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The Connected Business of Insurance

Digital Collaboration: Agents Speak and Why Insurers Should Listen

January 11, 2018

by Thad Bauer
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Digital technology is changing the way we live and work, creating a more connected life in a more connected world. To learn more about how this technology has influenced the insurance industry, IVANS recently conducted its annual survey to better understand agency-insurer connectivity and digital collaboration across the industry. Gathering responses from both agents and insurers about the demand for and adoption of key digital technologies, the survey results provide a roadmap for success in the digital age of insurance.

More than 1,500 independent agencies and insurers across the U.S. participated in the 3nd Annual IVANS Agency-Insurer Connectivity Survey. Results indicate that the time is right for insurers and agencies to digitally collaborate on business opportunities to drive mutual growth and profitability. Agents and insurers alike want increased connectivity and more digital collaboration so they can provide the right products for their customers and deliver quick service.

While both agencies and insurers recognize the importance of leveraging digital technology to better connect with agency partners, there is still a gap from this expressed interest in digital collaboration to the implementation of the tools required to facilitate greater digital distribution and servicing. Read through to discover the key takeaways form the survey, and learn how you can better prepare your business for success in the digital world.

Key Trends in Digital Marketing and Distribution

Agencies continue to demonstrate to insurers the importance of integrated connectivity as part of their daily management system workflows, requesting quicker access to markets and product information. Insurers need to market directly to agencies via tools that integrate into their daily workflows, making it easier to keep your products top of mind 24/7 and find the right agents at the right time.

Despite agency demand for integrated quoting, insurer investment remains focused on company portals. You can ensure constant product visibility while reducing overhead costs and time spent managing insurer portals by quoting directly to agencies within their agency management system.

Key Trends in Automated Servicing

Agencies are looking to do business with insurers that understand the importance of a more connected experience. Agents need access to the most up-to-date and accurate policy-related information to provide the multi-channel service their customers expect. Leverage digital technology to eliminate paper and automate policy-related information exchange directly into partner management systems, so you can create a servicing strategy that better aligns with your agency partners’ needs.

Agency demand for increased download options continues to rise, with 64% of agencies indicating interest in eDocs and Messages. This type of download offers mutual benefits to insurers and agencies as it provides valuable time savings by automating information exchange and providing a secure and managed alternative to email, mail and faxes.

However, the study also found that most insurers have a limited awareness of the high agent demand for new download services like eDocs and Messages and Claims, creating an opportunity for insurers that leverage this technology to increase their competitive advantage.

So what does all of this mean for insurers?
Knowing what your agents want is the first step to providing better service and ultimately growing your business. With digital technology, marketing to the right agencies doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Adopt online tools that give you exclusive insight into agencies’ book of business and download demands will enable you to more easily communicate with agencies about new business and service opportunities. Creating a digital distribution and servicing strategy will improve current and new agency relationships and ensure better service to the end insured.

To learn more about digital distribution and servicing and the current state of agency-insurer connectivity, download the full report now.

Thad Bauer, IVANS InsuranceThad Bauer, vice president and general manager of IVANS Insurance Solutions, has had 25 years of property and casualty experience and has played a key role in furthering the adoption of ACORD standards to exchange data within the industry to improve efficiencies.  He has helped carriers and MGAs realize benefits through innovative technology and workflow implementations of real-time, download, Web service connections to third parties and maximizing data within their enterprise. Prior to IVANS, Thad was president and co-founder of  NxTech, a leading provider of agency-MGA-insurer connectivity and data integration solutions. Prior to NxTech, he spent nine years with BWC Systems and IVANS, Inc. and has worked with more than 350 insurance insurers throughout North America.

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