Insurer, who ultimately accepts the risk. Now, reporting and audit is fully transparent with unprecedented visibility into all data.
SQB is already being adopted by the US, Asia-Pacific and Nordic regions as all insurers are seeking more business in the most efficient way they can. To learn more check out Exari’s Submit, Quote, Bind webpage.

9.thumbnailMike Maziarz is Exari’s Chief Marketing Officer. Reach out in the comments or @mikemaziarz.

How Enterprise Contract Management Can Help with Uncleared Derivatives Regulations

Business as usual is no longer an option for banks.

With the new margin requirements for uncleared derivatives, it’s time for banks to buckle down and revise existing, or re-paper  their CSAs to be  compliant. These regulations are meant to promote central clearing and reduce the risks associated with trading. In an attempt to avoid a financial crisis another financial crisis the regulators are making sure there are more stringent rules around how much collateral has to be posted, who holds it, and how it is managed.. They’ve increased the threshold for uncleared swaps as well as the types of assets that are eligible as collateral for variation margin (VM). Furthermore, non-cash assets that qualify as initial margin (IM) can qualify as VM in trades depending on the counterparties.

Per regulation, all Credit Support Annexes  have to be revised or re-papered by the deadline, March 2017. Banks now have to start re-papering all their complex agreements in order to continue trading- business as usual. This task will be time consuming and will probably  involve heavy negotiations with counterparties, but can be greatly accelerated with technology to help with the re-papering process

Have you been putting this off? If you estimate that this is going to be a complicated and time consuming task, (you’re right), but delaying the process will reduce the time you have to negotiate and finalize your CSA’s.  If you don’t have the manpower to handle this task, there are options:

  1. You could outsource this work
  2. You could hire a third party firm that will take it off your hands, or
  3. You could automate the process with a little help from a purpose-built solution

The good news is you still have options. If you’re interested in learning more about what would work best for your firm, here are a few resources for you to consider:

Have a look and think it through, but keep in mind the clock keeps ticking and before you know it, it will be March.

Click the link to learn more about our re-papering solution.  

9.thumbnailPaul Nelmes is Exari’s VP of Sales, Financial Services. Reach out in the comments or on twitter @Paul_Exari.

 

Out With The Old

Are you still drafting thousands of contracts manually?  In Word? Or storing multiple versions of paper contracts in a filing cabinet? Well, you’re not alone.

Exari recently surveyed 92 Corporate Counsel and compliance professionals about their habits and challenges for contract creation, storage and legal technology. More than 75% reported that they were still creating contracts in Microsoft Word, using some form of “copy and paste” template, while only 1 out of 10 currently use a document generation software to streamline the process. Half of the participants (47%) said they were still using paper filing systems to house corporate contracts. Their top pain points included:

  •         Slow contract approval processes (59%)
  •         Little or non-existent insight into risk (39%)
  •         Missing key milestones (27%)
  •         Difficulty with internal collaboration (25%)
  •         Risk of error (23%)

With outdated practices for generating and storing contracts, you’ll lack complete visibility into all of your agreements, increasing your risks such as liability, being underpaid or overcharged and missing key milestones. By implementing an efficient contracting process, you won’t miss a step. Not to mention you’ll be able to pull information during a crisis in minutes, rather than taking hours to dig up and sift through multiple paper copies. Avoid missing renewal rates, reduce the length of sales cycles, streamline negotiations and increase internal collaboration.


Doesn’t that sound better than the ol’ “copy and paste”?

DocGen 7.0 So much more than better documents

Today we announced DocGen 7.0, a major release in the history of this market-leading product. For those of you who are new to Exari, we were the first XML-based document assembly product on the market nearly 15 years ago. Today, our DocGen engine powers thousands of documents and contracts for hundreds of thousands of users worldwide.

What makes this release so great? It’s simple. It’s easy to use, and it is designed to be responsive, which means that no matter what device you use it on, be it phone, tablet, laptop or desktop, the application automatically resizes itself so it is as usable on a phone as it is on a 27” monitor. That’s cool.

We’ve also dramatically improved its authoring capabilities and greatly increased the ease with which you can integrate DocGen with other enterprise applications. That’s important because more and more, contracts are becoming living, breathing things. If you have consistency in your contracts, you protect yourself from risks like uncapped liabilities, bad termination language and potentially costly exposures.

For some customers, the risks are real. One prospect told us that a Word template had been modified and the limitations of liability clause removed and that template was then used hundreds of times. The risk is real.

Come check out DocGen 7.0. It’s the next great thing in contract management.

Bill Hewitt is Exari’s CEO. Reach out in the comments or @billhewittCEO. 

Responsive Web Design. Who cares? We do.

We’ve listened. We’ve taken your feedback – and the changing landscape – into account.  This fall, we’ll release a new responsive interface in our 7.0 release of Exari DocGen™.

Many of you reading this will be on a smartphone or tablet, or have one within reach. In fact, nearly 20% of visitors to our (responsive design) website come to us on a mobile device.

What’s responsive web design and why should I care, you ask? More and more business users are accessing web sites and web applications via small-screen devices. According to a recent study, mobile devices account for over half of all internet usage, as opposed to 42% on a desktop or laptop computer.

A responsive web application means that the interface you interact with changes dynamically based on the device you are using in order to provide a better user experience. We have redesigned the Exari interview with a “mobile first” approach. The result? Dramatically improved interface and usability for users on smart touchscreen devices.

As a responsive design application, Exari DocGen 7.0 allows you to be more responsive to your clients. It means you can fill in data directly in client meetings or on the road and send through a completed contract before you get to the office.

Drafting, completing and managing contracts with ease, insight and certainty. That’s what we’re all about.

Peter Wilson is Exari’s UI/UX Developer. Peter has been developing websites for almost two decades; he has provided coding and web management services for some of Australia’s largest companies. Peter regularly speaks at meetups and conferences. You can reach Peter @pwcc, peter.wilson@exari.com, in the comments below or on his personal website

 

Business Process Automation and Fast Food

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good home cooked meal. Fresh ingredients and loosely followed recipes mean that no two meals are ever identical. Flavors, textures and intensities always vary. Fast food is exactly the opposite – order a Big Mac anywhere in the world and you know exactly what to expect. Hilton (Conrad, not his great-granddaughter Paris) applied the same principal to his chain of hotels, with notable success.

What’s this got to do with business processes you ask? Simple: your processes should be more like fast food than home cooking. You’re not trying to satisfy your in-laws, you’re striving for consistency, quality and repeatability – uncontrolled variation between steps is undesirable as it inevitably exposes risk. These ideas are articulated in George Ritzer’s book, “The McDonaldization of Society.” Ritzer’s premise is that society is becoming more and more rationalized. The four essential components of McDonaldization apply equally to what we strive to achieve with our contracts:

  • Efficiency – the optimal way to get the job done. For fast food chains, this is getting customers from hungry to satisfied as rapidly as possible and then moving them on. For business processes, efficiency means minimizing the time spent on each step.
  • Quantification – knowing how long things take and how much they cost. It’s hard to improve your processes without something measurable. Fast food chains know exactly how long every step in their processes takes – usually to the second. Every step in the process life-cycle needs to be understood and quantified in order to improve and rate its efficiency. The concept of a contract risk score that can be tracked across your entire portfolio over time takes this to the next level.
  • Control – having strong, well established processes and using technology over manual labor wherever and whenever possible. There is no place for originality or creativity for common orders.
  • Predictability – achieving the same quality product every single time. Automation facilitates predictability both for fast food and business processes.

So while in some areas of life – such as the dinner table – variation and uniqueness are important, business process is not one of them.

So how do your business processes compare to fast food? What about your contract processes? Are they consistent and up to date or are they more like a home made souffle – they sometimes flop?

I’d love to hear from you at @liptonj or leave a note in the comments.

Justin Lipton is CFO and Co-Founder at Exari

How Document Assembly Makes Lawyers Smarter

Neuroplasticity is a relatively new term that describes the way our brains are capable of continually adapting and changing in ways that are both surprising and amazing. It turns out that we form new neural connections throughout our lives in response to new situations or changes in our environment.

Exari to Present at Lloyd’s Technology Thought Leadership Session

On 7 January 2014, Exari, along with its partner Tier 2, will present an overview of the SmartForms project at the first Lloyd’s Technology Thought Leadership Session of 2014. During this event, Martin Kett, VP, Insurance Client Development at Exari, will show how complex MRCs can be created efficiently and accurately using Exari’s web-based questionnaire, capturing risk data as a by-product of the process without any additional effort. The 25-30 minute presentation will be followed by a 10-15 minute Q&A session and will take place at the Old Library at Lloyd’s in London.

Many a Slip

Brokers in the London insurance market still, largely, rely on a document called a “slip” or, more officially, a “Market Reform Contract” (MRC) to negotiate commercial insurance risks with underwriters. The process varies between the 197 Lloyd’s brokers, but generally, begins with the preparation of an MRC in MS Word. Little or no data is captured during the process, and any information needed to track the deal is rekeyed (often multiple times).

When brokers accept a share of the risk, underwriters take a copy of the MRC and key the data they need to track, such as what they have accepted and how they are exposed.