Improving Workflow Management for Your Independent Insurance Agency

Improving Workflow Management for Your Independent Insurance Agency

Looking for the solution to your workflow management woes? We’ve got the answers. Follow these three simple steps to help your agency run better, faster, and smarter.

Audit your workflows

No matter the “it,” the ways it’s always been done isn’t necessarily the best way. Take a look at your current workflow practices and ask: “is this the best way?”. Pay attention to tasks you perform the most, such as:

  • Data entry
  • Certificate creation and distribution
  • Document storage and organization
  • Service call recording

Once you’re audited your workflows, train your staff to use the most efficient paths

Utilize time-saving tools

As you audit your workflows, see if you’re using the operative time-saving tools available to your management system. Essential elements include:

  • Carrier downloads for daily, automatic updates to both personal and commercial policy information
  • Integrated systems like accounting and email syncing, saving you from entering data twice or forgetting to add important information to your management system
  • Customer portals allowing insured to access and update their policy information in real-time, saving you form acting as the middle-man

Read more on the benefits of a customer portal from IDR, ACT and AUGIE’s digital technology campaign

Establish workflows for each role and employee

One size does not fit all with workflows. Common tasks and best ways to access information vary by role and employee. Producers want to view and edit prospect profiles and track engagement. CSRs look for the fastest way to access current customer information and policy updates. Both have specific, but different, workflow needs.

Similarly, each employee has a different way of using your agency management system to get the same information. Here’s where personalized workflows come in. Elements like custom dashboard and tracking views and multiple paths for common actions give your staff the freedom to optimize their personal workflows. This simple bit of freedom helps your team work happier and better.

BONUS: Lean on your management system provider

No one knows more about your management system than your provider.

We provide both online and in-person targeted training and work side-by-side with our clients to make enhancements and updates to the Partner XE agency management system. And we connect our user community through Regional Learnings, encouraging agencies to share tips and tricks on how they maximize Partner XE in their agency.

If you’re not part of the PXE community, contact us to find out more and get connected. You can reach an SIS sales representative at [email protected] or 800.747.7005, Option 6.

The Secret to Insurance Customer Retention

The Secret to Insurance Customer Retention

Giving Customers What they Want

What do your customers want? The answer can seem a mystery. It can be frustratingly difficult to decipher this key to insurance customer retention.

But – it’s not as hard as you think. The secret to retention is this: build trust, establish ease of business, and maintain competitive rates for the markets you serve.

Establishing ease of business and determining rates are relatively easy for agencies to control. But trust is a whole different animal. Trust is built through a relationship, which requires communication and connection.

Building and Maintaining Trust

The best (and only) way you can gain your customer’s trust is through frequent (but not too frequent) interaction. These interactions are called “impressions.”

Impressions can be anything from a renewal reminder email to a personal phone call following up on an issue. The nature of the impression matters less than its quality and value added to the customer’s experience.

Gain more customer retention tactics here

Making an Impression: the How and What

First, the “how.” How are you going to connect with your customers?

There are a variety of ways to reach out to customers: email, text, through a customer portal, and face-to-face to name a few. Before deciding the content of your impressions, figure out your customers’ preferred contact methods.

Chances are there will be a variety. Once you decide your impression content, you can match each impression with a different contact method. Pay attention to response rate and continue mixing and matching till you find a good fit.

Next, the “what.” What will be the content of each impression?

Impression can be something as direct as “Happy Birthday!” note or as broad as an eNewsletter. Below are some frequently used customer outreach tactics:

  • Celebratory messaging recognizing holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries
  • Announcements or reminders of useful technology or services (i.e. mobile access and customer portals)
  • Invitations to community events, such as games of sports teams you sponsor or service days you organize

See how harnessing the power of community can engage and retain customers

  • E-newsletters curating blog posts and relevant agency happenings
  • Renewal reminders, checking in 60-90 days before a customer’s policy is set to renew and assessing need for any changes or updates

Getting Help

Some aspects of building and maintaining customer trust may come naturally – reaching out and providing good service are part of the job. But, planning and creating engaging content may be more of a struggle. That’s where the SIS marketing arm, Agency Marketing Partners, comes in handy. We partner with NuGrowth Digital to provide industry-specific marketing tips and tools to agencies looking to improve their marketing.

You can also check out our other marketing resources at https://sispartnerplatform.com/category/marketing/.

Want to know more about the service and support SIS provides? You can contact us with questions and set up a time to talk about how SIS and Partner XE can help your agency grow at sispartnerplatform.com/contact-us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Top 5 Insurance Blogs to Follow

Top 5 Insurance Blogs to Follow

Finding the Right Insurance Blog for Your Agency

As an independent insurance agency owner, you’re always looking for ways to improve operations. Whether it’s a tweak in procedures, adding infrastructure, or a workflow overhaul, these adjustments can help you do more, better.

Written by those in the business, insurance blogs share hands-on experiences, best practices, and other helpful advice.

But, it can be a challenge to find a blog that speaks best to your management style and unique agency needs. Never fear: we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular agency blogs covering a variety of topics and styles to help you find the right fit for you.

See even more top insurance agency websites here

Top 5 Blogs to Follow

Though the SIS blog is top of our list, here are some other great sources for tips and tools to improve agency operations:

1. ITC: Insurance Technologies Corporation: A blog for the tech-savvy, tech-phobic, and anything in-between. It covers relevant technology in the industry and how to keep your agency protected from the threats that come with it.

2. Mega Agency Marketing: This blog focuses on marketing in the industry. It’s full of ideas, ready-made marketing plans, and practical suggestions to get you started in marketing or beef up your current practices.

3. PropertyCasualty360 blogs: A catch-all for industry news, these blogs have stories on various topics from tech tips to governmental policy changes. A go-to for keeping your agency up to date on how to stay relevant and protected.

Read more about the power of tapping into the insurance community here

4. Agency Checklists: This Massachusetts-based blog keeps agencies up-to-date on the ever-changing regulations in the industry.

5. Terms & Conditions: Perfect for understanding the fine print in insurance. Written for insiders and laypersons alike, Terms & Conditions reports on everything: property and casualty, cyber protection, home and auto—you name it, it’s covered.

Keep the Conversation Going

By reading industry blogs, you’re tapping into an on-going conversation within the insurance community. You can keep that conversation going by replying back and engaging with your fellow agency owners. We encourage this conversation within our Partner XE user community. The best ideas and most impactful improvements come out of our connection with our partner agencies and their interactions with each other.

You can join the conversation. Contact us at [email protected] to set up a time to talk with one of our staff. We’d love to hear from you!

Minimizing Agency Cyber Risks

Minimizing Agency Cyber Risks

Your customers are your #1 asset. Without them, you have no business! So, you want to have a positive relationship with each of them. A big part of that is building trust, especially when it comes to keeping their information secure.

Are you ready to take on that responsibility? Only if you can say your agency is protected from cyber risk. A protected agency can make the following statements to their customers. Can you?

“Our agency data is monitored 24/7.”

If you’re utilizing an offsite, cloud-based data storage system, your data is protected round the clock.

See even more reasons to house your data offsite

“We can securely receive sensitive customer information.”

Multi-character password-protected email encryption keeps sensitive data safe.

“Our agency data is backed-up regularly.”

Cloud services also provide consistent redundant back-ups, ensuring your agency’s data is doubly safe.

Hear from industry experts on why cyber security matters and how to protect your agency

“We have an agency plan to combat cyber-attacks.”

Every agency should have a plan in place. Know where your data is stored, how to access it during an attack, and your recovery process.

“Our agency has data security measures in place.”

Employ agency regulations around data safety, including strong passwords, control over application downloads, and limited access to sensitive data.

Let them know how you’re storing data, the measures you’re taking to keep it safe, and notify them immediately in the unlikely event of a data breach.

Connection and transparency is a big part of what we do at SIS. We keep our clients informed and maintain open communication about how their data stays safe with Partner XE’s secure infrastructure.

You can find out more about how Partner XE keeps agency data safe on our website. Or, get in touch with us at [email protected] or 800.747.7005, Option 6.

Predicting Customer Behavior with Your Agency Management System

Predicting Customer Behavior with Your Agency Management System

What if you could predict the future? What would you do with what you know?

Well, in a way you can… for your agency.

It’s been said the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. With customer insurance data analysis, you can look at how your insured have behaved and use that information to grow your client base. But you need to be careful. Spotty data leads to inaccurate readings and bad predictions.

Tracking Customer Data

Chances are you already have access to all the customer information you need; it’s just a matter of intentionally tracking it. Utilize your agency management system to strategically capture:

  • Customer engagement: how often you interact with your customers and how they engage with your marketing efforts. Your management system’s notes feature and email integration are handy here.

Get more tips on how to improve your agency’s marketing here

  • Referrals: know where referrals come from (online, in person, via a specific marketing campaign) and when they happen. Paying attention to cycles of when more referrals come in helps you capitalize on opportunity.
  • Policy renewal dates: too many agencies lose customers simply because they weren’t paying attention. Know when your customer’s policies are up for renewal and give them some extra communication and support to guarantee they stay. Do the same for prospects, tracking when their policies are up and reaching out at just the right time.
  • Customer milestone dates: add birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates to your customer profiles. Set reminders and send a celebratory email or card. This small gesture helps build your connection.
  • Premium/commission amount: getting a read on customer premium or commission amounts helps you prioritize your development approaches. It doesn’t mean paying attention to some customers while ignoring others, but instead aids in putting the right amount of resources into each customer connection.

Keeping Data Clean

After you set a plan in place to deliberately capture customer information, you’ll need to ensure the data you’re working with is clean. Follow these tips to keep your customer info up to date and accurate:

  • Keep daily policy and commission information accurate and correctly matched with daily policy downloads
  • Stay on top of manually entered/non-downloadable policies
  • Ensure cancelled and rewritten policies are adjusted to reflect the correct transaction type, ensuring New Business reports are accurate

Read more on why it’s important to be strategic about your data entry

  • Set up regular data checkups, going through your data in chunks and cleaning up any issues

Reporting on Customer Data

Once you have your customer data tracked and clean, you can use it to generate reports. These reports are your key to planning an effective marketing and retention strategy for your agency.

Your agency management system should have standard and customizable ways to report on your agency data. If you’re not familiar with your reporting features, now is the time to learn!

At a recent Partner XE training, we covered this important topic, helping our agency partners understand how to pull data to best serve their individual agency. You can check out more of our training offerings on our website or get in touch to see how SIS and Partner XE can serve your agency’s needs.