Agency IT & security: Archway & Kevin Panter Insurance podcast recap

The Insurance Perspectives Podcast involves contributors outside of HawkSoft. The participants' views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of HawkSoft.


This recap of the Insurance Perspectives Podcast summarizes highlights of the two episodes about Archway Computer, where HawkSoft host Kenny Hendricks interviews Brad Ruben of Archway and Kevin Panter of Kevin Panter Insurance, an agency who uses Archway as their Managed IT provider.

Brad and Keven discuss how IT providers can help independent agencies set up and secure their systems, and position them to grow and scale.



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In this article:



Part 1: Archway (Brad Ruben)

Watch the video podcast - Part 1


Question 1: Why does Archway Computer exist? What is your reason for participating in the independent agency channel?

  • Host Kenny Hendricks introduces Brad Ruben, president of Archway Computer. Brad has overseen the work at Archway for almost 15 years, and has been working in insurance computer technology for over 30 years.

  • Brad initially became involved in insurance technology back when he was building computers in the West Hollywood area over 30 years ago. One of his clients was an insurance agent, which started his company’s move into the insurance IT space.

  • Brad recalls a more recent experience where he felt reaffirmed that Archway had chosen to support the right industry. Five years ago, his home was one of a thousand that burned down in the Woolsey fire, and his independent agent helped and advocated for him through the disaster.

“My home, along with a thousand other homes, burned down in the Woolsey fire. And if it wasn't for my independent agent, I'd be in a ball in that corner over there asking for my mommy right now. I'm just so proud to support this industry.”



Question 2: If you had to pick one aspect of Archway that draws in and keeps agencies working with you, what would that be and why?

  • Brad mentions that customers are attracted by the fact that Archway focuses solely on independent agencies, and can subsequently understand their needs better than many other IT groups that cater to a wider audience.

  • Archway functions somewhat similarly to an independent agency, in that the company doesn’t sell software or hardware products, allowing them to be able to recommend the best products objectively and not be motivated by sales.

  • Kenny shares that HawkSoft operates the same way when doing sales demos; if the agency isn’t a good fit for HawkSoft, we let them know upfront instead of trying to sell them something that won’t work well for them.

  • Kevin Panter adds that the insurance industry is based on trust, and that he feels he can completely trust Brad and Archway to have his best interests at heart.

“We tried to construct Archway like an independent insurance agency, meaning we don't sell hardware, we don't sell software…We try to be completely independent in our recommendations to our clients, because we're not getting a kickback. We try to provide the best of breed products to our clients.”



Question 3: How does Archway approach data ownership and data security with regards to your customers?

  • Brad explains that Archway doesn’t store client data, so data ownership is not an issue for customers.

  • Archway uses the NIST framework for data security, which includes taking an inventory of the client’s current state, understanding the compliance risks for their state, and implementing products and procedures to keep unauthorized parties out of the system.

  • Archway utilizes products that employ AI to monitor client systems for unusual activity, and can even shut down a computer if needed to prevent malicious activity. Archway can also help with data backup and recovery plans in the event of a disaster.

  • Kenny and Kevin discuss how preparing for disaster recovery for data and IT systems is similar to what insurance agents do to mitigate risks for their clients.


“Insurance is risk avoidance. That's why I feel with my hardware, I've avoided that potential and placed trust in them [Archway] to be able to do that.”

Kevin Panter



Question 4: What is the hardest part of working with insurance agencies?

  • Brad mentions that one of the difficulties is the insurance industry lags behind other industries in its adoption of new technologies.

  • He also notes that changes in technology, such as MFA authentication, can feel scary to older generations, and his team works on holding their clients’ hands through this process.

  • Kevin observes that all independent agencies are different and will be at different places in their adoption of technology.

  • Brad and Kenny discuss HawkSoft’s current migration to a cloud platform and how difficult such a change can be for users, even when they are eager for the benefits it will bring.


“I tell our techs all the time that you don't want to just be a great surgeon, you want to have good bedside manner. This [changing technology] is scary for some people that are in my generation or even older. Those are big challenges for them.”



Question 5: What is the best part of working with insurance agencies?

  • Brad says he’s found that independent insurance agents are great people, especially compared to what he’s seen living near Hollywood, but they know how to have fun too.

  • Brad loves having the chance to talk to so many agents and hear their stories, and help them be able to modernize and grow their agencies with technology infrastructure.

“I like to talk to agents about sales automation and tools and things that we don't sell that can help them grow their agency. Because I'm of the opinion that if you're not growing, you’re dying. So we want to we want to help our agencies grow, and that's what gets me excited.”




Part 2: Kevin Panter Insurance (Kevin Panter)


Watch the video podcast - Part 2


In this episode:


Question 1: Tell us about your agency. How long have you been in the business, and how did you get into the business? Do you have any specializations? What gets you excited about insurance?

  • Kenny introduces Kevin Panter, president and owner of Kevin Panter Insurance. Kevin has operated his agency in Blue Ridge, Georgia, for 33 years and is a volunteer firefighter and EMT.

  • Kevin shares that while he initially wanted to be a firefighter full-time, he decided to go to college first and ended up in the insurance business.

  • He was a captive agent initially, but in 2006 decided to become an independent agent. He has built two scratch agencies during his career.

  • Kevin lives in a small town and serves clients across his county. His agency has 6 employees, both in Georgia and outsourced in the Philippines, and mentions that Archway helped him create and maintain a secure digital environment for his data and employees.

  • Kevin’s agency does about 60% personal lines and 30% commercial. The agency does a good amount of life and health insurance, and Kevin mentions how much HawkSoft has grown in this area.

“I am still a firefighter, an EMT. That's my first love because I love helping people. And that goes hand in hand with insurance. It truly does.”



Question 2: What was your agency looking for when you first encountered Archway Computer?


  • Kevin shares that he found Archway because he was looking for an IT provider to ensure his customers’ data stays secure, especially in light of the recent increase in cyber risks and data breaches in today’s digital environment. He felt his current provider was not keeping current with technology and data protection, and discovered Archway at a conference.

  • After researching and meeting with Archway, Kevin decided to use them as his agency’s IT provider, as he felt they would help his agency continue to grow. His philosophy is to bring in people who are experts in different areas to oversee those areas, so he can focus on his customers.

  • Brad emphasizes that independent agents are all about taking care of their clients, which means they need to care about the technology securing their client data.

“I’ve got all my friends and family in my small town as customers. I’m doing everything I can to protect their data, so I needed to be with a very reputable IT provider. As my agency grows, I needed someone that grows with me. And that’s what I found with Archway.”



Question 3: What is your agency able to do now with Archway that you couldn't do before?

  • Kevin says that Archway helps all his employees stay secure and connected, between Georgia and the Philippines, and allows him to compete with larger agencies.

  • He appreciates that he can leave the technology to Archway and simply call them if he needs anything. He shares an instance where an Archway tech stayed on the phone with him after hours to resolve an issue.

“Archway has made me able to compete with big agents in Atlanta, Georgia, or Los Angeles, California. That's what they've enabled me to do. I don't try to be smart at technology. But when needing to do something, I can call his staff.”



Question 4: What is one thing that you would change about Archway if you could?

  • Kevin says he has very few complaints with Archway. He mentions that Archway has a toll-free number for support, but he knows he can always reach out to Brad if needs something, just as he knows he has a direct line to Paul Hawkins at HawkSoft if he needs it.

  • Kevin wants the people he works with to feel that they have “skin in the game” and are as invested in protecting his agency as he is, and he says he’s found this with Archway.

  • He mentions that security is only as good as the weakest link, and with Archway, he can have an expert to rely on instead of his own limited knowledge of technology and security.

“At the end of the day, I know if I have an issue, I can talk to Brad Ruben, just the same as calling HawkSoft if I need to, and talking to Paul Hawkins. None of us get too big for our britches. We’re all in this together.”



Question 5: How would you describe the value that Archway brings to your agency?

  • Kevin explains that his employees need to be able to log in and work even if they can’t come into the office due to a storm or other circumstances, and mentions that with previous IT vendors his employees were sometimes unable to get the access they needed for hours or even days.

  • With Archway, if there’s ever a problem, Kevin’s staff know they can call in and expect to talk to someone right away and get a quick resolution to the issue.

  • Kevin expresses his gratitude to both Archway and HawkSoft for helping him protect his agency and his clients.

“I truly trust in HawkSoft and Archway as good partners. I don't know where I would be in my agency without them. I appreciate the fine job that both of you do to help protect my agency and protect my agents. You're protecting my clients, even as the guy in the small town.”




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HawkSoft Marketing Editorial Team

Author: HawkSoft Marketing Editorial Team

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