No one wants their insurance brokerage to fail. And yet, most insurance brokerages aren’t doing what it takes to make sales maintain a high retention rate, or solve client problems.
Instead, they’re stuck in a quagmire of corporate bromides and arbitrary rules about how business is to be done. Meanwhile, fintech startups are disrupting their business model, breaking all the rules, and overtaking them.
If you want to transform your employees and give them “super powers,” you need to deploy the right technology to empower them to provide better customer experiences and improve their performance.
The big, overarching, problem is that the industry is focused too heavily on products and not enough on the customers.
Brokerages need to become more customer centric by connecting “offline” agents with online customers. Today’s customers use the Internet to initiate the sales process and most brokers are not attempting to join them in the conversation. Instead, brokers are trying to force their own conversation onto the customer and control the narrative, which needless to say, doesn’t work.
What’s more, customers are increasingly attracted to self-service online portals where they can buy and manage their own policies. However, the advantage of agents is that most insurance products are very complex. And, even when they’re not complex, using them (and knowing in which contexts they’re appropriate) can be complex. This is where the skill of an agent comes into play and makes them necessary.
Product knowledge and practical knowledge of how to implement solutions is more valuable than ever. Although, instead of being a pushy salesman, the “super agent” is a true insurance advisor and consultant.
How To Empower Your Agents
Use a Cloud-based Platform
A cloud-based management platform allows agents to meet their customers where they are in the customer journey. It does this by giving them access to all the information they need, anywhere and at any time.
Let’s say an agent is selling auto insurance. A cloud-based platform allows agents to essentially carry their CRM with them in their pocket (on their smartphone) and conveniently meet potential clients in the field. They can also use cloud-based platforms to sell from the comfort of their living room at home.
Being able to access vital up-to-date customer and prospect data, like the individual’s current coverage, where they live, and how much insurance they might need at a moment’s notice, makes all the difference between closing a deal or not.
Minimize Back-Office Work By Going Digital
A lot of time is wasted on back office support and customer service tasks — especially repetitive ones that can (and should) be automated. For example, payment processing and certain policy change processes can be automated, saving time, money, and redirecting agent focus to more important tasks, like increasing sales.
A digital platform can automate pretty much everything that used to be done by hand. Every manual entry and calculation can be done by computers, so why not let the machines do it?
Leverage Data Analytics
Implementing an insurance management platform that gives you access to cutting-edge data collection, analytics, and reporting allows your agents and brokers to make better sales decisions. When you leverage data analytics, you can join the conversation going on inside the customer's head instead of guessing what he or she might be interested in.
For example, your prospect has an insurance need, but what is it?
You might reach out and ask a series of questions about whether they believe they have a need for life insurance, disability, auto, home, renter’s, or liability insurance. But, that can very easily come off as being pushy. By using data analytics, you can use existing data about your customer to piece together probable insurance needs.
If your client or prospect has children, there is probably a need for life insurance. If your prospect just moved into a new home, there will be a need for comprehensive homeowner’s insurance. And, if your customer’s vehicle has more than 100,000 miles on it, it might be time for a new one and...that means new car insurance to reflect a newer model.
Adapting To The New World: Next Steps
Now that you know what needs to be done, where do you go from here?
The first step is to assess where you are now with your brokerage. How many upgrades have you already implemented? If your agency or brokerage is very low-tech, and you’re operating entirely or mostly on legacy systems, you’ll want to contact a cloud-based management platform provider, like Novidea, to see how much it would cost to upgrade your current system. t
Make a plan to switch your current system to a new one over the next 12 months. Get expert guidance on making the transition and have a plan tailored for your brokerage, product line, and brokerage size.