THE FUTURE OF MARKETING IS HERE
How automation can transform your strategy
By Raution Jaiswal
Many of us hear the word automation and swiftly conjure up images of robots taking over our jobs. This isn’t necessarily true. Automation marketing tools can greatly aid a traditional and rooted industry such as insurance, especially in tasks such as automated communications for customer onboarding, policy renewal, X-Dates, mid-term policy review, underwriting, claims processing, policy issuance, renewals, customer service tasks, and so on.
In general, automation means using any technology to perform tasks such as data analysis and reporting to interact with customers and process transactions that would otherwise require human intervention. This could include machines, software, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc. Insurance automation helps by taking over tedious and repetitive tasks, allowing you to focus on providing superior, personalized customer service.
Insurance agents know firsthand the challenge of keeping track of contacts, leads, sales, appointments, policies, documents, and more. With so many moving parts, it’s easy to get over-whelmed and miss out on opportunities to grow your business. An insurance agent-centric CRM is a centralized software that organizes and manages client interactions, leads, end-to-end sales processes, automated follow-up tasks, and reporting, enabling better customer and business management.
Automated processes such as content and document management, lead tracking, auto follow-up, appointment scheduling, and reminders free up more time for agents to focus on building relationships with clients and building the business.
A few of the most popular automated insurance processes include:
- Process automation. Automating repetitive tasks or processes within an agency, such as data entry or invoicing.
- Cognitive automation. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate tasks, such as data analysis or customer service.
- Self-service automation. Enabling users to perform tasks or processes themselves, such as insurance renewal or adding beneficiaries.
Why is the insurance industry slow to adopt automation?
- Regulatory challenges. Since insurance is a heavily regulated industry, introducing new technology into your day-to-day business can require significant changes to existing processes and systems. For instance, if your agency decides to move to a fully digital process, such as electronic signatures, this will change how you interact and communicate with your clients. However, the efficiency, customer satisfaction, and trust this change will bring to your agency are valuable.
- Legacy systems. Your agency is probably using an agency management system, and they are very helpful in managing the backend processes. However, as the digital marketing age has grown, there are tools and tricks that could make a significant impact on your specific marketing efforts that the management system does not address.
- Risk aversion. Insurance is a risk management industry, and bringing unfamiliar technology into the equation could seem daunting. For example, when implementing a new CRM system, you may be concerned about data breaches or the security of client information stored in the system. However, when your agency holds hard copies of customer data, you will run an even greater risk of data breaches, unauthorized access, and lack of control. Finding a CRM that meets industry standards and regulations for data security will resolve this issue.
- Limited resources. Most agencies may need additional resources and a budget to invest in new technologies. However, it’s important to note that while investing in new technologies can be costly, they can also bring significant benefits to your agency in the long run.
Insurance agencies are starting to adopt more technology but still face challenges before they can exhaustively improve efficiency, accuracy, and customer experience.
By automating various tasks, you are not only saving time and resources, but also
focusing on providing the best possible service to your prospects and customers.
Why does automation matter?
While insurance automation technology may seem daunting to begin with, digitization’s benefits to your agency and customers are multi-fold. Some include:
- Increased efficiency. Automation streamlines complex and time-consuming tasks. To simplify the claims process, for example, your agency can pre-define workflows and automate document collection, status tracking, and payments. In addition, by automating repetitive tasks, your agency can increase productivity and reduce costs.
- Improved accuracy. Automation can reduce errors and improve accuracy by eliminating the need for manual data entry and processing. This can moderate the risk of inaccuracy and improve the overall quality of insurance services.
- Insurance automation enables you to provide superior user-oriented options for managing policies, such as online policy issuance and renewal, online claims submission and processing, and self-service portals for your customers.
- Historically, insurance agents have relied on past data to predict global trends and assess potential risks. However, predictive data is much more effective for accurate risk evaluation. By utilizing predictive analysis during the customer onboarding and risk evaluation process, you can better identify potential risks to reduce the likelihood of losses during the claims process.
- Automation can help you gather detailed customer data, and you can leverage this data to provide hyper-personalized experiences and recommendations. For example, when a customer connects with you for auto insurance, you can share affordable policies that best fit their need by analyzing their driving frequency, miles driven, and past claims, thus improving your agency’s onboarding and retention rates.
- Fraud detection. As an agent, you know that insurance fraud can cause significant financial losses for insurance companies. Automated collection and processing can help you gather data from various sources, including social media, and use algorithms to detect fraudulent patterns.
- Timely resolution is one of the critical factors of customer satisfaction. If a client is applying for a new policy, a manual policy issuance, for instance, will contain multiple steps of data entry and document verification. Automating this process will help reduce customer frustration and boost customer satisfaction.
- Improved growth. It is essential to offer new products and services to meet today’s customers’ needs. Automation can improve data collection, giving you a better understanding of these needs among customers and prospects in different demo-graphics. You could then use this information to improve marketing targeting measures.
- Automated processes are less prone to human error, due to the effective processing of unstructured data, which will help you provide more accurate and reliable service to your customers.
- Low-priced. Automation can help reduce the costs of handling claims disputes and errors by eliminating the need for manual processing. An example would be automating the claims adjudication process; in this situation, the system can automatically check for any missing information, errors, or inconsistencies in the claims data and flag them for the claims adjuster so that you spend less time manually reviewing claims. Automation can help you quickly and efficiently analyze large amounts of data, such as customer preferences, market trends, and competitor activity. By having this information readily available, you make better informed decisions about which products and services to offer and how to market them.
Automation best practices
Now that we understand why automation is the way forward to ensure credible business expansion, let’s look at the next essentials. Implementing automation can prove to be complex and may require deliberate planning to ensure success. However, to get started, here are a few best practices that your agency can follow to optimize your processes, improve efficiency, and reap the benefits of this technology:
- Define clear goals. It is vital to clearly define your automation goals, such as improving efficiency, reducing costs, or enhancing the customer experience. This transparency will help guide the design and implementation of your automation project.
- Start small. Start with small, targeted automation projects rather than try to automate everything simultaneously. This structure will help you test and refine your automation processes before expanding to other areas.
- Drive decisions with data. Data is a powerful tool in insurance automation. Use data to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences, improve decision-making, and streamline business processes to ensure that your automation projects deliver the desired results.
- Invest in training. Automation has the power to disrupt traditional workflows, so it is vital that you invest in training all team members to help them adapt to the new processes. The preparation can include training on how to use new systems and tools, as well as how to work with automated processes.
- Monitor and optimize. Automation is not a one-time project but rather an ongoing process. Therefore, it is critical to regularly monitor and optimize your already automated processes to ensure they deliver the desired results. This monitoring process can include analyzing data to identify areas for improvement and testing and refining automation processes as needed.
- Consider your customers. Insurance automation can improve the customer experience by providing more convenient and personalized options for managing policies and submitting claims. However, it is important to con-sider how automation may impact customers and take steps to ensure their needs are met. This can include providing clear instructions on automated systems and having support staff available to help customers with any issues.
- Seek expert help. Implementing automation can be complex, and it can be useful to seek expert help to ensure your ongoing business and customer base do not pay the price for any disruption. For ex-ample, working with consultants or software vendors with expertise in insurance automation or subject matter experts in the industry can help make the project go more smoothly.
Automation has the potential to revolutionize the insurance industry—streamlining processes and improving efficiency. By automating various tasks, you are not only saving time and re-sources but also focusing on providing the best possible service to your prospects and customers. With the right tools and strategies in place, insurance automation tools can also help agencies reduce errors and improve accuracy, leading to better outcomes for all parties involved.
As the independent agency channel continues to evolve, automation will play a critically important role in helping agencies adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing environment. Early adopters can position themselves for success in this increasingly competitive landscape.
Raution Jaiswal is CEO and co-founder of InsuredMine, an all-in-one sales, CRM, and marketing automation platform designed for insurance agencies and agents to deliver better client service and efficiently grow their business through digital transformation.