2020 served as a turning point for insurance agency technology. Agents had to quickly adapt to working remotely and using digital channels to serve clients.
Jeff Roy, CEO of Excalibur Insurance, sees this time as an opportunity for independent agents to embrace digital technology.
“This year accelerated the independent agent channel five years ahead in six months,” he says. “I think it’s been a good catalyst to get the insurance industry moving to adopt more tech.”
To help independent agents adapt to digital, Liberty Mutual and Safeco’s Agent for the Future program put together two e-books and article series full of practical advice. The second e-book, Digital, Accelerated Vol. 2: The Expert Guide for Independent Agents, highlights advice from insurance agents and industry experts on how agencies can level up their digital tools:
Adopt technology that lets your staff work from anywhere
Sara Hoffman, CFO and Owner of RSS Insurance Services, says she had not been a big proponent of remote work in the past. However, having her staff work from home for several months changed her mind. Now, her agency will probably always be a hybrid of in-person and remote work.
A key part of that transition was getting the right digital tools in place. Essential tools include:
- A cloud-based agency management system (AMS) so agency staff can access client information from anywhere.
- A voice over IP (VoIP) phone system to allow staff to make calls from anywhere without having to use their personal cell phones.
- Video tools for staff meetings and client communications.
- Increased cybersecurity measures, such as a virtual private network (VPN).
Use data to make wise decisions
Today’s digital tools give agents more data than ever before. Jeff Roy stresses the importance of using data as a guide to constantly improve agency processes. He suggests keeping an eye on data points such as response times, close ratios, cost per lead, acquisition cost, retention rate and more.
Knowing those metrics gives you a baseline from which to improve your agency, he explains. “By learning those numbers and looking at that data over time, you can drive costs down. You can figure out how to improve conversion rates and make sure you’re driving the kinds of leads that convert.”
Customize digital communications
Clients want agents to cater to their unique needs, and digital tools make it easier for agents to do so.
This starts with marketing and continues all the way through sales and service.
For example, Dshanya Reese, Brand Marketing Manager for Watkins Insurance Group, uses digital tools to craft customized marketing content. She uses tools such as AnswerThePublic, Google Trends and social media analytics to define digital marketing personas, track search trends and reach clients via their preferred digital channel.
These are just a few of the ways agents can use digital tools to increase efficiency, grow their agencies and better serve their clients. Now is the time for agents to invest in agency technology. Agents that proactively adopt digital tools will be better set up to grow and thrive in the future.
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2020 Year-End Edition
Despite 2020 being one of the most irregular years of our lifetimes, both personally and professionally, Smart Choice, our agents and carrier partners, have managed to succeed together. From double-digital revenue growth to our company's highest contingency sharing year to date, we and our partners have hit some really incredible milestones this year. Check out what else we achevied together in the 2020 Issue 6 of Smart Choice Magazine.