The insurance business is changing and it is a widely-held belief that if an agency is going to continue to compete, so must its technology. There is digital revolution happening and the insurance business is no exception. An agency must change with the times and transform its business into a Digital Insurance Agency or risk being left behind.
The Digital Insurance Agency
While there will always be customers that prefer to come into the office for face-to face interaction, another market has clearly emerged. Today, many people prefer to do business online or electronically—the microwave society that wants everything instantly. Many consumers want to get a quote within ten minutes and e-sign their new insurance documents within thirty minutes.
Let’s look at a typical day in the Digital Insurance Agency. A customer calls in needing insurance or your agents call out on leads. You want to be nimble enough to gather their information directly into your system, quote them and call them back within ten minutes. Back in the day before technology made a surge in the insurance world, you had much more time. In today’s world, the customer can get their own quote online either through an agency quoting website or directly with some carriers. This puts pressure on the agency to perform faster and faster, meaning that their agency management system has to be able to move quickly from one phase to another. The technology needs to effortlessly and correctly guide the agent through each step in quoting for the customer and moving to a completed sale with an e-signed application. With this market in mind, agencies must consider transforming their business into a Digital Insurance Agency by upgrading their systems to accommodate these customers and compete with continually accelerating technology.
Ten Characteristics of a Digital Insurance Agency
While technology is an enabler, this is all really about changing your business to adapt to the current market. Technology can improve your business in several ways. Below are ten characteristics of a Digital Insurance Agency.
- Competitive: As an agency owner, you’re consistently looking to increase your edge–to be the best you can be. Technology allows you to leap ahead of your competition. This is why we are so fascinated with technology, it is always fluid–never stagnant.
- Engaged: Today’s technology goes well beyond faxes and phones. Customers want to engage with you via social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter or investigate you on your website. Studies show that 65% of the sales cycle happens online before the customer ever talks to a sales agent. You need to be where they are to engage them.
- Dynamic: The industry has traditionally relied on stand-alone software that is stagnate once you install it. Sure, you can download updates, but those updates don’t deliver the dynamic leaps and bounds you may need to stay competitive. Modern technology platforms innovate often, so you can stay ahead of the pack.
- Flexible: Business models and processes have changed a lot over the past two years and they will continue to change. Technology can prevent you from adapting or help you. Make sure your system can be easily customized at any point in the future so your business can be as flexible as it needs to be.
- Efficient: The more automated an agency, the more efficient it is at making money. In today’s world, an AMS can auto-populate activities, tasks, events, emails, reports, text (SMS) messages, and automate many other business processes that will streamline your operations.
- Agile: The model of the “app store” has moved from consumer phones to business. Marketplaces exist that can extend the capabilities of systems, such as Salesforce AppExchange. Some AMS allow the addition of apps for call tracking, electronic signatures, and other capabilities you may not know you need yet.
- Mobile: These days customers and agents are constantly on the go. Both need to use smart phones for reviewing quotes, submitting data and e-signing insurance applications.
- Intelligent: With all the different skill levels of agents in the marketplace from newbies to experienced agents, the right system is smart enough to walk newbies through the steps of quoting and completing the sale of a new policy with a customer and make sure best practices are followed for quality and compliance.
- Scalable: If your business is going to grow, as I am sure you hope it does, your technology needs to be able to grow with you. Some technologies let you add lines of business, add agents, and expand geographically on-demand.
- Informed: Data can become information and information is power. The insurance industry has plenty of data. With the right technology, you can use that data to make informed decisions you could not before.
In summary, the successful agency needs to be all about “how can we do things more efficiently, quicker and smarter”. Agencies that are open to the ideas and technologies of today are the agencies that are going to be leaders in the future. The new technology for the Digital Insurance Agency must be customizable, nimble and scalable, allowing the agency to change as their needs and business changes.
Does your agency have the ten characteristics of a Digital Insurance Agency? If not, call or email us and learn how TechCanary’s solutions can transform your business.