Your insurance agency marketing goal is to stand out among the noise. Identifying and investing in serving a niche market is one of the most efficient and effective ways to achieve this challenging goal.
When you serve a niche market, you have less competition, making it easier to gain new customers in a specific arena. Your agency is set apart as providing “X” type of insurance, making you distinctive. PIA National’s 2022 Independent Agent Survey found that respondents devoted more than 20% of their book of business to a niche market. You, too, can capitalize on this valuable strategy.
Over the past few years, there has been a surge in insurance agency management transitions. Mergers and acquisitions specifically are on the rise, with an estimated 550 deals, up 12% from the previous year, in the first quarter of 2021. While these transitions can be profitable for owners, they can come with significant trepidation and worry from employees and customers.
As an owner, you need to start thinking ahead about how to prepare your agency for its eventual ownership transition. Whether you plan to perpetuate internally or externally, it’s essential that you prepare. That preparation includes setting your agency up for its highest valuation, prepping your team, and investing in tools and processes to bring your agency into the future.
Good partners and partnerships are critical to success in any business, but it’s crucial in technology where the pace of change and breadth of innovation is high. Insurance tech is growing fast, and it’s critical to look to progressive partners to keep up with the pace.
Why Partnerships Matter
Innovations happen everywhere, every day. Things like electric cars, an increase in IoT, the interconnectedness of tech systems in healthcare and our own homes, and other innovations significantly impact our industry. These tech advances inform how insurers can gain data to inform policies and process claims.
When Lara Moffitt began as CEO of MHJ Insurance, her first order of business was to find a new agency management system. She knew their old system was complicated, expensive, and had poor customer service. It was clearly time for MHJ to make a change.
So, Lara rallied her team to start their search for a new agency management system provider. The three-month-long project included a series of interviews, demos, and plenty of internal discussions about what was working and what wasn’t.
Innovation is key to longevity in any industry, and the insurance industry is no different. Insurance revolves around people and relationships, making it an inherently dynamic field.
Digital insurance demands seem to change by the day to keep up with evolving customer and agency needs. That’s why we at Partner Platform partner with various tech partners to stay up to date with changing conditions. We as an organization can only be experts in so many areas, so we recognize the need to partner with outside specialists to fill our gaps.
We work with industry groups and tech companies to cover areas like digital document processing and cyber security, among others. Below are a few of our recent posts highlighting these valuable tech partnerships.
Insurance tech advancements are making everyday processes faster and more efficient, and customers are demanding more digital interactions than ever before. Despite the benefits and increasing customer demand for insurance tech, your team may be hesitant to adopt new technology.
This hesitancy is understandable. Change is difficult, and introducing a new process or system to an individual’s workflow can be frustrating. But, the benefits of integrating insurance tech into your agency far outweigh the challenges of overcoming change.
Here are a few ways we’ve seen agencies work to be more receptive to new technology and system updates.
The insurance industry – like others today – is understaffed. In late 2021, an insurance labor market study showed that 53% of agencies planned to “aggressively hire” within 12 months to fill vacancies. The same study also showed that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill open positions. As an owner, your insurance agency management relies on knowledgeable staff, but it can be challenging to fill positions in today’s market.
With hiring season just around the corner, your agency needs to focus on how to recruit new talent for your team. Past tactics may no longer work on a younger, more tech-driven workforce. It’s time to expand your outreach, position insurance differently, and look for diverse qualities to keep your agency growing.
Mike Maranda has been in the insurance business for over 40 years. He’s guided his agency through many seasons, but his recent journey to find the right agency management system for his team was one of the most painful.
After many years with a system they loved, Quality Insurance Service was forced to make a change when one of the big-name providers acquired their original system. Mike and his business partner decided to pick one of the big-name systems to avoid needing to make a change again anytime soon.
Yet, after selecting one of the dominant providers, they were frustrated to move through a cumbersome system with unresponsive service. After four years, they’d had enough and started searching for a new system, eventually joining the Partner Platform community.
As the insurance industry grows more competitive, the particulars of your specific insurance agency management will make your business stand out. Those particulars could be location proximity, ease of doing business, or even something as simple as how your website looks. Though price still matters, changes in cost can only go so far.
The true test of what makes your agency the best choice is the overall customer experience. Seemingly small touches that make each interaction easier, more personable, and leave each customer with a positive feeling have a real impact. Today it’s about more than the best price and the latest tech; it’s how you use these tools to empower, differentiate, and create the best experience in your agency.
Automation plays a significant role in many industries, and insurance is no exception. The rapid innovations of insurtech have thrust data and automation into the forefront of ways to improve and enhance agency operations.
One of the most prominent data automation uses is in the underwriting process. Due to digitized automation processes, agencies are seeing loss ratios decrease and overall premiums increase. According to Willis Towers Watson, over 60% of agencies surveyed say the predictive analytics of automated underwriting have reduced issues and brought down expenses.
Underwriting automation has great value, but the wealth of data and required processing power can be daunting for the average agency. Yet, if your agency can put in place the right processes and people to gain and manage underwriting data, you can see a big change.