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The Power of System Integration: Pursuing a Digital Ecosystem in Your Agency

Quickly gathering, processing and transmitting information is essential in a world with near-instant communication. With the right tools, setting up a digital ecosystem is easy and effective.
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Successful businesses know that quickly gathering, processing and transmitting information is essential in a world with near-instant communication. Digital system integration is what makes rapid information-sharing possible.

With the right tools, setting up a digital ecosystem is easy and effective. Digitization and system integration streamlines processes, improves customer service, protects against errors & omissions and dramatically cuts costs. Up to 70% of insurance CEOs rely on these operational efficiencies to grow their business, according to PwC’s Insurance Trends 2019 report.

To reap these benefits, insurance providers must leverage the integration of key areas of customer service systems and business development systems.

Customer Service Systems

More than 70% of customers expect businesses to change their service based on customer interactions, according to a Salesforce survey. Too often, agents and customer service representatives are keeping customer interaction data in siloed spaces, missing critical opportunities to improve service based on data.

Insurance agencies can improve service with integrated systems such as:

1) Marketing automation to stay in touch with clients and prospects. Leverage marketing automation to set up pre-generated emails to welcome customers, remind them about renewals and celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Automation also helps agencies keep up regular engagement to welcome new leads, nurture current prospects and retain customers.

2) A client portal to connect directly with customers. Through a client portal, customers can view policies, access FAQs, make payments and submit requests directly to agents 24/7.

3) An agency mobile app to help agencies help their customers on the go. Mobile use has grown exponentially in the last decade and continues to expand. With a branded mobile app, insureds can instantly access policy info, obtain virtual ID cards and submit claims from their mobile device.

4) Email and texting to immediately connect all prospect and client interactions to their constituent profiles. With texting and email integrations, every message sent is saved, building a complete constituent profile and improving E&O.

Business Development Systems

Companies with data collection and analysis processes are twice as likely to be more profitable than average, according to McKinsey & Company. With an integrated digital ecosystem, agencies have a wealth of data at their fingertips.

Some of the essential systems for business development include:

1) A customer relationship manager (CRM) to leverage agency management system constituents for cross-selling, referrals, and more. With an integrated CRM, agencies can set up outreach campaigns for audience groups and create targeted messaging to increase reach and response.

2) Comparative raters to quickly close the deal. With an integrated rater, agencies can leverage the data gathered through marketing automation and other systems to target the best offer for an individual prospect.

3) A proposal creator with eSignature to seamlessly process new business and update policies. Combined with comparative raters, proposal creators can create multiple offers almost instantly and, along with eSignature, can cut processing time from days to hours.

4) An integrated accounting system to streamline financial data. An integrated accounting system takes advantage of the synergies of entering financial data and leveraging its in-depth analysis of agency financials. Investment in an integrated accounting system is an essential part of a well-managed agency—and a well-managed agency acts as an annuity for its owners.

5) Business analytics to optimize the digital ecosystem’s data. This is an analytics-driven age where data is currency. The more an agency can collect and analyze, the better. With data analytics, agencies can target niche markets, optimize marketing and accurately predict valuation, among other impactful goals.

Integrate Smart: What to Look For

Effective digital integrations require research and planning. All systems should talk to each other—there is little value in systems that don’t simultaneously sync. Each system needs to be easy to update, allowing it to stay continually relevant and able to keep up with other system updates.

Lastly, there are many well-made systems out there, but be wary of losing efficiencies by using multiple vendors. Look for one provider who can check multiple boxes. With a single provider, agencies can be sure systems sync and can count on a single point of contact for training and support. Armed with this knowledge, agencies can leverage the benefits of a digital ecosystem for years and generations to come.

Bryce Lee is director of product management at Strategic Insurance Software (SIS), the company behind innovative, web-based agency management system suite Partner Platform. Lee is an AUGIE Ambassador and highly involved with the Agents Council for Technology (ACT).