To maximize efficiency and improve the customer experience, carriers need to empower their independent agents to bridge the crucial gap between carriers and consumers.
The digital revolution has left no industry untouched, and insurance is no exception: from artificial intelligence and automation, to wearable technology and mobile devices, the insurance landscape is slowly but surely changing. In particular, clients have come to expect a more efficient experience as technology continues to optimize the purchasing journey. In response, many carriers are beginning to leverage big data and invest in technologies to streamline their customer management systems, explains PropertyCasualty360.
Still, consumers simultaneously rely on and prefer agents when navigating the complex world of insurance, and for this reason, carriers need to invest in their agents the same way they do their clients.
Empowering independent agents is especially important considering they accounted for 67% of net premiums written in 2013, according to the insurance information institute. Carriers therefore stand to make significant sales gains by giving their independent agents the tools they need to thrive, and lead conversion is a particularly good place to start — the faster a carrier can turn around an agent’s lead, the more everyone benefits.
As most agents can attest, there are simply too many manual steps involved in this process. Agents fill out customer information, often on paper forms which subsequently have to be reformatted and entered into a management platform. Frequently, these platforms are not uniform between carriers, so at every juncture — from submission to approval to quoting — the information must be converted to fit each system, before being returned to the agent and finally the consumer. And because agents are usually working with multiple clients and multiple carriers at the same time, these little delays build up very quickly. Given that consumers value efficiency and convenience over a higher quality product, it’s critical that carriers work to eliminate any bottlenecking.
Carriers should therefore be listening to agents’ needs, and actively help them improve. Research indicates that the top performing sellers tend to feel well-supported by the organizations they work for: those who meet or exceed their quotas are 12% more likely to rate their workplace as ‘excellent’ than those who fail to meet quotas. A further 57% of the highest performers agree or strongly agree that their managers play an integral role in achieving their sales goals.
Carriers can and should assume manager-like responsibilities, empowering agents to reach their fullest potential. In this day and age, that means investing in smarter technology. PropertyCasualty360 highlights the growing promise of smart forms that ease the lead conversion process for consumers and agents alike. These adaptive forms can anticipate and preemptively answer any questions a prospect might have, and can also be automatically filled with customer information.
By making it as convenient and efficient as possible for agents to complete these administrative tasks, carriers incentivize independent agents to bring in their higher profile — and highly profitable — business.