Setting Up Your Organizational Hierarchy
The NIC Distributor App provides Distributors with an option to set up their hierarchy so that their in force book can be viewed at multiple levels (e.g firm, office, agent) within their hierarchy. Having a hierarchy also enables the Distributors to limit users data access to specific business units within the hierarchy. Distributors can utilize NIC without a hierarchy but there are many additional benefits to setting up the hierarchy.
If there is no hierarchy then all firms, offices and agents will be attached directly to the Distributor itself such that their book can only be viewed at the Distributor level and the Agent level.
What is an Organizational Hierarchy?
Business Unit (BU)
The Distributors Organizational Hierarchy is the configuration of business units under the Distributor itself.
A Business Unit may be a Firm, an Office or an Agent (or other). A Business Unit will always have a downline.
If the business unit is a ‘Firm’, the downline may be comprised of additional Firms, Offices, Agents and Policies (policies can be attached directly to a firm)
If the business unit is an ‘Office’, the downline may be comprised of additional Offices, Agents and Policies (policies can be attached directly to an office)
If the business unit is an ‘Agent’, the downline may be comprised of additional Agents and Policies
Note: it is possible to have other types of business units (e.g Sub-Distributors, General Agencies, Broker Dealers, a Division or even Regions) but we have limited the description above in order to keep it simple.
Multi-Level Hierarchy Example
Flat Hierarchy Example
The Advantages of having a Hierarchy
There are many advantages to having your hierarchy set up on NIC including;
Distributor users can be provided with data access at any level in the hierarchy e.g. a sales manager can be granted access to a set of firms, offices or even a region
Additional Distributor users can be attached to firms and offices and have access to all of the policies and agents (downline) in that firm or office e.g. a firm support staff can see all offices, agents and policies in the firm’s downline
View insights (sales and service opportunities) at the firm or office level (for any business unit in the hierarchy)
Distributors who support sub-Distributors or GAs can see the downlines and policies for the Sub-Distributor or GA and their downline business units
The Super User can:
Give other users data access
Make changes to the organizational hierarchy
As a Program Manager you can authorize a user as the “Super User” to manage the organizational hierarchy and data access.
The Super User should be someone within your organization who has insights into the organizational set-up, as well as a thorough understanding of your organizational hierarchy and corresponding data access requirements.
The Super User will have a significant amount of control and data access, the Super User designate should be very familiar with the business, its operations and distribution network.
Sales or Brokerage Managers
Sales or Brokerage Managers can be included as business units in your hierarchy or provided with access to a business unit, and automatically inherit the business unit downline.
Some Distributors provide their Sales or Brokerage Managers with top level access while others set them up with limited access (access to a subset of firms, offices, agents only).
To include your Sales or Brokerage Managers in your organizational hierarchy make sure they are included in your hierarchy file. If you prefer to provide them with access to a business unit (and its downline) be sure to include them when you complete the Distributor User Set Up form.
Building Your Hierarchy
You can choose from one of three options to create your hierarchy:
If you are a Smart Office user and would like to load your hierarchy from Smart Office, you will need to provide NIC with authorization to access your Smart Office account.
NIC can extract your file one time only and you can manage your hierarchy using NIC’s Hierarchy Management Tool, or NIC can extract and load your Smart Office file daily so that you can manage your hierarchy in Smart Office and all of your changes will automatically be reflected on NIC (the next day).
To authorize NIC to extract your hierarchy from Smart Office you must complete the Smart Office Hierarchy Authorization Form. Once we receive your authorization, NIC will extract the file from Smart Office and load it onto the NIC Platform and provide you with access to a pre-production environment so that you can validate the set up.
NIC Hierarchy Template
To provide NIC with your hierarchy using NIC’s Hierarchy Template, download the template and follow the instructions. Once the template is completed return it to NIC and we will load it onto the NIC Platform and provide you with access to a pre-production environment so that you can validate the set up.
Once the file is loaded you can manage your hierarchy using NIC’s Hierarchy Management Tool
Custom Hierarchy File
If you have a hierarchy file or extract available from an existing CRM, commission or other system NIC may be able to utilize the existing file. The custom file can be loaded one time and you can use NIC’s Hierarchy Management Tool to manage your hierarchy or you can work with NIC to set up on a regular sync so that your hierarchy is refreshed on a regular basis.
To utilize an existing file review NIC’s hierarchy file format requirements and ensure the file contains the necessary information. Send NIC a test file and we will ensure we can load the file and provide you with access to a pre-production environment so that you can validate the set up.
Custom Hierarchy File Requirements
If you do have Firms and Offices you need to provide information about those firms and offices including;
Firm or Office Name
Parent Business Unit (if applicable)
For Agent list:
First and last names
NPN (NIPR License #)
Phone and Address information
Parent Business Unit
Loading the Hierarchy File
Once you have submitted the hierarchy file back to NIC, a NIC onboarding team member will engage with you to verify the set up;
NICs onboarding team will analyze the hierarchy file and check for attributes that are deemed
essential and/or duplicates.
Any missing information and/or errors are communicated back to you to address and re-submit
Once the file is complete the file is loaded into the NIC Distributor pre-production environment for validation
NIC will provide you with access to the pre-production environment to confirm the set up prior to production.