One of the hardest things for insurance brokers to understand is the need to keep up with the times.
In a way, being conservative has served the insurance industry well. There’s less risk involved in sticking with what you know and doing it really, really well.
Technology upgrades can potentially be a huge risk for agencies. If the upgrade works, it’s usually not enough of an improvement to make much of a difference. If the upgrade turns south, however, then all the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the brokerage director — not exactly ideal.
So, most companies never change.
But, it shouldn’t be that way.
Technology is disrupting the industry and giving digital agencies a distinct advantage over the “stuck in their ways” competition. Companies, like Lemonade, have figured out how to combine the insurance and brokerage function into a single entity, and are able to offer property and casualty insurance entirely online, with quick quotes, easy payment options, and customer service that’s fast and responsive.
Most agencies would struggle to keep up. It’s not just the property and casualty insurance that’s changing, either. Life insurance, commercial insurance, and health insurance are too.
Here are the 4 main capabilities your agency needs to adopt in order to keep up and get the competitive edge.1. Marketing Automation
You can’t sell every prospect the first time around, but that doesn’t mean you can never sell them. This is one of the most common problems brokerages encounter--losing leads.
Marketing automation helps solve this problem. When a lead is lost, the system can create new opportunities for future business, including policy renewals to increase retention rates. These systems range in complexity, from full-blown automation to partial automation and CRM control.
They can give you a “big picture” view on why a lead was lost, where you lost them, and how to pick them back up again.
For example, if you’re talking with a new prospect on the phone and he ends up going with another broker, the lead is considered “lost”. (In most brokerages, the lead is actually considered “dead.”) But, with marketing automation, you can make a note of why you lost the lead and then start nurturing him again after a few months. When he’s up for renewal with the other company, you use the reason you lost him the first time around as a way to make the sale this time around.
Maybe the reason you lost the lead was because your price was too high. In the future, you can send out content that explains the value of your brokerage or why paying higher premiums makes sense.
2. Dynamic Performance Measurement
Dynamic performance measurement is the ability to manage performance of individual agents against the performance of the overall team in real time.
Sounds cool, right?
Measuring the productivity of your employees allows you to set challenging goals, without overwhelming them or making them feel like they can’t perform. It gives you insight as to where improvements are needed. And, for employees who can’t consistently meet benchmarks… well, then, you know who needs to be cut.
You gain clarity over the operations and performance of the brokerage by keeping tabs on things like:
- Premiums and commissions
- New policies versus renewals
- Individual, team, and office territories, and,
- Lines of business
Want to know how John’s performance stacks up to everyone else? Look at the number of policies he’s sold, the average premium amount, and his retention and persistency rates. Look at where he’s sold his policies and then compare that against others on the team.
If he’s not doing well, you can make suggestions for improvements or think about ways to improve the general marketing and sales cycle of the company.
Making insurance fun for agents usually means more sales and more money. Make your dashboard a sort of scorecard. Each agent or broker gets a benchmark, and results are tracked in real time. Agents can keep track of how they’re doing personally and also relative to other brokers.
Done right, it can create a friendly, yet competitive, office environment that encourages higher sales.
4. Automated Workflow Management
An insurance brokerage should work like a well-oiled machine, which is why automated workflow management in insurance distribution technology is so important.
Management can force the issue of a formal approval process, so that documents can’t get beyond a certain point until it passes the current step. This is especially helpful when you need to make sure signatures are recorded on all relevant pages, for example.
Since it’s the little mistakes like missed initials, signatures, and dates that usually hold up applications, this type of workflow management can speed up the underwriting process and minimize errors.
Where To Go From Here
If you want to step your game up, and stay competitive, you need to upgrade your technology. Start by taking a good hard look at your legacy system and determine if it’s actually fulfilling your needs. Most likely, you need a change in direction towards an innovative management platform, such as Novidea, that allows you to utilize all four capabilities mentioned above.
Download this free eBook and learn how investing in the right technology can help you upgrade your business, today.