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How Will Emerging Tech Trends Influence the Agency Management System?

Posted on March 29, 2016 by Guy Weismantel

Digital Insurer Blog

Technology has slowly began to change a number of different industries. Terms like "the cloud," "big data," and "the internet of things" seem to be everywhere, but it's never really clear what they mean or--more importantly--how they can help someone run a business. The truth is, a lot of them are just buzzwords, but there are some that can help you in huge ways like managing clients, saving time, and saving money. To help you tell the difference, we cherry-picked a few technology trends we think will have the biggest impact on the insurance agency management system; a tool that will continue to shape the insurance industry.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

CRM systems, like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, help organize and manage client interactions. You can think of them as a log--every time someone at your company talks to one of your customers (or potential customers), it gets recorded into the CRM. In the same vein, you can also take notes and save data about your customers, like what stage in the sales cycle they're in or how close to being a customer they are, and even automate certain sales processes. For example, when someone on your team moves a customer to another category, the CRM can automatically send a specific email or create a to-do for someone else.

By making an insurance-specific CRM system, processes and workflows can be specific and customized to an agency. Basically, you can include your entire pipeline so that every step results in an action item, whether that's triggering a task for a CSR to get a quote, notifying a producer that a policy has been bound, or tasking someone to call a customer.

How will emerging tech trends influence the agency management system?

Persona-based Dashboards

Dashboards have become hugely popular in software the last few years because of our need for real-time information and the ability to understand the big picture quickly. You can think about them like the dashboard in your car--displaying all of the important numbers about how your company is operating. Their customization also means the ability to hone in on certain metrics, locations, or other variables. 

The introduction of persona-based dashboards means that people at different levels of your organization see different pieces of information. Your executives, producers, account managers, and CSRs all have different performance indicators and health metrics they need to track and monitor; having a certain display on their dashboard means they don't have to search around to find the information that applies specifically to them.

Reporting & Analytics Focus

Similar to the reason for our new-found fascination with dashboards, reporting and analytics are hugely important because of our thirst for information. But all the data in the world won't help if you can't figure out what it means or how it applies to your business. Reporting also deals with how your data is displayed and how accessible filtering is--that is, how easy it is to interpret your data and how easy it is to change what's being shown.

 

Newer reporting platforms are basically buffets of features and options. You can build out custom templates for your reports and save out templates in order to use them in the future. There are also ways to filter out data or hone in on particular pieces of your business, like specific regions or producers.

Open API's

An API ("application program interface") is a way for developers to connect different apps, programs or services. Think about it like a tunnel that connects two different companies you use for your business--Microsoft, Docusign, Birst--that also tells the data that it's transmitting where it belongs and what it can do.



How will emerging tech trends influence the agency management system?


By using API's, the data you get from different apps you use to drive your business can build on each other and your reports can be even more extensive. This also means that any new software in the agency management industry that uses APIs between their own technology and other programs can become exponentially more powerful by bringing in data from multiple sources. This is probably the most powerful example of where the insurance agency management system and technology in general is heading. It may seem like a small difference when comparing vendors, but choosing a partner that is going to help you execute today and provide the ability for you to plan for tomorrow, whatever that future looks like, is vital to the long term success of your business. 


CRMs, dashboards, APIs, and extensive analytics are all being used for one general purpose: to help business owners make better, more-informed decisions. With the ability to better manage and act on your lists of prospects and to gain more insights into how your business is doing at all times, anyone who takes advantage of these tech trends will be at the forefront of insurance agency management.

Guy Weismantel

Mr. Weismantel is the Vice President of Marketing at Vertafore. With 20 years of marketing and financial leadership in companies such as Microsoft, Business Objects, Baxter HealthCare, Caremark International, and Expedia, Guy’s career has focused on bringing differentiated products to market and providing the “compelling reason to purchase” for customers and prospects alike.


Guy has a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

 

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