Sunning Your Summer in Security

Sunning Your Summer in Security

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 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 sales@sisware.com or 800.747.7005, Option 6.

Read This Post or Lose Your Customers

Read This Post or Lose Your Customers

What makes quality customer service? Really, it’s not for you to say – it’s for your customers to define. Your customers have grown used to certain levels of service, and those expectations affect what they look for in their insurance agency support. And they’ll leave if they don’t see it.

“The way we’ve always done it” doesn’t work anymore. Legacy systems, siloed departments, and years-old processes lead to slow service and irritated customers. In a recent survey, more than 60% of P&C insurers revealed they still relied on these old processes and systems. Outdated technology leads to inefficient processes, which translate to lousy service.

How can your agency avoid falling into this service slow-down trap?

Know What Customers Want

Step one to meeting customer expectations is knowing what they want. According to our research, insurance customers look for:

  • Mobile website access: A 2016 Accenture study showed 41% of respondents used a mobile device to make their insurance purchase – a number that is likely much higher now.
  • Online portals: A recent Microsoft survey found 90% of respondents expected their provider to have an online portal and mobile access to it.
  • Mobile app: A D. Power and Associates study found 74% of agencies surveyed offer an app for customers to manage policies and process claims via mobile.
  • AI insights: An Accenture study found almost three-quarters of customers are “very or somewhat willing” to get insurance advice and answers from a computer-generated platform.
  • Results from shared data: The same Accenture survey revealed 57% of respondents recognize the importance of sharing their data with insurers and are willing to do so in exchange for “added benefits” like personalized offers and discounts.
  • Single point contact: Your customers value speed, but they also value consistency. A McKinsey survey showed when agencies moved customers to have a single point of contact, satisfaction increased by 50% and follow-ups decreased by more than 80%.

Discover the key to high customer satisfaction on our blog

Decide What Tech is Worth the Investment

There are dozens of tech solutions out there to meet the above customer needs, but that doesn’t mean they are all right for your agency. Start by deciding what tools you need (i.e., customer portal, CRM, marketing automation) and then look at specific systems. When looking, be sure to:

  • Check with your management system user group to get advice and hear experiences
  • Ensure new tools are compatible with your current systems
  • Asses time savings and efficiency improvements as well as cost savings
  • Ask about training and support provided
  • Go for tools and systems with dynamic updates so you don’t need to buy the latest version year after year

Gain more insights on choosing the right tech for your agency here

Get All Your Insurance Support Needs in One Place

If you need a mobile app, we got that. Want a customer portal? We got that, too. CRM? Marketing automation? Mobile website templates? Yes, yes, and yes.

You can get all the insurance customer support tech you want, and the superior service you need to back it up, with the Partner Platform from SIS. With your management system, marketing, sales outreach, and customer support all in one pace, Partner Platform provides the unifying communications required to meet customer needs.

With Partner Platform, you’ll also get our new Partner Connect customer communication tool. Partner Connect ensures customers are being heard and supplied with the tools they want to connect with you.

Find out more about this innovative insurance customer support tool and the team behind it. Contact us at 800.747.7005, Option 6 or sales@sisware.com.

Are You Leveraging the Best Agency Software?

Are You Leveraging the Best Agency Software?

As a small business with tight margins, independent insurance agents are smart to be wary of insurance software trends. New software requires investment – of both money and time – and agency owners want to be sure these investments pay off.

We’ve got our ear to the ground when it comes to agency “here and gone” versus “here to stay” trends. These are six trends-turned traits to add to your agency ASAP.

  1. Self-Service Portals

With the ability to offer electronic payments, printable ID cards, and contact information updates, a self-service portal is a must in the digital age. Customers will expect you to have an agency-branded portal to help them take care of business immediately, day or night, without waiting on your agency to take action.

  1. Mobile Apps (for you and your customers)

A recent Agency Revolution poll showed 84% of customers said they don’t want a phone call from their agent with questions – they want an app to connect. You need an outward facing app for your customers to upload claim information and get the answers they need on the go. The same is true for your agents. An app synced with your agency management system provides instant access to critical information while they’re out in the field.

  1. eSignature Integration

As printers become more scarce, esigning is becoming more popular. Your agency should have esignature integration built into your policy process to speed up purchase and quicken claims resolution, among other actions. And, esignatures provide an added level of security in an age where cyber threats loom.

Read more on data security and your agency on the SIS blog

  1. Integrated CRM

An integrated Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) provides your agents the organization they need for better prospecting. With an integrated CRM, you can leverage your agency management system constituents for cross-selling, referrals, and more. Set up outreach campaigns for audience groups and create targeted messaging to increase your reach and response.

  1. Marketing Automation

Integrated marketing automation helps you stay on top of connecting with customers and prospects in an era where the onus for outreach is on you. Set up pre-generated emails to welcome customers, remind on renewals, and celebrate special occasions (i.e., birthdays, holidays). Automation helps you keep up regular engagement to welcome new leads, nurture current prospects, and retain customers simultaneously.

Learn more about marketing automation and how it fosters omnichannel outreach here

An All-in-One Agency Management Software Solution

We’re up on insurance software trends here at SIS thanks to constant feedback from our partner agencies. Each and every Partner Platform update is informed by client needs and expert research. See the full list of Partner Platform capabilities here, and experience them in person when you request a demo today.

Syncing Your Sales: Integrated Systems for Insurance Prospecting

Syncing Your Sales: Integrated Systems for Insurance Prospecting

Insurance prospecting can be intimidating, even for the most seasoned professionals in the industry. Finding prospects can seem a daunting task, much less making the sale and moving them to customer. But, with the right tools and perseverance, insurance prospecting is not as impossible as it seems.

Tool #1: Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

You’ve heard CRM thrown around a lot – but what exactly is it? A CRM is a tool that allows you to track leads, prospects, and current customers, reviewing and adding information to see where they are in your sales cycle. Think of it as the modern day little black notebook full of relevant data to help you nurture leads, keep track of customer needs, and stay organized in your sales process.

CRMs are essential information hubs. They store contact information, meeting details, follow-up attempts, and even website visits and interactions for each constituent. All that data in one place gives you an accurate picture of where you stand not only with each customer or prospect but overall as an agency.

Tool #2: Integrated Communication Tools

What you say and how often you interact with prospects and customers is a critical piece of the sales cycle, yet it’s almost impossible to remember to note each interaction. That’s where integrated texting and email come into play. These synched up communication tools make it easy to feed your customer and prospect interactions right into your CRM, so you never miss an entry.

Find out more about Partner Platform’s email integration and integrated texting offerings

Tool #3: Social Media Scheduler

Regular action on social media is now a required part of your insurance prospecting. Customers and prospects alike will look to your social presence to get a feel for your agency and to see what others think of you. You need to post regularly to steer the conversation. Frequent posting also shows you’re active and engaged and brings you top of mind to those searching for a provider.

A social media scheduler can help you keep up with regular posts by allowing you to simultaneously post to multiple platforms at once. And, true to its name, a social scheduler lets you plan ahead and schedule posts for weeks and months in the future. That means you won’t need to take time every day to remember to post but can dedicate a time to schedule ahead and avoid the interruptions.

Tool #4: Marketing Automation

Marketing automation brings social and other communication scheduling together in one system. With its email features, you can schedule regular e-newsletters, birthday and holiday greetings, and renewal reminders to customers. You can also set up customized prospect outreach messaging to send at different intervals, including an automated first message sent to those requesting a quote or filling out other forms.

For social media, marketing automation tools can schedule messaging and track data like shares, likes, and comments. Plus, messaging can be tailored by audience and synched up with your email communications for an all-in-one outreach messaging and tracking hub.

See how Partner Platform’s Marketing Automation Manager can help your agency improve prospect outreach and customer retention

Tool #5: An Integrated Insurance Management Platform Experience

While each of the insurance prospecting tools above can boost your sales, together they can exponentially improve your outreach and client retention. That’s why we created an all-in-one integrated prospecting experience with our Partner Platform.

The cloud-based comprehensive system includes our Marketing Automation Manager, which creates customizable, automated workflows and mass campaigns for client and prospect communication, and our Producer Results Manager for a complete customer relationship management solution to convert prospects into lasting clients. That’s a winning combination you can’t beat, and just part of what the Partner Platform has to offer your agency. See more Partner Platform capabilities and view a demo to see how the Partner Platform can change the direction of your agency.

Data Security and Your Agency

Data Security and Your Agency

We’re living in a digital world. It’s estimated that by 2040, 95 percent of purchases will be via online methods. And with good reason – digital purchasing is faster, more efficient, and less expensive for both merchant and buyer. But there is still a part of digital business that looms: cyber-attacks on your insurance agency systems.

It’s reported that by 2018 nearly 70 percent of businesses experienced a cyber-attack. Even scarier, a Nationwide survey showed only 9 percent of companies said they were victims of an attack when in fact, after seeing a list of harmful activity, at least 50 percent had experienced one. Chances are those businesses didn’t know how to prevent an attack, either.

Get more detailed info on protecting your agency in our Cyber Security and Data Protection eGuide

Knowing the Threats

The first step to protecting your agency and its data is knowing what threats are out there. The most common threats are:

  1. Viruses infecting systems and destroying data
  2. Hackers breaking into systems and stealing personal data
  3. Employees leaving systems open for passersby to see and steal info

Unfortunately, the last threat is more common than you may think. IBM and Ponemon’s Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Study showed 27 percent of data attacks were due to human error while 25 percent were a system glitch. That’s over half of cyber weaknesses falling squarely in the laps of the victims.

Read more on how to keep your agency safe from cybersecurity experts in the industry

Implementing Insurance Agency System Solutions

The good news is you have control over these vulnerabilities. You can decrease your likelihood of attack through a few simple agency system solutions:

  • Limit access to sensitive data
  • Require multi-character encrypted passwords that change regularly to access data
  • Conduct background checks on employees who access sensitive information
  • Educate employees on best practices, such as only accessing data on private networks
  • House data on a secure, off-site server with redundant back-up and outsourced security monitoring
  • Regularly test your security systems, including drills for employees
  • Purchase liability insurance for your agency in case of unpreventable threats

Read the Top 4 Reasons to House Your Insurance Data Offsite on our blog

Finding a Partner You Can Trust

At SIS, we always have security top of mind. Every Partner Platform upgrade is coupled with security testing, ensuring we’re handing our Partner agencies a safe, secure, effective tool. And we leverage state-of-the-art technology to hold customer data in facilities with geographic redundancy, data encryption, and backups compliant with industry and government standards.

We work hard to earn and keep our Partner agencies’ trust. See what they have to say about our security and service: check out our Client Stories page to find out more.

Insurance Management System Musts: Integrated Text Messaging

Insurance Management System Musts: Integrated Text Messaging

Close to 90% of people say they always have their smartphone close. That’s 90% of people who can read and respond to anything sent to their phone almost immediately. With that sort of accessibility, integrated texting is a critical insurance management system tool. Texting is a great way to get short, important messaging to your agency’s prospects and clients, providing the convenient communication they desire.

Texting and Your Agency: Efficiency and Safety

Texting is not only fast, it’s also effective: texting open rates are around 98% while email is still hovering around less than 25%. With texting, you can schedule messaging knowing the recipient will almost certainly read it.

Dive deeper into texting and your agency with our post on texting best practices

Beyond its speed and efficiency, texting can also be a great addition to your E&O toolbelt. Integrated texting allows you to capture everything you sent in your agency management system, attaching it to client and prospect profiles as needed. This allows you to have a permanent record of your conversation instantly.

And, texting is a lifesaver when it comes to claims management. Texting allows clients to take photos and send information the moment an accident happens, making the information that much more reliable. In many cases, texting is even better than opening an app as it requires no sign-in and it’s a process the client knows well.

Get best practices on all agency communications on the SIS blog

Texting and the Partner Platform

At SIS, we’ve worked with our customers to provide all the efficiencies they need while remaining E&O complaint. That’s why we added integrated texting to the Partner Platform.

Texting is integrated directly so our Partner agencies can send messages right through the system and replies will be captured and paired with prospect and client profiles. And, it’s easy for clients to opt-out per texting regulations. It’s just another way Partner Platform helps your agency get more done, better.

Learn more about our integrated texting, and other Partner Platform features: contact us today to view a demo and see how Partner Platform can transform your agency.