The insurance industry isn’t known for embracing change quickly: maintaining the status quo can seem easier than adapting new insurance tech. Despite this, insurance agencies tend to face a greater cybersecurity threat than other small to medium-sized businesses due to the sensitive and valuable data they collect from numerous avenues.
cyberattacks on the rise, and the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many agencies to
leave the traditional way of doing things behind, the need for insurers to
maintain cyber regulation and compliance has never been greater.
With this in mind, here are four ways insurance agencies can secure their insurance tech to protect their business, employees, and clients.
1.) Use Multi-Factor Authentication
or multi-Factor authentication (also known as 2FA or MFA) is an extra layer of
protection used to ensure the security of online accounts beyond just a
username and password. It requires two types of information from the user—a
password or PIN, a code sent to the user’s smartphone, or a fingerprint or
facial recognition—before accessing whatever is being secured. The idea is that
even if a hacker has figured out an account’s credentials and password, they
will be locked out without the extra validation step only accessible from the
scams are becoming increasingly complex, and impersonations are becoming more
realistic and difficult to spot. Usually, the attacker poses as an institution
or individual you trust and sends users a fake message that claims to be from
that trusted party.
Our simplest advice: If it seems too convenient or too good to be true, it probably is! Always check that any links are legit (i.e., not chase.co) and secure (https, not http). Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, ask you to provide login or account information via email or message, or warn of negative consequences if you do not “act now!”.
addition, with tech platforms constantly scanning for bugs and fixing them, it’s
crucial for you to download and update the latest versions of the apps and
software you’re using. When possible, use auto-updates to get the latest
patches for apps, software, and operating systems.
4.) Don’t Wait Until the Worst-Case Scenario
of waiting for something to break and then looking for someone to fix it,
consider working with a managed service provider (MSP) well-versed in the cyber
threats specific to the insurance industry. A dedicated MSP technology partner
will equip your insurance agency with all the levels of protection it needs to
mitigate risk, preparing for disasters before they happen.
For years, Archway Computer has been one of our industry partners, providing managed IT services exclusively for independent insurance agencies. That means keeping your agency’s information secure, ensuring your technology is compliant with cyber regulations in your state, and providing a range of proactive services to keep your computer systems up and running and your agency productive.
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.