Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google are now
some of the world’s most recognizable names. Each serves customer needs in
multiple sectors, yet they all started with a single focus. Apple made
computers, Amazon sold books, and Google helped people find what they were
looking for online. Starting with that simple focus, they improved upon their
service and looked for organic ways to expand, serving new areas of their
It’s hard to believe a new decade is here, and it’s a
special one for us here at Partner Platform. We recently celebrated our 10th
anniversary and are looking forward to the decade to come. As an agency-focused
provider, we’re dedicated to giving our Partner Platform agencies the support
We’ve heard from our agencies and are now focusing on
providing smaller updates more frequently throughout the year to help them stay
up-to-date and on track to provide their customers with the best service and
experience possible. This change in update schedule will:
Make it easier for agencies to digest new
features and get staff up-to-speed
Provide targeted webinars, spending more time on
Allow for longer quality testing periods on each
Our big deal for the new year is the Agency
App release. This much-anticipated feature will go live in the first
quarter of 2020, adding to our already robust personalized digital offerings.
The Agency App brings Partner Platform agencies to the forefront in the industry,
propelling them to compete one-on-one with direct writers.
Having a mobile-enabled agency is critical to future growth and success. J.D. Power and Associates reported that 42% of claimants surveyed used an agency mobile app. That number will only continue to grow. As the independent channel competes with the direct writers of the world, you need this top agency management system tool.
There are two mobile apps you need to stay relevant: an internal app connecting with your agency management system and a client facing app for customers to connect to you.
Internal Mobile App: Connecting Your Team
An internally connected mobile app allows your agency team to access client, policy and claim information anywhere, anytime. That means faster service for your clients, better connection for your staff, and it even serves as back-up should your agency lose power or experience other technical issues.
An agency management system mobile app extension is also an excellent sales tool. Agents can add in notes and update prospect profiles immediately after meeting, And, they can reference game-changing info during sales conversations. Plus, a mobile app serves as a great task list, keeping your sales team on top of follow-ups and other prospect requests.
Client Mobile App: Leveling Up Your Customer Service
Mobile access for clients via a branded mobile app is also a must. With a mobile app, your policyholders can access account information all in one place. It’s convenient, efficient, and essential. With a mobile app, your customers should be able to:
Search for and download your app right in the app store
See your agency name and logo on the app icon and within the app for a fully-branded experience
Access important policy and coverage information, ID cards, list of drivers on their policies, and claims information among other relevant documents
File a claim or send important information back to the agency via the app
Receive updates from you via push notifications for things like inclement weather notices, policy renewals, and billing inquiries
The first step in getting your agency on mobile is finding an app that fits your needs. No matter which you choose, find one that syncs with your agency management system. The data captured via mobile apps is invaluable to your agency, and you want to ensure it’s going right into your system.
If you’ve been in the business for a while, you’ve seen communication methods evolve. From in-person meetings to phone calls to email, the methods for staying in touch with customers have changed throughout the years. The most recent evolution is texting – a technique used for insurance customer retention and prospecting alike.
Yet, with all new technology, challenges go hand-in-hand with benefits.
Texting Problem #1: Capturing the Conversation
Texting transmits information quickly and can get business done fast, but these interactions are difficult to capture. Many agencies struggle to save such valuable conversations in their management system as a permanent record.
Similar to email, customers text outside of business hours, meaning most conversations are on a personal cell phone or tablet. In these instances, the agent needs to remember to screenshot their exchange, email it to themselves, and attach the screenshots to their management system the next day. This is a cumbersome process, giving agency owners serious concerns about E&O exposures.
Though third-party solutions are available, even these are limited. Some require to text using email – an equally cumbersome process. Suffice to say too often precious customer data is lost during a text exchange.
Many agencies have adopted highly effective mass texting to prospects and clients. Though these methods yield great results, there is concern around allowing recipients to opt-out of receiving messages.
Similar to emails, if the recipient no longer wants to be sent content, the agency must offer and track opt-outs. Most email systems are set for opt-outs but with texting it is not so easy. And, once appropriate language is created, it can be challenging to remember to include the required opt-out language at the end of each text. Such barriers can cause an agency to forgo texting altogether.
At SIS, we know these texting issues well. That’s why, with input from our partner agencies, we’ve put together the best solutions in our Partner XE agency management system.
With Partner XE, users can text right from the system, saving each conversation automatically. Texts can be sent manually at any time, or marketing texts can be scheduled to be sent to a list of recipients in the future. Plus, we automatically add opt-out reminders, making it easy for the recipient to reply “STOP” to stop receiving text messages moving forward.
In fact, Partner XE will automatically check the opt-out box for clients and prospects when they opt-out of messages. Then, if a marketing text is scheduled, Partner XE will skip over them and not send the message to that user.
There are a lot of agencies in the market that would like to leverage texting but are held back with these issues. Or, they just don’t feel comfortable using such new technology. We can help. Get in touch with us today at [email protected] or 800.747.7005, Option 6 to learn more.
Reports are the window to your agency’s future. They tell you where you’re performing well and highlight areas to improve. And, since all your agency data is stored in your management system, they’re easy to obtain.
If you’re just getting started with reports, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. So, we’ve come up with the top reports you need to run to measure your sales success.
Start with Your Data
First things first: data coming out is only as good as data coming in. To get useful reports, you must establish insurance agency workflow procedures around data entry.
Work with your team to make data entry uniform across the agency. Discuss best practices around creating customer profiles and recording information. It’s important to ensure all policies have information – like producer, CSR, and premium amounts – assigned appropriately. Policies must be accurate and up-to-date every day to guarantee precise, clean data for accurate reports.
Your management system should give you a clear picture of your existing business, including breaking down by the following:
Policies by Carrier
Line of Business
By Personal, Commercial, and Benefits
You can also gain current business insights by viewing CSR activities and workload by carrier, line of business, policy type, etc. Reports like these can help with managing staff, telling you which CSRs or account managers have heavier workloads than others.
3.) Financial Reports
Reports: Balance Sheet and Income Statements
As you may have guessed, accounting reports are critical for understanding success as it pertains to the agency’s bottom and top line. These reports should be clean and easy to read and review with your bookkeepers and CPAs. Financial reports tell you where money is being spent and where money is being made, helping you determine how to best use funds and investments
Activity reports can tell you if: 1) your team is spending their time effectively and 2) if they’re spending it with the right clients. Use activity reports to see if VIPs are getting the attention they deserve and if too much effort is put into leads that go nowhere.
Client portals are a great way to capture customer activities, giving insight into what customers need and how they’re interacting with your agency.
Get All the Tools You Need in One System
Getting good reports has a lot to do with the tools you use to gather data. That’s why we’ve made our Partner XE agency management system so data-friendly, with integrated accounting and email systems, a Client Portal plug-in, and our Producer Results Manager and Marketing Automation Manager to help agencies track all the essential data they need in one system.
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.