Before making a purchase, it is important to think long and hard about your agency management system requirements.
An insurance agency management system can be compared to a performance car. You want it to get you from point A to point B and be customizable, flexible and performance driven. The right system will get you from point A to point B and much more. The wrong one will keep you stuck in the slow lane as your competitors pass you by.
As an agency owner, you want a product that will assist you with running your agency and not require you to develop the system from scratch. You need a product that is already developed. Sure, there will be some training time and unboarding to get to know the system, that is expected with any new software, but the process will go much faster if you have a system that is already programmed for the insurance agency business and keep a record of your accounts and their needs.
Important Agency Management System Requirements
If I were back at a financial services company and evaluating an Agency Management System today, here are some of the requirements I would prioritize.
- App Market: The app market is a type of digital distribution platform for mobile apps. Apps provide a specific set of functions which, by definition, do not include the running of the computer itself. Apps provide compatible add-on(s) to expand features of an agency management system.
- Automation: The more automated an agency, the more efficient it is at making money. The AMS should auto-populate activities, tasks, events, emails, reports, Text (SMS) messages, and other communications. The more automated the agency management system is, the easier it will be to bring agents of all different levels on as producers.
- Cloud-based: An agency management system should allow you to log in from anywhere in the world so you’re not tied to one location. Cloud-based is a term that refers to applications, services or resources made available to users on-demand via the Internet from a cloud-computing provider’s servers. Companies typically utilize cloud-based computing as a way to increase capacity, enhance functionality or add additional services on-demand without having to commit to expensive infrastructure costs or hiring and training in-house support staff.
- Commissions: An agency management system should allow you to provide online monthly reports for producers. Your agents need to be able to drill down into their monthly commission statement on their own to see what has been credited or debited by the carriers.
- Customizable: As your business grows, your AMS needs to be able to expand with you and not lock you in to its way of doing business. You need to be able to add different product lines. And the better agency management systems will allow you to make some changes on your own or to hire a developer of your own choosing.
- Data Ownership: Your data is just that, your data. The right AMS will not cost you money to get your data out of your existing agency management system if you change systems in the future. After all, this is your data you’re building.
- Downloads: An AMS must support carrier downloads. “Downloading” is a process where the insurance carriers take your policy data from their internal system and convert it to a standardized file format (AL3). Once converted, the carriers typically send the file to a 3rd party (usually IVANS) who then sends it to your agency management system that has been certified by IVANS to consume the data. This significantly streamlines processing.
- Ease of Use: An agency management system must be intuitive to use and easy for agents and management to learn. You should be able to move around within it easily. You should be able to edit and add fields.
- Email integration: Every modern AMS should allow agents to send emails to a customer directly from within the system.
- Marketing: An AMS should support marketing campaigns with automated emails. There should be add-ons apps from an ecosystem that can enhance your marketing campaigns.
- Mobile: In our work from anywhere at anytime world, today’s AMS needs to work on all devices; iPhone, Android, tablets, Apple iOS and Windows so you can access it anywhere, anytime.
- Reports & Dashboards: In today’s “data is king” world, a bunch of standard reports just don’t cut it, you need to be able to dive deeper. You need to be able to build custom reports specific to your business. Custom reports and dashboards should be easy to build without engaging a developer or a vendor. And these reports should be able to slice and dice data for any specified time period, customer demographic, line of business, and anything else you can think of.
- Sales: What value is an agency management system if it does not track your sales process and provide conversion ratios? It should provide reports on your lead sources, track producers and which products they’re selling.
- SMS: Just like email, an AMS should support sending text messages from within the agency management system.
- UI / UX (User Interface / User Experience): User Interface is what the user sees when he/she looks at the product, and the User Experience is how they feel when they move around through the product. The agency management system runs your business and your agency environment, it needs to look and feel good.
If these agency management system requirements feel right to you, and the legacy system you have does not support them, have a conversation with TechCanary. We come from agencies, and have many years experiencing and thinking about the insurance sales management experience.
Learn more about the TechCanary Agency Management System. Or give us call.