Over the past year, we’ve delved into the topics most important to our Partner Platform community and all independent insurance agents and owners.. From the top insurance software you need to make it in the digital world to how to pass on your agency, we’ve covered it all. As the year comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of our most popular and impactful posts.
Yes, we’re still talking about why you need to become a
paperless insurance office. Whether it’s saving money, increasing efficiency,
or serving customers better, paperless practices hit them all.
A McKinsey study uncovered two critical digital insurance facts: digital has reduced claims expenses by up to 30% and increased customer satisfaction by more than 20%.
Serving customers better and decreasing cost? That’s music to any owner’s ears. Yet, some are still hesitant to embrace digital methods for fear they’ll make a quintessentially personal interaction impersonal.
Agency owners are right to protect that personalized customer experience: an Accenture study found 1/3rd of customers surveyed ended their relationship with a company because it felt impersonal. However, digital insurance doesn’t have to be impersonal – multiple digital agency features can increase personal interactions and overall improve service.
See how to write custom content for more personalized messaging on our blog
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
- 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.
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”
- 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.
- 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@example.com today.
Growing any business can be difficult, but it’s been especially tough for the insurance industry of late. Studies show the insurance sector’s growth rate is slowing, moving from 12.5% in 2006 to a predicted 3% to 5% seven years later. With such a significant growth decrease, agencies must do all they can to overcome growth obstacles.
What are some of those obstacles, and how can you combat them? We take a look at the common issues facing agencies and the best agency management system capabilities to break down barriers to success.
Challenge #1: Cost-Effective Marketing
Agencies are seeing more marketing competition direct from carries, and less support from the carries themselves in the marketing realm. This raises concern about how to stand out when you’ve got less to spend.
Data is the answer. The more you know about your customers and prospective audience, the better. With more knowledge, you can spend your dollars wisely, targeting audience segments and content with the highest ROI for your agency. Marketing automation and CRM software are essential in helping you collect better data, analyze more effectively, and deliver results faster.
Challenge #2: Industry Tech Advances
There are dozens of new methods and mechanisms in the industry. The key is to focus on those that matter and attack them first. Process digitization should be your first.
By digitizing processes, you can save time and money and deliver better service to your customers. A recent Harvard Business Review study found process digitization can deliver up to a 65% reduction in cost, 90% reduction in process turnaround time, and as much as a 20% increase in conversion rates. Plus, moving to paperless processes means decreased E&O issues.
Great digitization resources include integrated proposal creator, esignatures, and email in your management system. The more you can do without mailing, printing, and faxing, the better.
Are you up with the tech trends for the industry? See if you’re leveraging the best agency software
Challenge #3: Customer Barriers to Entry
Insurance is already a hard sell as it’s not seen as a necessity. Add to that a cumbersome underwriting process, and you’re making it less likely for leads to convert. Again, paperless or digitized processes and integrated systems will alleviate much of that pain.
In addition to paperless and integration, a client portal makes it easier for customers and prospects to do business with your agency. A client-facing portal allows constituents to make changes and get the information they need instantly, making them much more likely to come back again.
Challenge #4: Fear of E&O
Errors and omissions are always on your mind, but even more so with increasing security threats and more stringent industry regulations. You can put these fears at ease with paperless processing of information and integrated systems as well.
By digitizing documents and processes, you can be sure you won’t misplace or be unable to understand documentation. Integrated systems like email and texting help you accurately track customer interactions so you can go back and confirm information easily. Both are designed to keep you and your customers safer.
Challenge #5: Customer Expectations
Tech advances have amped up customer expectations across industries. A Salesforce.com report found more than 70% of customers expect businesses to change their service based on customer interactions. That means you need to understand customer expectations and adjust your services to meet them.
The good news is J.D. Power already did the work for you: a 2018 Auto Insurance Study found customers with the highest auto insurance satisfaction cited access to self-service tools and mobile apps as the top two things that make them happy. Start with these two customer-focused tools and you’ll be on your way to keeping up with expectations.
Dive deeper into what customers really want on our blog
Challenge #6: Lead Generation
You knew you’d find lead generation on this list. It’s the number one issue for most businesses, and insurance is no expectation. The best and most effective tool to increase your leads is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management tool). CRMs are built for lead management and provide you with a host of data to help you target and grow leads more effectively.
One way you can leverage a CRM is to identify your agency’s niche markets. For example, maybe you see you’re providing coverage to multiple emergency vehicle fleets or that you have a knack for serving those with lifelong health conditions like diabetes. Refine your services to meet these niche areas and you’ll find great success in targeted markets.
Gain more insights on Insurance Prospecting as an Independent Agency here
Getting Ahead of Roadblocks with Partner Platform
Our Partner Platform Community is focused on identifying obstacles and working towards solutions to support our agencies. Our most recent Partner Platform additions, Partner Connect and Producer Results Manager, are just a piece of what we have to keep our agencies equipped for whatever comes next.
Hear from the agencies themselves on our client stories page and see for yourself when you view a demo at sispartnerplatform.com.
Agency and insurance management system data security has always been a top priority for us at SIS. We built our Partner Platform agency management system suite with data safety and cybersecurity in mind, and it continues to be a topic we follow.
This past May, agency data security was one of our key topics at our annual Partner National User Conference, where we heard from industry expert Brad Ruben on how to prevent and prepare for security attacks.
One of the reasons we asked Brad to speak is we know security takes teamwork. Though we are confident we’re providing the most secure system to our partner agencies, they are still at risk if they’re not equipping their staff to watch for cyber-attacks.
This summer, we encourage you to take the time to look at your data security measures and re-commit as a staff to protect your customers. Here’s a little advice to get you started.
Get a full re-cap on our National User Conference from SIS President Michael Doran here
Advice from Experts: Equip and Educate
Archway Computer CEO Brad Ruben’s presentation at our National User Conference had quite an impact on attendees. Multiple agency representatives walked away with practical, actionable advice on how they could better manage and protect their data. Highlights from his presentation included:
- There is cause for concern. Over 33,000 phishing attacks and 4,000 successful ransomware attacks occur each day.
- Anti-virus protection is a must. Programs like Webroot and Malware Bytes are essential to keeping you safe.
- Cloud services are the future of security. Data hosting services like Amazon Web Services have 24/7 data surveillance, redundant backups, and multi-character encryption to keep your data safer than you can on your own.
Find out why you should be moving your agency data to the cloud
The most significant takeaway was the emphasis on educating staff on data security. Some of Brad’s tips included:
- Delete suspicious emails. Never click on links from unfamiliar senders. Delete emails from unknown sources and report them to your IT team.
- Password protect sensitive files. When moving files to a USB, sending through email, or saving on a laptop, add password protection to keep them safe.
- Use complex passwords. Employ number, letter, and punctuation combinations, including using different cases for letters. And be sure to use multiple passwords, so you don’t have just one tied to all accounts.
- Don’t install programs you don’t know. Even something as harmless looking as a computer game or unknown anti-virus software can be hiding as malicious programs. Ensure staff consult with IT before installing anything.
SIS Partner Platform agencies can access the full presentation on PartnerNet
Read more ways to minimize agency data security risks
Mandates from States: Staying Up to Standards
Though you should be keeping your agency data safe no matter what, some agencies are legally obligated to do so by their state. States like New York, Ohio, and South Carolina have individual regulations agencies should know.
We keep our standards in line with the strictest state regulations, ensuring Partner Platform is up to standard throughout the U.S. Some of the measures we use include:
- Restricted admin access limiting only a few select persons to accessing data.
- Multi-factor authentication and complex passwords to access restricted data.
- End-to-end data encryption to ensure information is continually protected.
- Safe and swift disposal of nonpublic information the moment it’s no longer needed.
- Redundant back-ups and disaster recovery plan to safeguard against power outages or security breaches.
Discover more on our commitment to data security here
Get the Right Data Security Partner in SIS
We make a commitment to our partner agencies to uphold the highest security standards, ensuring they can trust us with their data. We’re partners in security with our clients, working with and for them to create and support sustainable, secure infrastructure.
Hear what our clients have to say about their experience with Partner Platform and SIS on our Client Stories page.
Want to find out more? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.747.7005, Option 6.