No More Gut Decisions
By Stephanie Swaim, Solutions Manager
They say being busy is good. Clearly, “they” never owned an independent insurance agency. If they had, then they would know that everyone wants to be more efficient and not be preoccupied with time consuming tasks when they could be building stronger customer relationships. However, very few have the visibility needed to grow their business' bottom line.
As a decision-maker, it's your responsibility to streamline your agency's processes, grow your business, and provide the best possible customer experience. Agents and principals who leverage workflow software have full visibility into their pipeline processes and agency data. “We know everything that's going on, every day—from the number of policy corrections to the efficiency of our account manager servicers. We can also see which clients are costing us the most money. We have real facts to support our business decisions,” said Julie Granhold Bowen, Miclette & Britt (BM&B) agency's business systems specialist manager.
Aligning the right people with the right tasks
As you transition from a small business to a larger organization, whether organically or through acquisition, it's a best practice to carve out time to re-evaluate your internal operations. This allows you to identify bottlenecks in your business processes and ensure that the right work is going to the right people. More importantly, it saves on cost by giving your employees the capacity to do more without adding additional staff. As Figure One indicates, agency automation decreases the number of recurring processes and service steps by 57%.
Prioritizing work that matters
If leveraged correctly, the right process improvement solution can help transform your workforce. When your agency is inconsistent with everyday processes such as renewals and endorsements, your insureds are the ones who suffer from your inconsistency. Prioritizing tasks to fit the individual talents of your staff allows you to leverage their unique abilities while creating a positive experience for your customers. As an added bonus, if an employee is relationship-driven, freeing up their time to maintain and build positive relationships ultimately increases overall work satisfaction.
Reporting on day-to-day operations
Choosing a solution like Vertafore's WorkSmart that provides visibility into your operations can make a world of difference. By moving away from gut decisions, and towards data-driven insights, you position your agency to achieve its growth goals, while keeping your customers at the forefront of your operations. “We all know that people can do the same job differently from department to department, or even within the same department. Establishing roles and workflow through WorkSmart makes us more standardized and more efficient" said Irene Torres, AVP, unit manager, IT, for Atlas Insurance.
Your agency is only as efficient as your ability to report on its day-to-day activities. At any moment, managers, supervisors, and principals should know exactly what work is in flight, who owns it, and where it's heading next. This will allow you to balance workloads, identify procedure inconsistencies, and make decisions on whether or not you need to hire additional staff.
Stephanie Swaim's Career Bio
Stephanie is a manager of solution consulting at Vertafore. Since 2008, Stephanie has worked with all areas and departments of the insurance agency from Commercial Lines, Personal Lines, Employee Benefits, Accounting and Surety. Her goal is to help them to excel using technology creating efficiencies and workflow optimization.