In the face of changing marketplace dynamics, insurance agencies must evolve and begin the journey to becoming digital businesses. An important component of digital transformation is insurer connectivity, which is the ability to seamlessly exchange data from your management system directly to your insurer’s system, reducing manual processes and enabling you to deliver faster, more complete service to your clients.
Insurer connectivity allows you and your insurer partners to exchange current, accurate data for quoting, appetite search, underwriting, billing and customer service via download, inquiry and market search tools. As technology continues to transform the insurance landscape, agencies that embrace the possibilities of becoming a digital agency through connectivity will be best positioned to grow and thrive in this new era.
The Latest Trends in Automation
IVANS recently conducted its annual survey to understand the state of agency-insurer connectivity and digital collaboration. Year over year, demand to increase connectivity and automation across the insurance lifecycle – 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 of the survey’s key findings and 3 core technologies to increase insurer connectivity:
- Find the right markets for your 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 you 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. According to our survey, 72% of agencies have lost business because they cannot find or access a market that will quote their risk.
Agencies need digital tools to improve the process of finding the right insurer appetite at the right time. IVANS Markets, a free online search tool, immediately presents agents with a list of insurers, MGAs and wholesalers with an appetite for the specific risk they are searching for. This simple, automated solution provides agents with greater access to markets, making it extraordinarily easy and much quicker to find the best markets for clients to drive more new and renewal business. Market search tools improve your agency’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.
- Quote products via single entry point
Agencies continue to demonstrate to insurers the importance of integrated connectivity as part of their daily management system workflows. Our study shows that when offered the option of integrated quoting, 41% of agencies would prefer to quote directly from the agency management system, a stark increase from portals (27%) and comparative raters (28%).
IVANS supports continued development of integrated quoting – working with insurers, comparative raters, and agency management system vendors to enhance agents’ quoting experience. The ability to receive quotes directly through your management system reduces duplicate keystrokes and allows you to 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.
- Reduce paperwork and access the latest policy information
According to our survey, 60 minutes is the amount of time savings per employee per day agencies experience when using download services. While agencies and insurers alike begin to realize the time and cost benefits of leveraging download, the runway for adoption by both stakeholders remains long. With more than 1,800,000 download connections available, and only 48% 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.
IVANS Download automates the exchange of critical policy-related information to ensure the most up-to-date information is instantly available at the moment you need it. A key download service IVANS offers is eDocs and Messages which is an automatic push notification that offers a secure and managed alternative to email, mail and faxes. Implementation of download services, like eDocs and Messages, enables agencies to increase overall operational efficiency with significant time savings, reduction of production costs, enhanced customer service and improved ease of doing business.
Connect Today for a More Competitive Tomorrow
The state of connectivity and the opportunity to align digital initiatives for the benefit of all stakeholders – agencies, insurers and insureds – continues to strengthen. 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.