10 questions to ask yourself
By Brenna Johnson
As the insurance industry continues to evolve technologically and change to meet the needs of its clients and agents, one aspect remains constant: Agencies need agency management systems. Agency management systems are an indispensable tool and the backbone of any agency, automating and connecting almost every aspect of an agency, from quoting to servicing and every step in between. In fact, 93% of insurance executives believe that their organization requires a mission control, or a central intelligence hub, to gain insights into complexities and model their organization’s processes, people and assets, according to the Accenture Insurance Technology Vision 2021.
Since management systems are a crucial tool for improving agency operations and scaling the business, there are many options on the market. Choosing one can feel like an overwhelming decision. How do you know which one is the right fit or even what features to look for? Here are 10 questions to ask yourself while on your agency management system-buying journey.
- Can it easily integrate with your comparative rater?
Alternating between agency management systems and rating software is an outdated way to work. It is crucial to have both systems easily talk to each other instead of being in separate silos. When looking at management systems, make sure that your choice can integrate with your comparative rater. It can save time, reduce errors and omissions (E&O), help with quoting accuracy, and eliminate the need for duplicate data entry because the information from the rater goes straight to the management system. When data can be exchanged easily between systems, you can quickly get quotes, reach markets, and bind business.
- Is it on the cloud?
Your management system is the center of your agency operations and having it on the cloud provides a wide variety of benefits from remote working to security to seamless data flow between applications. According to Deloitte’s US Future of Cloud Survey Report, 57% of insurance executives believe that cloud computing can provide better security than traditional on-premises solutions. Cloud technology uses secure servers accessible via the internet instead of physical servers in your office to safely store your data and programs. Having an agency management system on cloud technology can also benefit your business by allowing you to rapidly scale and adapt, boost innovation, enhance business agility, simplify operations, and decrease expenses.
- Can it give you the power to automate processes?
Automating routine agency processes can significantly improve your agency’s efficiency and productivity. As you compare agency management systems, make sure you know what areas in your processes need automation and how a management system can streamline workflows and reduce manual tasks. The right agency management system will provide automation that reduces time, effort, and cost while reducing errors, giving your business more time to focus on your primary objectives like servicing customers and winning new business.
- Does it leverage data analytics to help you make better business decisions?
According to a survey by McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire new customers, six times as likely to retain existing customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable. When looking at different agency management systems, be sure to see if the system can gather and analyze data that can give you actionable business insights, allowing you to improve how you run your business and make decisions that drive revenue. Look for dashboards that offer data visualizations and can be built for defined roles within your business, making it even easier to answer questions and make decisions based on data most relevant to each role in your agency.
- Can it provide a good and simple digital experience for your customers?
Because of tech giants like Google, Amazon and Apple, customers want to be able to get help anywhere, anytime. In fact, 70% of consumers expect an omnichannel experience for policy research and purchase, according to the Capgemini and Efma 2021 World Insurance Report. Make sure when you choose an agency management system, that it has customer self-service tools so customers can access their policy documents, request changes, and view their coverages at any time and without an agent’s help.
Whether you are a newer agency ready to hit the ground running,
an established business looking to automate your manual processes,
or an agency with changing needs and goals, every type
of agency needs a management system that works best for them.
6. Is it mobile?
Today, almost everyone lives with a mobile phone in hand. Easy accessibility is important to everyone, so much so that 68% of baby boomers, 69% of Gen-Xers, 70% of millennials, and 76% of Gen-Zers are prioritizing convenience over brand, according to the 2020 State of the Connected Customer Report by Salesforce. Investing in an agency management system that provides mobile access gives staff the ability to connect to the office with a view of customer and business information at any point. Mobile access to the management system allows agents to proactively add prospects, create and manage activities, and automate sales operations, empowering your agency to work how your staff chooses while driving employee satisfaction, retention, and cost savings along the way.
- Does it offer third-party integrations?
Your agency management system shouldn’t limit you. You should have the flexibility to choose the technology and tech partners that are right for your business. When searching for an agency management system, make sure that they can offer third-party integrations. Open and scalable architecture helps acquisitions run smoother and allows you to integrate with the partners you choose and strategically build your tech stack. You get the power of choice and can boost your agency’s value by having a flexible system to grow and innovate within your business.
- Can it provide digital connectivity to your key industry stakeholders?
Digital connectivity is essential to your agency because it enables the digital roundtrip of insurance without leaving your core management system, saving you time and creating more profitable opportunities. The Accenture Insurance Technology Vision shows that 90% of insurance executives state that multi-party systems will enable their ecosystems to forge a more resilient and adaptable foundation to create new value with their organization’s partners. Invest in an agency management system that provides digital connectivity to link every phase and stakeholder of the insurance lifecycle. It will allow your agency to start market discovery, give policy quotes, provide faster service, and easily exchange data with customers and carriers.
- What is the onboarding process?
As you look at agency management systems, you will want to consider how long the onboarding process will take for your agency to get up and running with the new technology. Switching management systems may require a data conversion, and the time it takes to transfer data from your old system to the new system can vary by company and software choice. Regardless of whether you are implementing a brand-new technology or changing systems, it is important to ask about the onboarding process, the timeline, and what kind of support and training you’ll receive to identify which agency management system will be best for you.
- Does the company have a growth and innovative mindset?
You wouldn’t buy outdated technology to be successful long term. The mentality is the same when investing time and money into a new management system for your agency. Be mindful of the technology company, see what their mission is and ask what they are actively doing to push the limits in insurance innovation. This will help create a strong partnership and allow you to purchase a management system that can evolve with the market and the demands of your business, allowing you to remain competitive and in sync with current industry trends.
Whether you are a newer agency ready to hit the ground running, an established business looking to automate your manual processes, or an agency with changing needs and goals, every type of agency needs a management system that works best for them. As you explore the different software options on the market, be sure to ask these 10 essential questions to ensure that you’re getting the right management system for your agency’s success now and in the future.
Brenna Johnson is passionate about leveraging technology to solve business problems for independent insurance agents. As vice president of product management, she leads the EZLynx product team and is responsible for the overall strategy and direction of the EZLynx Platform.