Summertime is a season of slowing down: school is out, vacations are on, and many industries experience a lull in customer activity. That makes summer the perfect time to reassess your insurance agency management.
But our agency is doing fine. Why would we reevaluate our processes?
Your answer is right there: you’re doing “fine.” “Fine” is not going to help you compete with the threat of direct writers and tech-savvy companies like Lemonade, Geico, and The General. These competitors will find your efficiency flaws and exploit them to win business over you.
All too often I hear:
“We’re too busy to implement change.”
“Our staff doesn’t have the time.”
“Our staff is comfortable with the way they do things. They’ve always done them that way.”
Check out 4 easy steps that will also help you improve agency operations
These defenses lead to agencies falling behind. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. There are better ways to get work done and service clients. For example, carriers improve their agency services frequently. They provide updates to their agent portals, adding policies or lines of business for download, and offering new services like commercial lines rating. Agencies need to take advantage of these new technologies to stay competitive and offer the best experience for their clients.
Okay, you convinced me. So, how do we go about updating our processes and technology usage? What do we look for?
There are a few key areas and items to pay attention to during your annual agency review. Focus on the following questions:
What are our agency management system’s capabilities? Are we maximizing use?
Chances are, you’re not using your system to its full capacity. Look closely at your capabilities and focus on one or two you’re not utilizing. Reach out to your provider to get a refresher and integrate these capabilities into your daily operations.
What are our overall system fees? Are they going up? Staying the same?
Some providers will increase your fees annually, including charging for functions that should be standard. Pay attention to whether these increases are worth it for your agency. If not, it’s time to start looking for something new.
See the recipe for getting the most out of your management system
Are we downloading policies available from our carriers?
Commercial and personal lines downloads are one of the top time-saving practices for independent insurance agencies. If you are using downloads, check that you’re downloading all you can. The IVANS exchange offers a Connections Report to confirm you’re receiving all the downloads your carriers offer.
Do we utilize a comparative rater? Are we using it enough to justify the cost?
Comparative raters are another great time-saving tool. But, many agencies are paying a lot for a rater they rarely use. A good solution is using a rater that integrates with your management system. When everything is in one place, you’re much more likely to use it and reap the benefits.
Read how the Partner XE user Community fosters discussion on improving management system operations at our Regional Learnings
Are each of our staff using our management system efficiently? Have they adapted their workflows as our system is updated?
Too often individuals will continue doing their work in the same old way after a system update. They’ll ignore upgrades and enhancements because they’re not comfortable using them. Get staff connected with online training or schedule in-person sessions through your provider. Sometimes it takes a little push to adjust routines, and once your staff is confident in utilizing capabilities they’ll put them to use.
Wow – that seems like a lot of work. Is there anyone I can work with to make these changes?
Yes! Engage your staff in identifying and implementing these operational updates. Your agency management system provider should also act as a partner. They can help you fully utilize your system and expose you to relevant tools for improving operations.
At SIS, we use tools like monthly webinars, online QuickGuides and hands-on Regional Learnings to stay engaged with our partner agencies. Our conversations with Partner XE users not only help agencies better utilize the system, they help us improve functionality and workflows.
You can find out more about Partner XE’s functionality and how we partner with our clients by contacting us at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you and targeting how we can help your agency better serve your community.