How did the COVID-19 pandemic change your insurance agency management?
Most agencies are emerging from pandemic lockdown with their business still healthy – perhaps even healthier for those that benefitted from restrictions that reduced claims. An agency that emerges from such an immediate and drastic change with economic strength speaks to their resilience and preparation.
While financial health is one measurement of the overall business, strategic health is another. Given the challenges over the last year, you likely had meaningful conversations with business partners or significant others about ways to strengthen your independent agency for the long-term. These forward-thinking conversations are a testament to your agency’s longevity.
Some considerations to add to your reflection include:
How well did we adapt to shifting work from the office to home?
- How did the shift affect associate productivity and efficiency?
- How did our client experience change?
- How did the shift impact agency team culture?
What did we learn about client experience and expectations?
- When everything was no longer in person, how did that impact results like retention and new business?
- What new technologies (beyond Zoom) were highlights for supporting clients?
- As we head back to the office, how is the agency operating differently to improve results?
Hear from one of our clients on how they navigated the pandemic transition
Over this past year of transitions, we on the Partner Platform team learned our independent agency clients are adaptable and nimble. We saw many agencies promote leadership at the top of the agency and in key “on the ground” roles to meet adversity and find ways to become more valuable to clients. That ability to rise to the occasion and work as a team is what sets our Partner Platform clients apart.
Some of the meaningful changes we witnessed among the Partner Platform client base included:
Commitment to Learning
We saw an openness and willingness to learn at all levels, including owners. Those working directly with clients, like CSRs and producers, attended more of our Partner Platform webinars, eager to improve how they respond to clients. Owners leaned into how to understand the health of their agency better. And more agencies praised the simplicity of the Partner Platform dashboards, helping them access key client information as soon as they log in.
Learn more about Partner Platform’s customized training and on-going support here
Addition of Digital Service
As the stay-at-home orders began to lengthen, we saw our agency customer portals, agency-branded mobile apps, and agency website design services more rapidly adopted. Agencies were concerned about how to strengthen the client relationship during this time of distance, but these features quickly eliminated that fear. Our agencies now had multiple ways to serve clients with information affordably.
Everything from auto ID cards to certificates and policy information was easy for clients to access and understand. We heard from our clients that the insured appreciated the convenience, and these tools caused clients to view their agency as progressive and personal – a nice combination.
See our complete personalized digital experience offerings here
Valuation of the Cloud
With cloud access, agencies seamlessly moved from in-office to at-home work without interrupting service. However, some agencies using in-house systems or even terminal services (sometimes called VPN) found themselves scattered as they needed to transition to an at-home system. Too often, they ended up with cloud access that was slow, clunky, and too disconnected from their main desktop, causing productivity issues. For agencies like our Partner Platform clients, having a reliable cloud-based system in place made the transition less stressful and more efficient.
See how our secure, cloud-based infrastructure can help your agency maintain productivity and connection at all times
Overall, amidst an unknown crisis, the independent agent channel rose to the occasion. While there’s still work to do, those who criticize the independent agent channel for their inability to adapt should slow down and pay attention.
We’re proud of all our Partner Platform agencies for taking care of their clients and team during such a challenging period. Keep up the great work – and we look forward to how we can tackle the challenges and opportunities of the future.