The Connected Business of Insurance
September 01, 2016
3 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Digital Curve
Rapid and increased technological innovation has significantly changed consumer behavior and expectations. Readily embracing social, mobile and cloud technology, consumers today, particularly younger millennials, prefer interactions to be instant, brief and digital. As a result of this digital transformation, never before have we experienced a level of connectedness that exists today.
This underlying current of connectivity embedded in our daily lives has begun to drive new consumer expectations. We expect to be able to instantly connect to friends and family via text or social media. We require connectivity to keep us engaged with work both in-and-out of the office. We also expect our devices to speak to one another and seamlessly stream audio and video.
So why connect? In the face of this new marketplace dynamic, insurance agencies must evolve and begin the journey to becoming digital businesses. Connectivity gives you immediate access to information. It enables you to build current and new relationships. And, most importantly, connectivity gives you more time. The speed and automated simplicity in which information is exchanged and connections are made inevitably ensures the benefit of time savings.
So, as an insurance agency, how can you embrace connectivity as part of your digital transformation? An important component of digital transformation is insurer connectivity, the ability to efficiently communicate and exchange data securely and seamlessly from insurer systems directly to agency partners. Insurer connectivity provides your business with a single, efficient workflow for information exchange with your insurer partners, reducing manual processes and enabling you to deliver faster, more complete service to your clients. Connectivity allows you and your insurer partners to exchange current, accurate data for quoting, appetite search, underwriting, billing and customer service via download, real-time and market search tools.
Agencies that embrace insurer connectivity will enhance their core value proposition and strengthen their position as a digital business, resulting in a significant competitive advantage today and in the future
Key insurer connectivity benefits include:
- Access to real-time, accurate policy information and quotes throughout underwriting and servicing
- The ability to provide an enhanced customer experience
- More desirable business opportunities with more market access for new risk types
- Identifying the best markets for client risks
- Ensuring critical documents are immediately available to agents, insurers and insureds
Connect Today for a More Competitive Tomorrow
The good news for agencies is that all of these connectivity services are available to them today.
3 core connectivity technologies for your business include:
- Download: A data exchange solution that enables insurers to automate delivery of information from their systems directly into your agency management system. By automatically receiving critical policy-related information from your insurers, download eliminates the need to rekey data into multiple insurer web portals to verify information.With more than 1,800,000 download connections available, and only 41% activated, there is immense opportunity for your agency to take advantage of the time-saving and customer service benefits of receiving all available download services from your insurers.
- Real-Time rating, service inquiry and claims: An automated data exchange that provides instantaneous lookup of data in an insurer system from within an agency management system or comparative rater, enabling you to quote; inquire on a policy, bill or claim; submit a First Notice of Loss; obtain loss runs and more in real-time.By making these requests through the management system, you can reduce duplicate keystrokes and respond to clients quickly and easily, without having to log into an insurer web portal. This not only saves time and effort by eliminating manual entry, but also minimizes errors, provides an E&O trail within the agency management system, and enables you to deliver rapid, more efficient service to meet the expectations of today’s consumers.
With more insurers adopting Real-Time for comparative rating and service, you can increase the opportunity to showcase the advice and value of working with an independent agent by providing clients and prospects the best policy options and overall improved customer service.
- Market search tools: Enable you to find more and better markets for your clients’ risk. A long-time industry challenge has been identifying insurer market appetite for commercial risks. Historically a costly process in terms of money and time, the results typically yielded a high percentage of declines from insurers.
Automated technology available today matches insurers and agents based on appetite for new risks and renewals using a Google-like search. Market search tools improve your staff’s productivity by reducing time spent on traditional ways of identifying market appetite, such as referencing outdated insurer risk guides, accessing insurer websites, historical agent experience, or directly contacting individual underwriters.
As competition evolves and market dynamics increase the pace of business, it is critical for your agency to consider your insurer connectivity options in order to enhance the core value proposition of the independent agent – by providing greater access to product range, insurer choice, and localized personal advice. Technology continues to transform the insurance landscape, and those agencies that embrace the possibilities of becoming a digital agency through connectivity will be best positioned to grow and thrive in this new era.
To further explore how insurer connectivity can drive greater business success, download this ebook:
Paul Warga is the Vice President of Product Management for IVANS Insurance Solutions, a division of Applied Systems. Paul has a wide variety of leadership experience on implementing solutions for business and technical issues across software and web-based products, using effective development methodologies.