The digital path forward is about creating greater productivity, intelligence, simplicity and value for agencies, insurers and insureds while keeping the mission of the industry at its core—to safeguard and protect what matters most in people’s lives.
A few months ago, I celebrated my first anniversary at Applied Systems—and what a crazy year it has been. I joined Applied with a technology background, bringing experience in helping other industries benefit from digitizing their business models. I was excited to bring my experience to an industry that has a massive opportunity to embrace innovation in an exciting new chapter of modernization.
Since joining, I have spent time with many of our customers, industry associations and other technology vendors to get a firm hold on the landscape. Here are some of the biggest forces at work I've seen:
- Agency consolidation is driving a need for technology to manage productivity and scalability.
- Rapid innovations in technology are creating more value for agencies but also introducing noise into the system, which can make it confusing to decide who to partner with, on what and when.
- New, born-in-the-cloud competitors are coming to market with low-cost business models, using simplicity and data in new ways to improve cycle times and customer experience.
- Customer expectations are being defined by other industries, and the omnichannel, mobile-first world demands that insurance serves customers where they want to be served.
Overnight, COVID-19 has shifted many of our realities and has only further accelerated these industry forces. The digital path forward for everyone brings with it lots of change. But whether you're just pushing the transformation envelope in light of the COVID catalyst or taking the next step to advance your digital strategy, this change holds opportunity for agents and insurers alike to:
Expand automation across roles. Producers can elevate their performance by using powerful sales and marketing automation tools. A powerful CRM provides information to all roles in customer service and sales, enabling producers to effectively build a sales pipeline and retain renewals.
Additionally, marketing automation, seamlessly integrated into the agency management system, enables producers to set up complex marketing campaigns easily and access content to share with customers to affirm their role as an adviser.
Enable simple, online interactions. One area to focus on is the application and renewal experience. Handling applications and renewals can take up over 25% of the average agency's productivity, typically requiring multiple applications and forms. However, an easy-to-use client portal that both staff and insureds can log into at any time to track and fill out application and renewal forms saves significant time. Rather than having paper or PDF renewal forms floating around an office or email inbox, a client portal stores and manages everything in a central location.
Bring the distribution channel closer together. At commercial lines agencies, the submission process is often manual and disparate, creating friction and lost time, expense and sales opportunities. Technology that automates these interactions and creates a digitally collaborative experience between insureds, agencies and insurers increases the velocity of the insurance application and renewal lifecycle while lowering costs and reducing the risk of errors and omissions.
The digital path forward is about creating greater productivity, intelligence, simplicity and value for agencies, insurers and insureds while keeping the mission of the industry at its core—to safeguard and protect what matters most in people's lives. And I couldn't be more excited to take this journey with this great industry for my next 365 days and beyond.
Taylor Rhodes is CEO of Applied Systems.