By Tommy Dies
LEVERAGING DATA ANALYTICS TO IMPROVE STRATEGY
Harness data to meet your clients’ changing needs
Insurance agencies and brokerages, as well as insurance carriers, are becoming data repositories. To meet the changing needs of clients who seek faster service and claims payments, insurance businesses need to harness data in a way that not only helps deploy resources to the right places but also enables the identification of potential growth opportunities. Much of the data in Bryan Insurance’s management system is collected through the sale of insurance and the servicing of clients. Some specific data we collect includes where our clients are from and how they find our agency—through walk-ins, call-ins, social media, or other marketing campaigns.
[D]ashboards allow us to track client retention, policy retention, and premium and revenue retention, providing us a strategic picture of growth.
As managing partner, my job encompasses a wide range of roles, from handling human resources issues like hiring and onboarding new employees to providing agents the tools they need for strategic planning and holding the agency accountable to clients. With Applied Analytics, Bryan Insurance can set goals more easily and review how we are doing in real time. Each goal is tied to a metric to measure progress, and it’s important to know what the drivers are behind each metric.
Steps for implementing analytics are:
- Choosing the best system for your agency or brokerage’s needs
- Asking the implementation specialist a lot of questions about the process
- Reviewing all available dashboards and picking the best ones for your agency or brokerage
- Implementing the analytics system throughout the organization
- Learning how to verify the accuracy of the numbers in the dashboard
- Employing the analytics in strategic thinking and growth strategies
Our internal dashboards allow us to review new business growth and retention. One dashboard shows us not only what new business was obtained but also what policies have been canceled, renewed, or lost.
For instance, at a glance I can see if premiumsare up year over year while at the same time notingthat active policy and client counts are down slightly. This leads me to question why. For example, is our policy count down because we are bundling more policies, or is our client count down because we are focusing on larger accounts and reducing the number of smaller ones? Or are the policy and client counts down and premiums and revenue up because of improved commission negotiation or rate increases?
Managing our analytics also enables us to review these same metrics by department and by employee to identify emerging trends. The dashboards further allow us to track client retention, policy retention, and premium and revenue retention, providing us a strategic picture of growth.
Our employee productivity dashboard shows total work effort by employee. This can include a summary of activities, tasks added or closed, and notes about the employee. I can see which employees have overdue activities and how overdue they are. My team and I use this dashboard to identify which employees are excelling at their jobs and which employees need help. This allows us to quickly spot when an employee may be in trouble and needs help to prevent errors and omissions claims.
The account rounding dashboard shows which carriers write most of our business, how many submissions we’ve sent to each carrier, and how many submissions resulted in quotes. We also can see our
hit ratio with each carrier. This data helps us quickly identify which accounts to target and what lines or classes each carrier prefers. This helps us keep our client retention rate in the 90th percentile.
By using combinations of different dashboards and the information each provides, we are able to focus our attention on areas where we need to improve. For example, since we implemented robust analytics software, our revenue has increased 19% year over year and revenue per employee is up 25% year over year.
If we can measure it, we can manage it. Armed with this information, Bryan Insurance can have more productive conversations with its carriers so we can purposefully market our clients’ risks to the right carrier.
Tommy Dies is managing partner and chief financial officer at Bryan Insurance in Graham, Texas. He also serves on the board of directors of Applied Client Network, which produces this column.