To say that the insurance industry has transformed is an understatement. One of the most visible areas it has changed is with technology. From the back office systems you use in your agency, to the carrier company infrastructure, technology now plays a part in everything that agents do. And that leaves many of us wondering, is technology our friend or foe?
Multi-line agencies have had to scramble to keep up with the demand of learning how to communicate with new carrier systems. As an agent, you may feel like the minute you actually felt competent and comfortable working with your in-house network, something changes, and you have to upgrade or make major changes, all in the name of progress.
Let’s face it, in this ever-changing landscape, agents are on the defense. Maybe you’ve been digging in your heels, vowing not to learn yet another new system. But you still need a way to communicate with carriers and customers alike.
In order for your multi-line agency to run smoothly, all your communications systems must be integrated: client management, policy issuance, underwriting communication and agency business management. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was one system that could access your carrier’s mainframe via personal computer using a standard software program?
But so far, no consideration has been given to long-term strategy regarding technology integration. Simply put: the insurance industry is behind the times when it comes to technology integration. As agents, we need the systems that will enable us to compete 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We need to communicate quickly and easily, so we can get on with the business of selling policies.
Your customers, thanks to technology, now have so many other choices for where and how they spend their insurance dollars. For your policyholders to remain loyal, you must be able to give them the service that they would expect from any vendor: efficient and accurate issuance of policies, bills, and claims, strong communication and value added services.
Now, here comes the good news! Today, there are many companies working on a solution that will allow local agencies to communicate with many carriers in the same language.
It’s time for multi-line agents to truly embrace technology. High tech companies typically spend at least 10 percent of revenue on research and development. We can follow their lead by doing due diligence in the area of technology. Don’t be afraid of technology, your business needs it. But spend some time researching your options and create a strategy that will serve you well down the road. You may save thousands of dollars by creating a forward-thinking technology plan that will assist your agency in growing and prospering in the coming years.