Insurance CRM vs. Agency Management System

November 15, 2022

The differences, similarities, uses...and which one your agency needs!

So, you want to know the difference between an insurance customer relationship management (CRM) solution and an agency management system (AMS)—which one your agency needs, and what the uses are for each. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Here's the comparison of each:

A chart comparing agency management systems and customer relationship management software solutions.

As an independent agency, you likely already have one or both tools, are trying to decide which would be the best, or have at least heard of each.

As more technology options become available to the world of insurance, it becomes increasingly difficult to pick and choose between everything.

Insurance CRM vs. Agency Management System 

Recently, the main event has been a showdown between the insurance CRM and AMS.  

Like most matchups, there are die-hard fans for each opponent, those who are indifferent, and those who really don’t know what’s going on... what some might call bandwagoners.

Sizing up the competition

Before any great matchup, there’s a little backstory on each player—who they are, a couple stats, maybe a highlight reel—to get the crowd into it. A pre-show! Let’s get into today’s contenders for the insurance technology showdown. First up:

Insurance AMS 

The AMS is the tried and true, seasoned veteran in the ring. A champion of all things insurance software needs, the AMS has been the foundation of an independent agency’s technology for decades.  

A legacy like that isn’t built in a day, which is why the AMS is such a powerhouse tool. Perfected over the years little by little, the AMS has a variety of tools designed to help agencies perform daily tasks. With more capabilities of any other Insurtech solution, a lot of agencies ran successful businesses for years with an AMS as their only software tool.

Why should an insurance agency consider an AMS? 

  • They need to keep a record of all policies, notes, policy changes and other documentation for E&O and servicing needs. 
  • They need to process commissions. 
  • They need to manage tasks, accounts and contacts.  
  • They need access to ACORD forms for submission application. 
  • They need servicing functionality, like the ability to create, deliver and document the delivery of certificates and auto ID cards. 

Examples of agency management systems: 

  • AMS360  
  • QQCatalyst  

Insurance CRM 

The CRM is the new kid that came out of nowhere, rose through the ranks quickly, and whose capabilities were a little underestimated by some of the more seasoned competitors.

Until recently, the CRM was overlooked by many insurance agencies for various reasons. Thought of as an ‘extra’ product that was helpful—but not always essential—while being widely regarded as a sales/marketing tool, there wasn’t much buzz around CRMs for independent agencies.

Why should an insurance agency consider a CRM? 

  • They want to track the consumer lifecycle from becoming a prospect to leaving the agency (and coming back again).  
  • They want to identify operational bottlenecks or training opportunities.   
  • They want to automate monotonous sales and service tasks, emails and texts.  
  • They want real-time sales and service performance scoreboards. 

Examples of CRMs 

  • Hubspot 
  • Salesforce 
  • BetterAgency 
  • Infusionsoft 
  • AgencyZoom

Which is better: Insurance CRM or AMS?

Before we decide on the winner, let’s look at the features of each and compare how they match up.

A chart comparing features and tools of insurance CRMs and agency management systems.

It’s time for the showdown! Who will win & come out victorious as the best Insurtech solution for independent agencies like you?  

The winner of today’s matchup is (pause for effect) …  

Both.  

WHAT?! Now hold on, after reviewing the play, here’s what the referees have to say.  

Each solution is unlike the other, and yet they are both quite similar, which is what makes choosing just one so difficult.  

Both CRM and AMS win the (unofficial) title of "most essential software to run an independent agency" because using either by itself limits the potential of what it can do.  

While a CRM is great to track the lifecycle of an insurance customer, it lacks the ability to: 

  • Keep a real-time record of policies and policy changes  
  • Process commissions  
  • Manage tasks  
  • Service policies  
  • Protect against E&O exposure  

On the flip side, an AMS is designed to be your system of record, but it lacks the ability to:  

  • Complete customer journey tracking  
  • Smart automations for better lead management 
  • Improve sales and service performance through goal management  

A few things to consider

When purchasing an AMS and CRM together, there are a few other things to consider:  

Are they integrated?  

While you might love a good DIY project, when it comes to integrations, it might be best to leave that to the experts. That's why making sure that your AMS and CRM are pre-built with integrations that you’ll need is important!  

Otherwise, you’ll have to set up integrations yourself to connect your insurance tech, which isn’t always easy and usually comes at an additional cost.

Is your CRM insurance-specific? 

This might seem obvious, but a CRM that isn’t specifically designed for insurance agencies isn’t going to have all the capabilities that you need.  

While a general CRM will do the job initially, in the long run it isn’t the most practical for operating your agency at the highest efficiency. Eventually you’ll probably want to make the switch to an insurance-based CRM, and deal with re-learning, implementing, and transferring data.  

In this case, it’s best to go with an insurance specific CRM, to save you time, money, and productivity in the future! 

The best insurance agency software

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, sometimes people just can’t have everything they want. Whether the ‘no’ that nobody wants to hear comes from a budget cap, lack of staff, need vs want, etc.  

In this case, if you really can’t have both, which solution offers the most on its own? Again, there’s no clear winner here. It really depends on you and what your agency needs.  

That said, when it comes down to it a CRM can:   

  • Get you started  
  • Provide your agency with excellent customer/lead tracking  
  • Help you close leads and drive business  
  • Be used with other Insurtech tools that you may purchase in the future 

While an AMS has been the backbone of agencies for generations, the CRM is quickly becoming the new leader in the Insurtech world.