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The Connected Business of Insurance

A Match Made in Heaven – What Makes Agencies Love Insurers

September 06, 2018

by Lori Heemstra
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Nowadays, nearly everyone expects the convenience of not only accessing information on their mobile device via a web browser, but from a mobile app too. Think about it, when was the last time you stood out on the street waiting for a Taxi? Companies like Uber have made hailing a ride so easy that consumers have become accustomed to this type of instant service and now expect it from every company they do business. In fact, I came across a recent Salesforce report that indicated 64% of consumers expect companies to respond and interact with them in real time.

To meet changing consumer demand for anytime, anywhere service, leading agencies like BHS Insurance are going digital. As a result, we prefer relationships with insurers who provide digital services that increase ease of doing business while providing a more diverse product range. From my role at BHS Insurance agency and with the IVANS Agency Advisory Board, I know that agents value ease of doing business – from finding markets, to quoting, to issuance and service – over anything else with insurers. We conduct business with countless insurer and MGA partners. The ability to have information delivered directly to our management system versus visiting countless different insurer portals results in significant time savings. Automated workflows and faster insurer communications enable us to deliver better service to our customers.

The Latest Automation Trends
According to the latest IVANS survey on the current state of agency-insurer connectivity and digital collaboration across the industry, demand for greater connectivity and automation – from finding markets to quoting policies to servicing and renewals – continues to grow from both insurers and agencies. Yet, there remains a gap from expressed interest in digital collaboration to implementation of the tools required to facilitate greater digital distribution and servicing.

Here are a few key takeaways from this year’s survey that really resonated with me.

68%

of agents reported lost business because they couldn’t find or access a market that will quote their risk.

Historically, agents have relied on relationships with insurers, paper guides and insurer websites to identify insurer appetite for commercial risk. These manual processes prevent us from having the most up-to-date data and only provide a partial view of potential markets for risk which can lead to a lost business. Technology automates the market search process, eliminating time and cost spent managing paperwork so that we can easily find the right market for our risk. IVANS enables us to find those insurers that we may never have even considered or didn’t know were writing a piece of business. To support your agency partners, you need to market directly to agents via tools that integrate into our daily workflows to keep your products top of mind 24/7.

44%

of agents would prefer to quote Commercial Lines directly from the agency management system verses portals or comparative raters.

The ability for us to receive quotes directly through our management system reduces duplicate keystrokes and saves us an enormous amount of time. By eliminating the need to log into multiple insurer portals, we are able to respond to clients more quickly and easily. For insurers, automating quotes instantly to agencies’ systems reduces overhead costs and time spent managing portals while ensuring constant product visibility.

81%

of agents found they place more business with those insurers that provide automation.

When choosing an insurer to do business with, we prefer partners who enable us to save time through download. 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. Automate information exchange with your agency partners to drive efficiency and improve ease of doing business.

The Bottom Line
A significant opportunity exists for insurers who automate information exchange and appetite communications with agencies. Demand for greater insurer connectivity continues to rise because we want to provide the best products and advice to our customers while maximizing productivity. You can build stronger agency relationships as well as save significant time and money by using market search tools, rating services and download technology to communicate with agencies.

Hear more from Lori and other industry professionals on the opportunity to support agencies’ digital strategies in this exclusive webinar, Distribution in the Digital Age.

Image of woman smilingLori Heemstra joined Berends Hendricks Stuit in 2005 as the Commercial Lines Division Manager. Her duties include overseeing the customer service agents and support staff, training new and existing staff, coordinating technology and developing consistent professional standards. She has over 25 years of insurance experience and is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC). Lori is a member of the IVANS Agent’s Council, Applied Client Network Large Agent Alliance, the Vice Chairman of the Applied Client Network Member Relations Committee and serves on various insurance company councils.

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