Underwriting Automation: How to Implement this Insurtech System

Underwriting Automation: How to Implement this Insurtech System

Automation plays a significant role in many industries, and insurance is no exception. The rapid innovations of insurtech have thrust data and automation into the forefront of ways to improve and enhance agency operations.

One of the most prominent data automation uses is in the underwriting process. Due to digitized automation processes, agencies are seeing loss ratios decrease and overall premiums increase. According to Willis Towers Watson, over 60% of agencies surveyed say the predictive analytics of automated underwriting have reduced issues and brought down expenses.

Underwriting automation has great value, but the wealth of data and required processing power can be daunting for the average agency. Yet, if your agency can put in place the right processes and people to gain and manage underwriting data, you can see a big change.

Why Invest in Underwriting Automation Insurtech

Data analysis is central to automation, and such advanced analytics can improve customer experience, increase process efficiency, and help inform better decisions in the underwriting process. This tech takes a massive burden off of underwriters who may manually scrub data to validate information before putting forth a policy proposal. With automation, the speed and accuracy of the underwriting process can increase.

Other benefits include making it easier on customers. Predictive analysis through automation can lift the burden of information from potential customers, meaning they will have fewer questions to answer to get their policy quotes. Automation can also improve policy personalization, making it easier for you to provide the most cost-effective quote.

How to Get Started in Underwriting Automation

There are a few “musts” to put in place before your agency can integrate underwriting automation into your processes. Some of those elements include:

  • Hire data-minded individuals and partners to manage data gathering and analysis
  • Understand what data to target (i.e., what do you need to inform commercial, personal line policies?)
  • Employ eforms and other paperless, digitized processes to make data integration easier

Though this list is short, the effort it takes to tackle these areas is significant. It’s your imperative as an agency to ensure you have the right people, processes, and tools in place to employ automated underwriting with fidelity.

What Pitfalls to Watch for When Implementing Automated Underwriting

When introducing any new system or process, there are some common mistakes to watch for during implementation. One of the first is to ensure your management system is up-to-date. By this we mean that your system is able to handle large amounts of data and can easily share data with other insurtech systems. You need the right technology in place before you begin gathering and analyzing large volumes of data.

Another area to pay attention to is who is managing your underwriting data. Whether you’re using an outside partner or have a well-equipped internal team, you need a group of people to take charge of underwriting data processing and analysis. Though your whole staff should be on board to implement this shift in processes, you need a dedicated team to handle the day-to-day work of ensuring data accuracy.

A final focal point is watching out for misclassification of risk. Though automated underwriting processes are quite robust, they rely on human input for some functions. This is why you need a dedicated team to pay attention to your underwriting processes. Small changes like a customer getting a new job, a change in crimes rates in a particular area, or other natural occurrences can drastically change policies. Ensure your team pays attention to these adjustments and enacts them in your underwriting.

Who to Partner with for the Latest in Insurtech

Our Partner Platform team understands that the amount of data analytics needed for underwriting automation is significant, and agencies need the right tools to manage it. Our Partner Platform agency management system suite is designed to handle large volumes of data and easily connect with various insurtech systems.

We work closely with our tech partners to make every step of the underwriting process easier for our Partner Platform agencies, equipping them with the best systems from like-minded partners.

Discover more about our robust Partner Platform agency management system, top-of-the-line integrations, and our Partner Platform community at sispartnerplatform.com.

What You Need to Know About Insurance Agency Marketing

What You Need to Know About Insurance Agency Marketing

A lot has changed over the past few years due to the unexpected disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. All industries felt the impact, and the insurance industry is no exception. One of the most notable disruptions is the speed at which changes took place, especially around customer expectations and marketing.

What Your Agency Needs to Know About Insurance Marketing

Changes in insurance agency marketing that were projected to solidify in 5 to 10 years ended up evolving rapidly in just two. Chances are you’ve already made some of these adjustments to keep up with immediate demand, but there are other more “behind the scenes” adjustments agencies are making that you should note.

1) Know how people find you

Do you know how clients are ending up at your agency? Whether through referrals, phone calls, or other methods, you need to know and understand how to capitalize on those areas.

One of the most prominent channels these days is online searches. Surveys show that almost 70% of consumers run an online search before reaching out to an agency. And, over 65% of insurance consumers did not have a specific agency in mind when they started their search. Queries for terms like “insurance near me” have grown by over 100% in the past two years. Are you poised to show up in the results?

As a result of this uptick in online searches, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely valuable. Pay attention to what’s on your website, focusing on adding specific key search terms throughout your pages for ideal optimization. Paid advertising on search engines like Google and Bing can also boost your visibility but at a cost. Some of these ads cost more than $50 per click, putting them at the high end of search engine advertising.

How your website looks is also a factor. Over 50% of online searches for insurance take place on mobile devices. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you can quickly turn a potential customer away. And, Google includes mobile optimization as part of their algorithm, meaning you can be dinged if you have an incompatible site. Your site should be mobile optimized, easy to navigate and provide a clear way for interested visitors to get in touch.

2) Know how prospects make decisions

As an agency, you need to understand a potential buyer’s thinking when evaluating their insurance options. Price and types of insurance offered remain top of the list as decisive factors, but service quality is becoming more prominent.

To hit on potential customer needs, your agency should offer various ways for customers to get in touch with you. Offer online, text, phone, chat, and in-person options to fit varying consumer preferences. Self-service portals and mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular as a first contact source to get in touch and gather the information prospects need to decide.

Yet, surveys showed 78% of insurance customers called an agency after running a search, and 62% said talking with an insurance rep was the “most influential factor” in making their decision. This shows that your online presence matters, but your human service interactions matter, too.

When Your Service Makes a Difference

Specific turning points in the customer’s journey make a big difference. What you do in those moments can either turn a prospect into a customer or turn a prospect away. Some of those critical moments include:

1) Your response time and quality

The immediacy, accuracy, and overall quality of your response to initial outreach make a big difference in how customers and prospects perceive your agency. Surveys show most callers hang up after waiting about 90 seconds for a response, so you need to ensure you’re connecting with individuals quickly.

Systems like marketing automation are extremely valuable here as they instantly send a response to individuals who email, fill out a contact form, or connect via chat, among other contact methods. To add quality to your responses, connect your marketing automation with your insurance CRM to automatically create follow-up tasks so you can connect on a personal level.

2) Your level of personalization

Along with the rise in demand for immediate, digital service, customers are also asking for more personalization and human connection. Almost 90% of insurance customers surveyed said they demand more personalization from their providers. And, 84% of marketers said phone calls have higher conversion rates than other outreach methods. The personal connection found in a phone call still matters.

You can create opportunities for personalization via digital connections, too. Marketing automation is designed to make emails, social media connections, and other forms of digital outreach as targeted to each individual recipient as possible. The takeaway here is that your agency needs to offer multiple avenues for connection to meet the varying needs of your growing customer base.

Who Can Help Your Agency Stay Nimble

Our Partner Platform team and agency community are committed to understanding growing insurance marketing and service trends. We provide regular webinars, in-person trainings, and an annual user conference as just a few ways to connect and discuss changes in the market.

Plus, our partners in the insurance tech industry help our community stay up-to-date on the latest technology, keeping our Partner Platform agencies well equipped.

Find out more about our Partner Platform community and how to get connected: contact us at sales@sisware.com or 800.747.7005, Option 6.

Source: https://www.invoca.com/blog/insurance-marketing-statistics

Insurance Tech Tips: Read this Before You Text Your Customers

Insurance Tech Tips: Read this Before You Text Your Customers

Texting has quickly become one of the most popular and efficient pieces of insurance tech. Almost 90% of consumers say they’d like to be able to text businesses. It improves communication by making it easier to get in touch and get a response from customers and prospects, streamlining outreach with automation and integration into agency systems. Studies show that 98% of text messages are read, compared to 20-30% of emails and phone calls.

Texting is one of the tools all your team members can use, from producers to CSRs, as it speeds up communications and helps your agency move.

How to Leverage Texting

More than 80% of consumers say they prefer texting with an insurance company for many reasons. Agencies can use texting for:

  • Sending appointment reminders
  • Announcing events and updated
  • Sending weather or other emergency alerts
  • Confirming payment and claims processing
  • Offerings special discounts
  • Submitting claim information
  • Asking for reviews and feedback

One element to remember with announcements, review solicitation, and discount texts is to manage how often you send messages. While all of these notifications are helpful to your customers, you shouldn’t be texting daily and never more than once a day. Just as people don’t like spam email or phone calls, they also don’t like spam texts.

Other Important Texting Tips

Along with managing how often you send texts, there are a few other important areas to consider as part of your texting strategies.

  1. Have users opt-in to receive texts. You’re legally required to either ask customers to sign up or give their permission to be on your texting list. In our experience, it’s best to provide customers with the option and let them sign up on their own. Make it easy for them to do so, offering sign-up at the end of emails, in your customer portal, and at the top of policy statements, among other areas.
  • Include opt-out options and your agency’s name in every message. Again, providing opt-out in each message is a legal requirement in many states. Signing your texts is helpful as many customers won’t have your number saved and could be confused by the message without the context of who sent it.
  • Use the same number for all your texts. Whether you decide to use your agency’s local phone number or a five- or six-digit SMS-only number, stay with the same one, so your messages stay together in your customer’s phones. If your agency serves outside one locality, it’s best to use an SMS-only number to avoid additional charges for texting outside of your area code.
  • Send a confirmation for any text you receive from a customer. These messages can come directly from a live agent or be templated messages. Examples include, “If you need help, contact us at…” or “Thank you for your message! We will respond within 24 hours. Need immediate help? Call us at…”
  • Make all your texts relevant and error-free. No one wants to receive a typo in a text from a business. Pre-determined templates can help reduce errors. Your customers also only want texts that bring value. Texting just “Happy National Coffee Day!” can just be annoying. However, if you add that there is a 50% discount at a local coffee shop for all your customers, the text becomes meaningful and relevant. Save the cute pet photos and holiday wishes for your social media posts.
  •  Know when to take it off text. Texting is very convenient and efficient, but only to a point. If you sense a customer is frustrated, or their question is complex, it’s best to move to a phone call or in-person meeting. Don’t stay on text longer than you need.

Get Started with Texting Today

If you’re looking to add texting to your agency communications offerings, look for a system that integrates with your current tools. The last thing you need is one more new tool to learn and synch with your systems. That’s why we integrated texting right into our Partner Platform agency management system, syncing it with built-in CRM and marketing automation tools as well.

Find out more about our integrated texting and other marketing and communication tools: get in touch at sales@sisware.com or 800.747.7005, Option 6 today.

Getting Social: Dos and Don’ts for Social Media Insurance Agency Marketing

Getting Social: Dos and Don’ts for Social Media Insurance Agency Marketing

Social media marketing is nothing new in the larger marketing industry but may be novel for independent insurance agencies. This tool is something all agencies should include in their insurance agency marketing strategy for several reasons. Social media can help your agency show off your expertise, build trust with customers and prospects, and help you better engage your customer base. For independent agencies, social media is an excellent tool to amplify their valuable local and personal connections with their communities.  

Whether your agency is on social media or not, you’re being discussed in the social media space. Join in that conversation! Get your agency started by following a few simple dos and don’ts in the social media sphere.

Social Media “Dos”

To start, here are a few “must-dos” for your insurance agency’s social media marketing.

  • Get someone who knows what they’re doing or willing to learn. Don’t put your office manager on social media duty if they have no knowledge or interest in the job. Consider social media savvy in your hiring process, finding someone who has a knack for this unique role.
  • Understand what your customers want to see in your social profiles. You can start by looking at other agencies or local businesses to see what content gets the most engagement. Then, ask your customers what topics interest them and go from there.
  • Define your agency’s brand and tone for all your social platforms. Think about your niche offerings and highlight them in your social media branding. And, pay attention to your tone, keeping it consistent across posts and platforms.
  • Prepare all your staff for social media. Regardless of whether they’re doing the posting, everyone on your team needs to understand proper social media etiquette, including what’s appropriate to post and what they should avoid.
  • Create a calendar to help plan your posts ahead of time. Start by planning to have one post a week and expand to three to four times or more as your audience grows and time allows.
  • Make opportunities for people to engage with your content. Ask questions, request photos, or hold contests to get people to comment, like, and share your content with others.
  • Track what’s working, keeping a record of what posts are getting the most clicks and shares. You can use this data to craft better posts for the future.

Social Media “Don’ts”

There are also some common mistakes to avoid when getting your agency on social media

  • Signing up for every platform without researching which works best for your needs. It’s best to start with one or two platforms and expand from there.
  • Posting a lot one day and then taking a break. When you post three times in a row then don’t have anything for a few days, your audience gets confused. Set up a regular cadence for posting and avoid posting more than once a day.
  • Using different account names and pictures for each platform. Strive for consistency, using the same profile icon for each platform and a similar name. It may not be possible to have the same name on each account, but you should try for similar names like “YourLocalAgency” on one and “Your_Local_Agency” on another.
  • Leaving your profile bare. Add as much relevant information as possible to your account profiles, especially your agency name, website, and phone number. The more you can put in your profiles, the easier it is for people to find you and get in touch.
  • Making social media a one-way street where you send out information but never reply. If someone makes a comment or sends you a message, respond! The more you engage, the more people will follow you.
  • Ignoring social media data. The engagement data you collect on social media is quite valuable. It tells you what your customers are interested in, and you can use that information to engage prospects, gain referrals, and solicit reviews from happy customers.

Get the Tech You Need to Capitalize on Social Media Marketing

One of the best ways to leverage social media data is by connecting it with your agency’s CRM system. You can use social media data to understand different customer segments’ interests and adjust your prospecting to meet those needs.

Another great tool is a marketing automation tool that can schedule social media posts, track engagement, and reply to messages and comments. Plus, you can link marketing automation and your CRM for a seamless transition between social media outreach and data analysis.

A final helpful piece of tech is a reputation management tool to help manage your agency reviews. People are leaving reviews about your agency regardless of whether you know it or not, and a reputation management tool can help you stay on top of them. You can track reviews, reply to them, and solicit reviews from current customers, all within one tool. Our Partner Platform agencies use BlueJay Reviews to track their agency reviews seamlessly within their Partner Platform agency management system.

We offer all these tools and more as part of our Partner Platform suite’s Sales and Marketing capabilities. You can learn more about all our Partner Platform solutions on our website. And, get in touch with us to set up a time to talk about your agency’s needs and view a demo today.

Never Let Your Agency Sleep on Digital Insurance Security

Never Let Your Agency Sleep on Digital Insurance Security

Digital insurance options opened up new markets and improved communications for agencies worldwide. However, this growth goes hand-in-hand with the rise in cyberattacks over the past few years.

Recent reports estimated cyberattacks increased between 200% and 300% in 2020 and are doubling again. Similarly, ransoms from cyberattacks are rising by between 50% and 80%, making it a more attractive scheme for cybercriminals.

Labor market changes contribute to increased cyber-vulnerability as well. More people are working remotely, and their home offices may not have the same security measures as their company. Similarly, the recent labor shortage means companies are hiring more people more often and, in their haste to fill positions, may not provide ample cybersecurity training for new hires.

Hacking your systems and gaining a payout is a full-time job for cybercriminals. Your agency needs to stay alert with these measures to ensure your data stays protected.

Know the Threats

One of the best ways to keep your agency data secure is by knowing the different ways cybercriminals can attack. Some of the most common threats include:

  • Malware. This type of threat is embedded in software. Cybercriminals may hack into systems and download malware onto a victim’s device, or they can trick individuals into downloading it themselves. Hackers get malware in your system through email attachments, links, and even through flash drives left for curious individuals to open on their devices.
  • Ransomware. Ransomware is a way that cybercriminals use malware. Essentially, they get malware installed on your system and use it to take your data or system hostage. They may threaten to share private data publicly or keep your system locked unless you pay a fee, often in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.
  • Spyware. With spyware, hackers can access your device and take control of it. They may look at files, access your camera and microphone, or look at your emails. By looking through your information or listening in on conversations, cybercriminals can gain information that will help them access your organization’s data. Spyware is also sent through links, email attachments, or flash drives.
  • Phishing. Phishing is one of the most successful cyberattacks because it uses manipulation to get people to give up information on their own. In a phishing scheme, a hacker sends an email or makes a phone call posing as someone in the organization or another credible person or organization. They then ask for information like bank account numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information. Thinking they are communicating with a reputable individual, employees give up information willingly.
  • SpearPhishing. When a cybercriminal targets a specific employee, the attack is called spear-phishing. With a phishing attack, a message may be more general, but the communications are highly personalized in spear-phishing, making them more successful.

These are just some of the common threats organizations face today. Keep in mind that cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, and these threats can evolve. It’s best to partner with a full-time cybersecurity expert, like our partners at Archway Computer, to keep your agency up-to-date on the latest protective measures.

Train Your Team

Your best line of defense against cyberattacks is your agency team members. Equip them well by training them on the following:

  • What threats to watch for and how to identify them
  • Who to report suspicious activity to and what action (or inaction) to take when they suspect a threat
  • How to safely access your agency servers when they’re working elsewhere (i.e., using a VPN and not connecting to public wi-fi)
  • Who can access sensitive data and why it’s important to limit access to secure information
  • What to do with physical documents containing sensitive data (i.e., scan to a secure location and shred paper copies)
  • What your policies are for accessing data on personal devices and how to keep them secure (ACT has a great guide you can access here)

Another big part of training your team is letting them know common tells of a suspicious email, text, or voicemail message. Some of those tells include:

  • Receiving an unexpected message with an unusual request (i.e., your boss asking for an immediate funds transfer)
  • Demanding immediate action (“Reset your password NOW!”)
  • Getting an unexpected attachment
  • Requesting user name or passwords information

One of the best ways to train your employees is to partner with a cybersecurity training team. At SIS, we use KnowBe4 to keep our team equipped with regular training sessions and check-ins to ensure our staff is alert.

Invest in Tech

Cybercriminals use sophisticated technology to attack your agency, so you need similarly robust tech to defend your data. Some of the most valuable technology you can employ includes:

  • Updated anti-virus protection and malware scanning software
  • Recent hardware and updated internet browsers with the latest security patches
  • Protected VPN for accessing data outside your office
  • Secured document storage via cloud services like OneDrive
  • Updated passwords and multi-factor authentications

At SIS, we recently added multi-factor authentication measures to provide our Partner Platform agency management system with even more security. It’s just one part of the secure tech, training, and partnerships we have to give the best data protection for our Partner Platform agencies.

Partner Platform agencies can read more about our multi-factor authentication on PartnerNet. If your agency is interested in learning about our secure Partner Platform community, you can learn more about our commitment to security here.