Agents and brokers looking to expand their business need to look no further than the clients they are trying to attract. In order to reach these growing, computer-savvy, mobile-friendly generations they need to invest in technologies. Technologies, when properly implemented, can increase client satisfaction and broker profitability.
It’s not that agents and brokers don’t recognize the need, it’s that they are not moving quickly enough to adopt the right technology. A recent survey published by the Insurance Digital Revolution comprised of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s Agents Council for Technology, the ACORD User Groups Information Exchange and National Association of Professional Insurance Agents found that more than half of the insurance agents surveyed don’t have key digital tools and automation such as client portals, mobile apps and claims downloads available for their clients.
Fully automating and integrating these types of tools are big ticket items for agents or agencies to incur. Many customer relationship management (CRM) systems and software may promise to deliver on all these type of data activities, but have the potential to fall short if they don’t fit well with the brokers’ business culture and goals. Also, the new technology can ultimately be insufficient and inefficient if it is not fully integrated with existing office systems and is correctly providing a seamless flow of data.
Seven Keys to Maximize the Value of Technology
In the December 2016 National Underwriter article, Optimizing Tech Solutions several tips are offered to help agents maximize future technology investments. Understanding that progress needs to begin pronto in terms of embracing new technologies to grow their business, here are seven important steps agents can take to ensure the processes goes as smoothly as possible.
Analyze Your Current Situation
Determine what issues need to be resolved throughout your business. Ask how the potential technology solves the issues. Consider what resources are needed to implement and use the technology. Think through all the costs associated with initial implementation, testing, data storage and any upgrades needed to current systems prior to making the investment
Put Your Clients’ Needs First
Keep your clients’ needs front and center throughout the process. You want to increase client satisfaction not decrease it by adding a new technology platform that may save back-office time, but is not easily navigated by clients and causes frustration.
Involve Key Stakeholders
Ask for input from all those that will be involved with using the new technology. Gain an understanding of what functionality is important and build that information into your decision.
Put out a RFP
Layout all the questions and details you want answered about the new technology. Provide the RFP to vendors who you may want to work with for this new technology solution and create an apple to apple comparison to help with your decision-making.
Secure a Full Integration Package
Understand exactly kind of support is provided in the integration process. All systems must communicate with one another to ensure secure, reliable data flow. In particular, determine if there is the potential to customize the platform as no two business are exactly the same.
Create a Maintenance Schedule
Implementing a set time for updates, data backups and security checks are important from the get-go to minimize the risk of a cyberattack and reduce time-consuming large overhauls because smaller measures were missed along the way.
Use the Cloud
Keeping your new technology updated is made easiest through cloud-based services. Cloud-based applications allow for quick fixes, provide the most-current versions and security measures available. As this technology becomes a long-term solution for your clients and business navigating through these initial challenges and considerations will result in an extremely positive benefit for everyone.