Agent-Insurer Connectivity | Read Time: 5 minutes

Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees: Why Agency-Insurer Collaboration Is Necessary to Grow Your Business

November 7, 2019

By: Thad Bauer

agency-insurer-collaboration-connected-ecosystem-symbiosis-forest-resource-400x224.pngHave you ever walked into a forest, looked up and seen the way the crowns of trees seem to fit together like puzzle pieces? It turns out trees, no matter their species, work together to make the most of the resources and space available to them. Agents and insurers: are you paying attention?

In a diverse forest of trees, different species of trees actually work together to grow together1. Researchers coined the term ‘Wood Wide Web’ to describe a system wherein trees transport nutrients to one another as needed2. We know this mechanism as symbiosis, which is defined as living together in close association of two dissimilar organisms especially when mutually beneficial. Some trees may not immediately (or ever) directly benefit from sharing with others, but the forest as a whole grows over time.

Agents and insurers: Are you still paying attention?

Real-World Application

Agents and insurers have lived and worked together since issuing the first insurance policy and will continue to do so well into the future. No matter our place in the industry, we can only succeed by working closely with our partners in this rapidly changing ecosystem.

Symbiosis (noun): a close and usually obligatory association of two organisms of different species that live together, often to their mutual benefit.

Take a minute to think of examples from your day-to-day activities where working with a partner benefited yourself, them or both of you. There’s bound to be more than a few.

Agents: When you connect with insurers to identify appetite for your risk, there’s a chance you’ll discover a new market you didn’t know about previously but can benefit from today.

Insurers: When you align on each specific risk, agents have the ability to present the best coverage to their clients. This leads to stronger relationships with agents and keeps your business top of mind.

How do we then work together to realize these synergies?

Investing in digital technology allows agencies and insurers to not just remain relevant among competitors but to also meet the demands of consumers. It means moving away from traditional, manual ways of doing business to automation.

In IVANS’ recent agency-insurer connectivity report, 95% of insurers surveyed found providing automated agency connectivity to be very important. One of the top benefits they are focused on is ease of doing business with their agency partners.

On the other side, 83% of agencies surveyed found the availability of automated insurer connectivity to be very important when selecting insurers to do business with. Ease of doing business is their number one focus as well.

Agencies and insurers must prioritize working with partners who are also focused on a digital future and create a connected ecosystem where data moves freely between all parties in the insurance lifecycle.

A Connected Ecosystem

Information exchange powered by digital technology is the pinnacle of connectivity. The more we work together through information exchange, the closer we become and the more likely we are to grow together. Evidence points to increased connectivity and collaboration as key factors in future growth and success in the insurance business.

Automated data exchange, seamless quoting and efficient appetite discovery are just a few examples of the activities that – like nutrients in the soil – power and strengthen our industry’s day-to-day business processes.

Cooperating to work together in the digital ecosystem, agencies and insurers can experience more effective workflows and interactions at each stage of the insurance lifecycle. With greater connectivity, you can expect to:

  • Align better on risks.
    Insurers can expect more-direct channels to market commercial lines appetite and products to agents looking to place new and renewal business.

  • Quote business more efficiently.
    Enable enhanced sales partnerships with a seamless, integrated quoting experience.

  • Collaborate on new business.
    Quickly identify growth opportunities and expand agency partnerships by efficiently evaluating agencies’ books of business.

  • Service your clients better.
    Discover partner connections not yet tapped, take advantage of continuous download and enable one-click inquiry to increase operational efficiency.

Learn how you can grow your business through greater connectivity and gain further insights in the latest Agency-Insurer Connectivity Report.

 

Footnotes:

1: https://www.nature.com/articles/28764
2: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/05/wood-wide-web-underground-network-microbes-connects-trees-mapped-first-time


Thad Bauer

Thad 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.