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.

Marketing Automation: Your Key to Omnichannel Insurance Sales

Marketing Automation: Your Key to Omnichannel Insurance Sales

One communication channel is no longer enough to get your message out for insurance agency marketing. Different generations of customers respond to different things, each prospect uses some but not all available communication modes, and technology is evolving at a rapid pace. That’s why 87 percent of retailers recognize an “omnichannel” approach as vital to their marketing success.

Omnichannel means reaching out via multiple communication channels at once (i.e., phone, email, and social media). It’s a lot to take on. In fact, a recent report showed more than 21 percent of insurance agents acknowledged they need to “stay in front of their network” with marketing, but they simply didn’t have enough time.

What’s the answer to too much tech and too little time? Marketing automation. Below are four ways your independent insurance agency can leverage automation to reach wider, engage better, and still make it home in time for dinner.

The first step to marketing is establishing your brand. See what four questions to ask to define your agency brand

1) Social Media

Social media is multi-channeled in itself. Your customers and prospects may use one form or social media and shun another, while a different segment does the opposite. To keep all parties engaged, you can schedule posts via social media marketing automation. The key is to post enough to stay top of mind, but not too much that you’re spamming customers’ feeds.

When posting manually, insurers too often forget to post for a while and try to make up for it with a post-storm all at once. This method is ineffective and possibly damaging if followers get annoyed and walk away. According to a recent Forbes article, posting once or twice daily on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn is sufficient. Twitter moves at a faster pace, so up to 30 well spread out Tweets per day is okay.

Remembering to post even once a day on your personal social media seems impossible, hence why scheduling posts via marketing automation is a life-saver. Pick a time at the start of the week or month to schedule out postings in one block. Be sure to review them again as posting day gets closer, and make space to follow up at least once a week on any messages or replies. These small but consistent conversations help you bring in leads, endear customers, and boost your brand presence.

Make sure your website is as on-point as your outreach – see how to make your agency website a sales and service resource

2) Email

At this point, email is the most seasoned form of customer outreach. Since it’s been around the longest, email has seen multiple iterations. A one-size-fits-all email blast is no longer acceptable. The key to email engagement is audience segmentation and customized messaging. Recipients now expect each message they receive to speak to their interests, their place in the buying process, and other personal preferences. You’ll need to create multiple email templates to answer each of these expectations.

Another part of email communication is setting an effective cadence. Sending emails too close together can turn a prospect off while spacing them out can mean losing the sale to another agency. Cadence will vary by prospect or customer, most notably around their place in the buying journey.

Email analytics through marketing automation are a huge asset. The data you gain shows you what’s working and what’s not. These analytics are critical in helping you determine the best messaging and cadence.  Such information is pivotal to shaping a successful email marketing campaign.

Hit all generations with your marketing – read about how to market to different generations

3) Texting

Automated texts are similar to email messages but shorter and more direct. Texts serve more as reminders or small nudges to move prospects along in the buyer journey. For example, you could schedule texts to be sent to customers reminding them it’s time to renew their policy. Or, you can set up a cue to text prospects who have asked for a quote but haven’t taken any action within a week.

The beauty of text is it’s more direct than social or email. You can almost guarantee the person will see the message since it’s sent right to their phone. But, this directness can be a danger as well. Too many texts or texting too soon into the buyer’s journey can turn prospects away. Reserve texting for hot leads and current customers only, and use it sparingly.

Before you text, check out these dos and don’ts on texting for your insurance agency

 

 

4) Human interaction

Texts, emails, and social posts work to keep your agency top of mind, but your personal connection with customers is what keeps them coming back. Utilize marketing automation to nudge you to take action. Add reminders in as part of your various automation campaigns, ensuring you’re firing on all cylinders.

Such connections can be a phone call, a personal email, or an offer to grab coffee or lunch. Though marketing automation can do a lot to keep your pipeline moving, facetime is invaluable. It’s these in-person interactions that customers remember and share, furthering your reach and solidifying your agency’s good reputation.

Hear from SIS partner agencies on how Partner Platform helped them connect more, and better

Find What Works for Your Agency

One of the most significant benefits of marketing automation is its customization – all content and messaging can be crafted to your agency brand and your words, coming from your social media profiles and email. That human element is what makes it meaningful and engaging to prospects and customers.

At SIS, that personal engagement is what drives us. We engage on an individual level with each of our partner agencies and actively reach out to find out how we can help them do more, better. It’s these interactions that prompted us to add our Marketing Automation Manager (MAM) to the Partner Platform. Our MAM system not only provides personalized, branded, marketing content and campaigns, it also integrates fully with our Partner Platform agency management tool for streamlined messaging and data analysis.

Find out more about MAM and Partner Platform’s other capabilities – contact us to schedule a demo at sales@sisware.com or 800.747.7005, Option 6.

Top Agency Management System Tools: Insurance Mobile App

Top Agency Management System Tools: Insurance Mobile App

Having a mobile-enabled agency is critical to future growth and success. J.D. Power and Associates reported that 42% of claimants surveyed used an agency mobile app. That number will only continue to grow. As the independent channel competes with the direct writers of the world, you need this top agency management system tool.

There are two mobile apps you need to stay relevant: an internal app connecting with your agency management system and a client facing app for customers to connect to you.

Internal Mobile App: Connecting Your Team

An internally connected mobile app allows your agency team to access client, policy and claim information anywhere, anytime. That means faster service for your clients, better connection for your staff, and it even serves as back-up should your agency lose power or experience other technical issues.

An agency management system mobile app extension is also an excellent sales tool. Agents can add in notes and update prospect profiles immediately after meeting, And, they can reference game-changing info during sales conversations. Plus, a mobile app serves as a great task list, keeping your sales team on top of follow-ups and other prospect requests.

Check out these other essential tech tools you need to stay up-to-date in your agency

Client Mobile App: Leveling Up Your Customer Service

Mobile access for clients via a branded mobile app is also a must. With a mobile app, your policyholders can access account information all in one place. It’s convenient, efficient, and essential. With a mobile app, your customers should be able to:

  • Search for and download your app right in the app store
  • See your agency name and logo on the app icon and within the app for a fully-branded experience
  • Access important policy and coverage information, ID cards, list of drivers on their policies, and claims information among other relevant documents
  • File a claim or send important information back to the agency via the app
  • Receive updates from you via push notifications for things like inclement weather notices, policy renewals, and billing inquiries

Before going mobile, check out these tips on handling agency technology

Getting the Right App for Your Agency

The first step in getting your agency on mobile is finding an app that fits your needs. No matter which you choose, find one that syncs with your agency management system. The data captured via mobile apps is invaluable to your agency, and you want to ensure it’s going right into your system.

At SIS, we know the power of that data. That’s why we added mobile to our Partner Platform agency management tool. This “always on” cloud-hosted access is convenient, intuitive, and secure, hitting all the boxes for a mobile management system app.

Find out more on our mobile offering and other Partner Platform capabilities at https://sispartnerplatform.com.

Agencies Weigh In: Service Call Centers for Insurance Agency Support

Agencies Weigh In: Service Call Centers for Insurance Agency Support

The idea of call centers may bring up heart rates for some, and bring a feeling of relief to others. This somewhat polarizing insurance agency support method has its pros and cons, which can vary from agency to agency. There is no “one size fits all” call center, and each are certainly not created equal. But no matter what you’ve heard in the past, this customer support solution is worth investigating for any agency.

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