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The Connected Business of Insurance

3 Ways to Support the Needs of Today’s Digital Agents

May 03, 2018

by Christine Horne
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As the world becomes more digital, agencies are leveraging technology to meet consumer demand for instant, 24/7 customer service. Consumer demand, along with the need for greater ease of doing business and a more diverse product range, has pushed agencies to seek increased connectivity from insurer partners. By connecting through digital technology, we can work better together and mutually benefit.

Digitally connected agents and insurers can exchange accurate data for quoting, market appetite, underwriting, billing and customer service via real-time, market search and download services. This allows agents to work more efficiently with insurers and provide access to advice, product range, insurer choice and localized personal service for the end insured. Ultimately, increasing agency connectivity is critical to finding and keeping the right agencies for the right – and most profitable – risks.

What Digital Agencies Need From You
From my role at Bankers Insurance as well as my participation in various industry groups, I know that agents value ease of doing business – from finding markets, to quoting, to issuance and service – over anything else with insurers. Agents conduct business with countless insurer and MGA partners, and see these three core areas as critically important in the success of these relationships:

  1. Greater visibility into your latest appetite and product details
    Traditional ways of identifying market appetite, such as referencing paper guides and insurer websites, prevents agents from having the most up-to-date data and only provides a partial view of potential markets for risk. In fact, I was not surprised to learn that 72% of agents surveyed by IVANS reported lost business because they couldn’t find or access a market that will quote their risk. To support your agency partners, you need to market directly to them via tools that integrate into their daily workflows to keep your products top of mind 24/7.
  1. Access to quote and rate details in real time
    A recent IVANS survey found that 41% of agencies would prefer to quote directly from the agency management system versus portals or comparative raters. The ability for us to receive quotes directly in the management system reduces duplicate keystrokes and saves time by eliminating the need to log into multiple insurer portals, allowing us to respond to clients more quickly and easily. By automating quotes instantly to agencies’ systems, you reduce overhead costs and time spent managing insurer portals while ensuring your products are consistently quoted.
  1. Continuous access to the latest policy information
    To keep up with consumer demand for instant service, we require continuous access to the latest policy information directly within our daily management system workflows. IVANS research also reveals that 83% of agents found the availability of automated insurer connectivity to be very important when selecting insurers to do business with – and I couldn’t agree more. IVANS enables you to automate the exchange of policy information directly from your system into agencies’ management systems through download services, like eDocs and Messages. Spending unnecessary time and money managing paperwork that your business sends to agencies is hindering our collective ability to focus on servicing our mutual customers.

Strengthen Your Agency Relationships for a More Successful Tomorrow
As agents continue to become more digital, it’s crucial that you take advantage of the technology to more easily and quickly connect to your agency partners. Those insurers and MGAs who support their agents’ digital strategies stand to reap the rewards of building stronger relationships with the right agents that will drive profitable premium growth. Those who continue to rely on the “way things have always been done,” will begin to miss out on new agency opportunities and potentially alienating current agency relationships.

I encourage you to schedule an appointment with an IVANS representative to learn how IVANS can strengthen your agency relationships and drive growth for your business.

Christine Horne is VP of Systems Support at Bankers Insurance. She brings almost two decades of industry experience to her role and is on the IVANS Agency Advisory Board, an AUGIE Ambassador, ACT member, member of the board of directors for the Applied Client Network and active within the insurance industry promoting download adoption and technology.

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