The world, in case you hadn’t noticed, has changed pretty dramatically in the last fifteen years. Technology has advanced at an astonishing pace and the insurance industry has needed to keep up. For many in the industry, however, this has not been the case. All too often do we find that brokers are still using old technology; clinging to the methods of a time long gone.
Yes, the industry and the insurance software market has utilised IT systems and insurance software of one kind or another since, at least, the 1980s. But this adoption was founded upon practicality and internal organisation; processing claims and storing data on large files in even larger computers.
But technological advancement is not merely about improving office efficiencies. The internet explosion of the late 90s, the evolution of mobile technology and the Cloud; all of these developments have changed the very fabric of our world. Technology today is ubiquitous, permeating into almost every action and interaction. The way we work, the way we live, the way we communicate.
In order to keep up, insurance brokers require technology that is similarly all-encompassing.
Adapting To The Needs Of The Market
The time was when insurance agents would be highly visible salespeople, out and about in their locality. They’d call to your home, impress with their product knowledge and sell their policies directly to you, face-to-face. The top agents were those with a knowledge as irrepressible as their urgency to get you to sign on the dotted line.
That’s not how people buy insurance (or anything else, for that matter) anymore.
The internet drove customers online, and mobile technology has enabled us to search and purchase policies from anywhere, directly from our smartphones. Typically, this might arise in the form of an online insurance aggregator. An enquiry form embedded into a price-comparison site, that will process your info and present a list of the best policies available.
In so doing, by-passing the broker, altogether. However, this type of model is exceptionally price-centric; reducing the decision-making process simply to whichever policy is cheapest.
Is that really what we wish for?
As a broker, therefore, to remain competitive in such a fierce market, you need to be able to demonstrate a seamless and simple process to the point of sale, with products that meet the criteria demanded from your client base. With an easy, transparent after-sales and claims management service, adding value to your product, trust in your services and loyalty in your brand.
So, what should you be looking for in your modern insurance software?
One of the key issues that has confronted insurance brokers in regard to their software has been the difficulty in moving away from legacy systems. Hardware and software installed to meet the needs of bygone days, but unable to match the new market demands or keep pace with ever changing innovation.
The advent of cloud technology has changed the way software is both developed and delivered. Spawned from cloud technology has been the growth of software as a service (SaaS). An innovation that lets you download software that you require directly from a cloud server, without having to purchase a licence and install on your existing system.
This means that not only can you tailor the software to meet your requirements, but also that it is always updated to the latest version. You need to be looking for the best insurance software providers in the industry. One of the top ones are Acturis, Transactor GSL and SchemeServe. And key to that success is the fact that our system is always evolving, always meeting and exceeding the needs of our brokers, the insurers and their customers. Delivering this service through the cloud ensures that everyone has instant and constant access to the most up-to-date technology available.
Customers expect a smooth, straight-forward approach to your operations and processes, and the insurance suite you use should be able to meet this critical requirement. Creating a seamless flow of processes through the lifecycle of a policy through automated systems, not only increases the productivity and efficiency of the broker’s operation, but enhances the customer experience, ensuring their requirements are met throughout.
Using the cloud insurance software technology as the model, the process automates the rating of schemes, providing a safe, secure and compliant platform in which to collect the relevant data from which the underwriting process can provide an accurate quote. The process exists throughout the life of the policy, be it from processing payments through to automated renewal notices.
Connecting With Customers
The bedrock of old-school insurance brokerages was their relationships with clients. It is a misconception to think that customer relations takes a backseat when our operations are run online. On the contrary.
Business and communication may have moved online, but positive relationship building remains a key selling point for brokers in a very keen market. What your insurance software suite should facilitate is the means by which you liaise, reach out and maintain these client relationships on the platforms in which they are utilised the most.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools are a vital component of any online insurance service. In a sense this can act as the beating heart of your database. The location for all the business critical information and details about your clients.
CRM tools are not new solutions, and chances are that brokers will have been using one version or another for eons. However, what can set your service apart is in the way that your CRM integrates with your insurance suite as a whole. Customer data is important for your business in developing insight into client needs, however, equally important is the ability to engage and maintain appropriate contact with your customers, and they with you.
This might be in the form of automated emails, sending relevant information and documentation throughout the life-cycle of the policy. Or having the ability to pull down the required data stored to generate effective reporting.
Efficient Business Management
Fundamentally, to drive a business in which you can effectively and profitably sell insurance into a modern marketplace, you need a software solution that can drive the business efficiently; enhancing productivity and seamlessly managing the sales and support of the products and schemes you’re selling.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an insurer, a broker or a managing general agent (MGA), inefficiencies within your business systems can significantly reduce your ability to deliver to your customers.
You may have a skilled and diligent workforce and a range of market-leading schemes, but if your old technology slows down the speed of your underwriting process, then it’s more likely than not that you’ll leak customers and lose ground in a fast-moving market. Your business management process should also be up to the highest standards (as you can see from this case study).
The software in your business must underpin a working environment that’s geared towards cost-effective, innovative delivery of your products and services. In a world in which decisions and purchases can be made at the touch of a button from any location on a range of devices, the ability to be able to match that speed of delivery has never been more important.
Blending Productivity With A Smooth Customer Journey
The two vital elements in any business seeking to grow, are to protect margins and to increase the bottom line. Laborious, long-winded processes are a frustration for customers and employees alike. This is where the introduction of market-leading, cutting-edge technology, delivered as SaaS brings levels of efficiency and cost-effectiveness previously unheard of. Big and respected insurance organisations like Lloyds are already heavily migrating to cloud solutions.
Automating processes through tools such as cloud-based rating engines, report generation and claims management systems are the means by which to bring insurers and brokerages into the modern market-place. Tasks that had grown time-consuming with legacy systems; impacting on productivity and damaging the ability to focus on sales and the always important aspects of customer care.
Indeed, having the facility within a modern, cloud-based software system to deliver automated processes ensures swift, efficient and transparent customer service through the sale and subsequent life-cycle of the policy.
The digital era has changed the way we live and the way in which we shop for the products and services we require. Today’s consumer, with habits influenced by the customer experience of Amazon, of AirBnB or Uber, make purchases based on real-time reviews and convenience.
The Insurance Market Is No Exception
The ability to engage with customers through their mobiles, their tablets and other online avenues, to deliver policies that meet needs, based upon incisive insight. To allow policy holders instant access to simple policy notes, available through the cloud without need of sifting through files and paperwork. To start claims processes instantly, bringing resolution with previously unthought of swiftness.
This is the reality of the market that insurers and brokers must embrace to thrive and survive. Driven by the ever-evolving technology that modern insurance software systems will deliver. For more insurance software providers you can check this list: http://www.capterra.com/insurance-agency-software/.