How did the COVID-19 pandemic change your insurance
Most agencies are emerging from pandemic lockdown with
their business still healthy – perhaps even healthier for those that benefitted
from restrictions that reduced claims. An agency that emerges from such an
immediate and drastic change with economic strength speaks to their resilience
While financial health is one measurement of the
overall business, strategic health is another. Given the challenges over the
last year, you likely had meaningful conversations with business partners or
significant others about ways to strengthen your independent agency for the
long-term. These forward-thinking conversations are a testament to your
Some considerations to add to your reflection include:
How well did we adapt to shifting work from the office to
How did the shift affect associate productivity and
How did our client experience change?
How did the shift impact agency team culture?
What did we learn about client experience and expectations?
When everything was no longer in person, how did
that impact results like retention and new business?
What new technologies (beyond Zoom) were
highlights for supporting clients?
As we head back to the office, how is the agency
operating differently to improve results?
Over this past year of transitions, we on the
Partner Platform team learned our independent agency clients are adaptable and
nimble. We saw many agencies promote leadership at the top of the agency and in
key “on the ground” roles to meet adversity and find ways to become more
valuable to clients. That ability to rise to the occasion and work as a
team is what sets our Partner Platform clients apart.
Some of the meaningful changes we witnessed among
the Partner Platform client base included:
Commitment to Learning
We saw an openness and willingness to learn at all
levels, including owners. Those working directly with clients, like CSRs
and producers, attended more of our Partner Platform webinars, eager to improve
how they respond to clients. Owners leaned into how to understand the
health of their agency better. And more agencies praised the simplicity of
the Partner Platform dashboards, helping them access key client information as
soon as they log in.
As the stay-at-home orders began to lengthen, we
saw our agency
customer portals, agency-branded
mobile apps, and agency
website design services more rapidly adopted. Agencies were concerned
about how to strengthen the client relationship during this time of distance,
but these features quickly eliminated that fear. Our agencies now had multiple
ways to serve clients with information affordably.
Everything from auto ID cards to certificates and
policy information was easy for clients to access and understand. We heard
from our clients that the insured appreciated the convenience, and these tools caused
clients to view their agency as progressive and personal – a nice
With cloud access, agencies seamlessly moved from in-office
to at-home work without interrupting service. However, some agencies using
in-house systems or even terminal services (sometimes called VPN) found
themselves scattered as they needed to transition to an at-home system.
Too often, they ended up with cloud access that was slow, clunky, and too
disconnected from their main desktop, causing productivity issues. For
agencies like our Partner Platform clients, having a reliable cloud-based
system in place made the transition less stressful and more efficient.
Overall, amidst an unknown crisis, the independent
agent channel rose to the occasion. While there’s still work to do, those
who criticize the independent agent channel for their inability to adapt should
slow down and pay attention.
We’re proud of all our Partner Platform agencies for
taking care of their clients and team during such a challenging period.
Keep up the great work – and we look forward to how we can tackle the
challenges and opportunities of the future.
On a global scale, 2020 has been extremely challenging. The crises of this year have impacted each of us at a personal level. Whether it’s the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, an unstable economy, or divisive politics, we all had to sort our way through this year in unique circumstances. But we have all gotten through it – thanks to enduring support.
We at SIS are proud to serve agencies with our specialized
independent agency insurance system, Partner Platform. Our decision to
serve local, independent agencies was intentional and continues to be a
defining factor in who we are today. Our Partner Platform system and community,
like the independent agencies we serve, grew out of a need for local engagement
and community support.
This November, we’re in a particularly thankful mood as
we reflect on the ways our Partner Platform community and system have grown
this year. SIS
President Michael Doran shares his thoughts on what our agencies and
we have done to create the best agency management system experience this year
and for years to come.
Next in our series on what’s behind our Partner Platform insurance agency software community is the management and operations consulting group, Eisenhart Consulting Group. For over ten years, we’ve been lucky to work with owner Mary Belka and her team.
Mary Belka, CEO and founder of Eisenhart Consulting Group, has been part of the Partner Allies team for more than a decade. When she was first introduced to the Partner Platform system, she was impressed by the hands-on, personalized service the Partner Platform team provided to one of her clients. Since then, a mutual dedication to personalized service has made Partner Platform and Eisenhart Consulting the perfect team for our independent agency clients.
I spoke with Mary to talk about how she came to meet the Partner team, the unique and transformational service she brings to Partner agencies, and how she prepares agencies for the future.
We strive to provide the best insurance agency software to our Partner Platform agencies, but we don’t have all the answers on our own. That’s where our trusted technology partners, our Partner Allies, come in. In this series, we get to know more about our industry partners and how they bring innovation and expertise to the Partner Platform system.
Based in Nokomis, FL, Lightspeed Voice® is a VoIP, cloud-based IP telephone provider founded in 2009 to provide the insurance industry with reliable VoIP and client relationship management (CRM) solutions.
Lightspeed differentiates through high-touch and high-service, which aligns nicely with Partner Platform’s approach – and is also true for the way our independent agency clients sell. Both Partner Platform and Lightspeed strive to be hands-on, building relationships with clients just as our independent agents do with their customers.
I talked with Lightspeed’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Steve Mohr, about the partnership.
Have you properly equipped your insurance website for sales? Almost three-quarters of insurance shoppers go online to do research and obtain quotes, so you need a quality website to attract those sales.
This shift to online prompted our Partner Platform team to think more about agency websites and how to optimize them for sales and service. We now work with agencies to help them create a custom site to grow their business after seeing several common mistakes. Here are some of the ways we saw agency websites missing the mark – and how we helped them correct their missteps.