It's far too common that (for a variety of regular causes) the integration link between Act! and Outlook is lost.
It's probably impossible for Act! to detect and repair lost integration if Outlook is opened ahead of it, but the user's preferences could be retained in an external file and when needed, re-instituted faster and more seamlessly than returning to prefs setup (or the drop down on the email button) to re-establish all the various prefs.
Consider this LOW HANGING FRUIT and another great reason to upgrade to the next version!