In a world of uncertainty, we lean on data to show us a clear picture. This is especially true for independent insurance agency data. It’s not unusual for an agency to want to know more about their policyholders and how to keep them happy. Lots of this information is stored within an agency’s management system, some downloaded and some manually keyed in.
What you’re storing in your management system is up to you. The data you get out of your system is only as good as the data you put in. The more detailed information you have in your system, the better. And a well-thought-out way to extract data opens new ways to market to insureds and meet their changing and growing needs.
If you don’t have the proper data or a plan to enter and track data, then you’re already at a disadvantage. It’s like a painter with a blank canvas – brush in hand – and no paint to create their masterpiece. You can’t and won’t get anywhere without the proper data tools. Once you know what you’re after, you can start pulling meaningful reports within your management system.
As Client Services Manager at Strategic Insurance Software, I focus on helping agencies maximize how they use Partner XE and what they store in it. A big part of this is data cleanliness and figuring out what’s important to track.
I encourage each client to contemplate a few key questions as they work to create data entry, tracking, and analysis processes. As you analyze your agency’s data processes, consider some of these questions:
How clean is my data?
Are we all using the system uniformly?
What questions do I want my data to answer?
Why do I care about this information?
How will this data help my agency grow?
How do I plan on tracking the information I want?
What data fields am I not using that can be helpful?
What data fields would be helpful to have that I don’t?
Does my system have the flexibility to add fields I need?
If the answers to these questions can help you grow your book of business, why keep putting it off? There is no better time to start than now. The longer you wait, the messier your data will get. Focus on answering these questions, and come together as a team to define your goals and processes.
And don’t forget about your agency management system provider. Reach out to them to help you maximize your system. At SIS, we strive to be an always-available partner, helping our users make the most of our Partner XE system.
The insurance business is built on relationships. As a National Account Manager at Strategic Insurance Software (SIS), I have the pleasure of building many relationships with current and prospective clients each day.
Earlier this month I got the chance to build such relationships. Insurors of Tennessee gave my colleagues and I a chance to connect with close to two dozen independent insurance agency professionals at our Regional Learning workshop in Nashville, Tennessee.
Highlights of the day included:
Partner XE community members networking with prospective agencies
Popular “The Fastest Way To Do Everyday Tasks In Partner XE” session
The Partner XE Learning Workshop was a great event. I attended with our Commercial Lines Leader and the topics covered were directly relevant for our operations. Many of the capabilities reinforced what we were already doing, and the new enhancements made workflows easier and more effective so we can better serve our commercial clients. Thanks to Jake and SIS team for this training- it was a winner!” -Denise Joy, BlueGrass Insurance
Additional sessions on maximizing Outlook integration, document management, and commercial workflows
Open Q and A session with SIS staff, including President Michael Doran
Multiple opportunities for networking and community-building
SIS President Michael Doran, Sales Executive Nick Massaro, and I were thankful for the chance to meet and network with so many agencies who challenged the status quo and switched to Partner XE.
I thank the Insurors of Tennessee for doing a superb job hosting the event – we in the SIS and Partner XE community appreciate their support.
If you weren’t able to attend this event, you can join us at our next Regional Learning at our headquarters in Columbus. Or, get in touch with us at email@example.com to find out more about how Partner XE can transform the way you do business.
It may be a surprise to some, but emotions around an agency’s insurance software can be strong. Commitment to brands run deep. If you’ve been using a certain product for years, you’re hesitant to put your trust in something or someone new. Think iPhone vs. Android – it’s almost impossible for someone to switch camps. Independent insurance agencies face a similarly daunting task when thinking about switching management systems.
Wondering if it’s time to break-up with your management system? Check out our eGuide on signs it’s time to let your management system go.
Along with the pain of ending a long-standing relationship, the uncertainties surrounding the new relationship can be difficult. A management system may have the capabilities an agency needs, but what about the provider? Will they live up to expectations? Building trust, following through on commitments, and making a successful transition are all responsibilities borne by the new software company.
When an agency commits to a new provider, many experience a “what did I just do?” moment. They feel burdened with learning a new system, adapting their workflows, and building a new partnership. The weight of these uncertainties forms clouds of doubt.
Successful Transition Tips
As a National Account Manager at Strategic Insurance Software, I focus on guiding agencies through this seemingly ambiguous transition period. One of the best parts of my work is building trust with agency staff – being the friendly face to validate anxieties, answer questions, and instill confidence. My goal is to get an agency back to working as – and in most cases more – efficiently than before.
In my experience, successful transition requires:
Walking “shoulder to shoulder” with agency staff, especially during data conversion and post-implementation
Enabling individuals to let go of the “old way”
Providing staff buy-in on new systems and operations
Encouraging patience and a willingness to try something new
Change as an Agent for Growth
When preparing agencies for change, I use the analogy of being suspended in the air between two trapezes. Letting go doesn’t mean you’re falling – you’re grasping something new and moving forward.
I take pride in helping agencies grab the next trapeze to grow their agency. It takes hard work, patience and willingness to make a change. But, when someone has their “aha!” moment, there is a great degree of satisfaction. Letting go can feel uncertain, but it’s the only way to the other side. I’ll meet you there.
SIS is proud to have led hundreds of conversions from over twenty different agency management systems. To learn more about SIS’s comprehensive StartRight implementation process contacts us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.747.7005, Option 6.
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.