Insurance Tech: Easing Change Resistance in Your Agency

Insurance Tech: Easing Change Resistance in Your Agency

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.

1. Preempt new tech with training

The best way to help your team adapt to new tech is to provide ample training. When agencies transition to our Partner Platform agency management system suite, we start with a Project Plan outlining what’s to come over the next few weeks of transition. That plan always begins with training. We provide staff-wide training, followed by targeted sessions for individual employees or groups before and after the system goes live.

Beyond initial training, you should also have ongoing support via easy to locate and understand documentation and from an internal or external mentor. In our Partner Platform agencies, we aim to have a point-person in the agency who can answer questions. However, we know there will be issues that only we, the tech partner, can answer and are always available with hands-on support. Plus, we provide online guides and videos agencies can access 24/7 to get a refresher on certain aspects of the system.

2. Be transparent and empathetic

One of the worst things you can do is spring new technology on your team without explanation or warning. Instead, get your team involved in the process. Have staff members evaluate potential new systems and tools and ask for their feedback. Once you have new tech to introduce, talk about how to integrate it into each team member’s workflows. Getting buy-in from your staff in these ways makes a big difference.

Along with transparency, demonstrate empathy for your team. Acknowledge the transition process and its challenges. Assure them it’s okay if things slow down while they’re learning. Encourage them to see change as an opportunity rather than a challenge, inspiring a growth mindset that will make them more open to new things in the future.

3. Trickle in and check in

There are dozens of tech advances in the market, but your agency should only adopt one at a time. Prioritize what’s most valuable or easiest to adapt to, depending on what works best for your agency. If it’s your first new tech in a while, it may be better to start with a tool that’s a minor interruption before moving to something as significant as a new agency management system.

As you introduce new systems and tools, continually check-in with your team. Get their opinion about how the tech is working and identify any issues. Keep in mind that some of your staff may adjust faster than others, and you need to scaffold support to ensure everyone feels comfortable with all your insurance tech.

4. Adapt your hiring

When it comes time to hire someone new, consider their familiarity and comfort with technology. This doesn’t mean you need to hire only people who are a tech wiz, but it’s helpful to build up your roster of individuals who have a high comfort level with technology. Beyond tech comfort, you can also screen for adaptability and a willingness to try new things. Flexibility is a valuable asset in any area.
Check Out Some of Our Latest Tech Integrations
See more on Partner Platform’s tech integrations on our Partner Allies page. Some recent additions include:
  • Commercial Lines Raters
    • Semsee
  • Digital Payment Software
    • ePay Policy
  • Online Reputation Management
    • Blue Jay Reviews
  • VOIP
    • Lightspeed Voice
  • Esignature
    • RSign
    • FormStack
  • Digital Forms/Supplemental Apps
    • AppEase

We Make Tech Transitions Easy at Partner Platform

At Partner Platform, we spend a lot of our time investing in training for all our Partner Platform agencies. We know that investment in helping all agency members fully grasp how to navigate our management system suite is critical – and we designed the suite to be intuitive for just that reason. Hear from our agencies on their training experiences here. And, get in touch today to find out how we can help your team get equipped with our user-friendly, customizable management system experience. Contact us at [email protected] or 800.747.7005, Option 6, to find out more.
How to Get Insurance Clients: Making Your Service Stand Out

How to Get Insurance Clients: Making Your Service Stand Out

There are two significant factors consumers take into account when deciding where to bring their business: price and customer support. In fact, American Express found 90% of Americans surveyed consider customer service in their purchasing decisions. However, people will remember service before they think about price. In many cases, customers are willing to take a price increase as long as their service remains superior.

Independent agency owners know this well. Quality customer support is one of the major reasons why clients work with our Partner agencies. Below are some of the ways to improve your service, answering questions on how to get insurance clients and how to keep them.

Hear from SIS and our Partner agencies on what service means to us

  1. Reach out

Reach out to clients on your own, fostering a relationship. You want the client to think of you as more than just their insurance provider, but as a friend and trusted advisor. And, you want them to think of you whenever they hear about or think of insurance. With that positive correlation in mind, they’re more likely to refer you to a friend or family member regardless of their insurance needs.

  1. Listen

It sounds simple, but asking questions and genuinely listening to answers on how you can improve is powerful. Your clients are smart and will tell you what you need to know to improve. From what services they like and which they wish you provided, to preferred communication methods, your customers are the best source of advice on how to better your service.

Get more tips on keeping your customers happy in our post, “Read This Post or Lose Your Customers”

  1. Take responsibility for issues

When your client has a problem or a suggestion, take responsibility to help find a solution. If the issue will take some time to remedy, continually update them on its status. Your customers will take note and spread the word about the effort you put forth, regardless of how and when their problem is solved.

  1. Leverage technology

Customers expect tech to be a part of your service offerings. Leverage available technology to allow your clients to self-solve their issues and quickly connect with you when needed. Client portals, integrated texting, and mobile website access are a few of the essential tech pieces to provide superior service to your customers.

Are you leveraging all the latest in industry technology? Find out here

Make Your Service Superior with Partner Platform

At SIS, we take our customer service seriously and that means providing our Partner agencies with the tools they need to keep their service top-notch. Our latest customer-focused addition to the Partner Platform agency management system suite is Partner Connect. With Partner Connect, our agencies can choose from multiple offerings, including a custom agency-branded mobile app, client portal, and updated agency website design.

Find out more about Partner Connect and our other Partner Platform offerings: reach out at 800.747.7005, Option 6 or [email protected] today.

Taking the Chance Out of Choosing an Agency Management System

Taking the Chance Out of Choosing an Agency Management System

When choosing an agency management system, it can feel like you’re sitting at the poker table. Livelihood and legacy are on the line.  If you pick the wrong system, you stand to lose efficiency, time and money. If choose correctly, you win a partner that will help your agency grow to new heights. How do you know which is the right choice?

Does the system have the buy-in to sit at the table?

Management system capabilities like fully integrated accounting, document management and commercial and personal lines download are the buy-in to sit at the table. There may be other capabilities, like email integration or a customer portal, you may also want.

Step one is determining if the system has those capabilities. Step two is testing them out in a demo to see how they function. A system may have a whole host of potentially useful features, but they’re only useful if you and your staff can use them without memorizing a user manual.

The bet in choosing an agency management system comes from things you can’t see on a demo.

What tells should I look for in a management system provider?

There are ways to tell if a management system provider has the right hand for your agency. Three common tells for a quality system and provider include:

  • Financial transparency

You want to choose a management system that supports agency growth. That means being upfront about management system costs and providing value equal to or greater than its cost. When looking at a provider and system, ask yourself:

  • Will the system provide efficiency to lessen workload?
  • Does the system have annual price increases? If so how much are they?
  • Do you have to pay for improvements to the system?
  • Quality customer support

You want a management system provider that holds themselves to the same high-level customer support standards as your agency. Consider questions like:

  • How long does it take to receive an answer to a question?
  • Do you talk to a real person or an automated system?
  • What type of onsite training is provided?
  • How much does training for new employees or continued training cost?
  • True partnership

You know your customers and they know you. You want the same from your agency management system provider. Determine how you’ll be seen by your provider by answering these questions:

  • Can you call the c-suite officers to talk about long-term projects and the future of the business?
  • Do they have a product roadmap and do you have input in it?
  • Can they provide custom enhancements for your agency?

How do I make an informed bet?

The best way to get the answers you need about a new system and provider is to talk with other agencies who have made the switch. Connect with those that have about the same book of business, organizational structure and future goals as your agency. Talk with them about their decision-making process and experiences with the different providers they tried.

Once you have a short list, ask for references. Evaluate if their answers align with your agency’s needs and put an offer on the table. Your thoroughness will ensure you’ll cash out a winner.

Thinking about stepping up to the table? Take the betting out of it with SIS and our Partner XE management system. Our customizable system, dedicated service team, and engaged Partner XE User community are a sure win for you and your agency. Get in touch with an SIS team member today to get the conversation started.

Three Integrated Systems You Need in Your Management System

Three Integrated Systems You Need in Your Management System

“We’ve always done it this way” is never a good reason for anything. Yet, I often hear this when talking to owners about their insurance agency workflow procedures. The old way is not necessarily bad, but chances are it isn’t the most efficient. There is a better way.

The tech-revolution has hit the insurance industry – hard. Agency management systems have grown by leaps and bounds, including adding in a host of time-saving system integrations. With so many new advancements in such a short amount of time, it can be hard to keep up. So, we at SIS have stayed up-to-date and sifted through the noise to target where to focus your attention.

Here are three must-have system integrations to keep your insurance agency workflows not only moving, but improving.

See other ways to save your agency time and money by eliminating workflow inefficiencies

  1. Integrated Accounting

If you watch Shark Tank, you know the one thing million and billion-dollar investors preach is you must “know your numbers” to grow your business. Without an integrated accounting system, you’ll never have a true picture of where you stand.

Integrated accounting saves you from entering financial information into a second system and assures you haven’t missed a single piece of data. From this comprehensive data pool, you can pull a host of reports, each providing essential information on how you’re doing and where you can go next.

Such reports include:

  • Profit and Loss Statement
  • Balance Sheet
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Aged Receivables
  • Agency Commission, Sales and Retention by criteria (i.e. company, referral source, producer, etc.)

Find out how to make the most of your insurance agency accounting data

  1. Email Integration

Much of agency correspondence today flows through email. And, there is a lot of relevant information found in each exchange. But, you don’t have time to go through the endless clicks and keystrokes the drag and drop process takes to connect conversations to constituent profiles. You either don’t do it or eat up countless hours with the process. Either way you lose.

With a truly integrated email solution, you can start an email from a profile or within an email platform and have it automatically saved to that profile. Similarly, inbound emails can directly connect to a profile. Simply save the client’s or prospect’s email address in your management system and your inbox will recognize it and automatically attach the email for you. You no longer need to waste your time with dragging and dropping, and you build better prospect and client profiles. Now it’s a win-win.

Are you pursuing leads effectively? Find out in our post on how to prospect right

  1. Mobile App

As an insurance agent, you protect people from the catastrophes we wish would never happen. If you were a fortune teller, you’d know when your clients were going to have a car crash or house fire. But, since you can’t predict disaster before it happens, you need to be always at the ready to help your clients during a crisis. That’s where mobile access to your management system is critical.

With a mobile app, your client can reach you at any time or place, and you’ll have access to all the crucial information you need to ease their fears. Mobile access allows you to answer all policy and coverage questions on the spot, which is huge during these crisis moments.

Besides providing on-the-spot vital service, a mobile app is beneficial during client and prospect visits. It allows you to map directions for a client meeting, look up contact info, or even add an activity to follow-up after your meeting.

Get more mobile app benefits – check out our post on why it’s a top management system tool

Finding it all in Partner XE

It’s no surprise our web-based Partner XE management system comes fully equipped with integrated accounting, email integration, and mobile app capabilities. These integrated systems are just part of what make the Partner XE system a game-changer for our partner agencies.

Want to find out more? View a demo at sispartnerplatform.com and get in touch with an SIS team member today to take the first steps in growing your agency

Insurance Management System Must-Haves

Insurance Management System Must-Haves

Remember those Febreze commercials where people didn’t notice the smell in their homes, cars, and other spaces? They had gotten used to the unpleasant order they lived with in these places. But, when other people came by, it was obvious something stunk.

When I meet with individuals about switching agency management systems, I have a similar experience. I find too often they’ve gotten used to the system they have, even if it does stink. They’ve put up with limited functionality, found workarounds, and have given up on the slow-moving customer service offered by their provider.

Are you ignoring the smell of your agency management system? Check out our “must-have” list below to see if you’re missing these critical pieces for a more fragrant management system experience.

System Must Haves: The Short List

Below are the absolute musts for your management system. If you’re one short, it’s time to move to greener pastures.

Web-based program Responsive customer service
High-quality data security Comprehensive downloads
Customizable interface Personal Lines Rater integration
Import/export for data and reports Ability to flood policy coverage to ACORD Forms
Intuitive menus and navigation

Is it time to let your agency management system go? Find out in our eGuide

Top Capabilities: What Sets You Apart

Independent insurance agencies never settle for “good enough.” Go beyond the minimum with these capabilities to set your agency apart.

  1. Outlook Integration

Customer and company communication is almost exclusively through email. Outlook integration brings email into your system, saving you from switching back and forth.

  1. Integrated Accounting

An integrated accounting system eliminates doubling data entry in Quickbooks or Peachtree. You also get the ability to run extensive reports using all the data stored in your system.

Read more on the power of integrated systems on the SIS blog

  1. Client Portal

Client portal access is quickly becoming a must-have for customers. With this online portal, customers essentially serve themselves after regular business hours.

  1. Proposal Creator

A customizable proposal creator allows agencies to provide clients with professional, agency-branded proposals in 10 minutes or less for all renewals.

See more on SIS’s Proposal Creator and Client Portal in our latest releases

  1. Mobile App

Another emerging must-have, a mobile app gives employees on-the-go access to customer and policy information. This allows staff to enter follow-up activities and update info in the moment so business can keep moving no matter where you’re located.

Finding a System that Has It All

Is it possible to find a system and provider that has it all? The short answer: no. But the long answer is: if they’re willing to grow. Each agency is unique, requiring a system that fits them. A provider that is open to changing and improving their system can make that perfect fit happen again and again as your needs grow.

Collaboration and growth are integral to our success at SIS. Our Partner XE management system is continually improved to directly meet partner agency needs, ensuring good stays the enemy of great. Find out more about how we work with our agencies through Workgroups and Regional Learnings. Visit us at sispartnerplatform.com to get in touch at [email protected].