A Woman behind a glassdoor reading a tablet

2017 Digital Technology Adoption Trends

October 12, 2017

by Reid French
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

From new industries to new economies, technology is changing the way we live and work. All of us are experiencing a more connected life in a more connected world. Those connected experiences are impacting the expectations of insurance consumers across our industry. To meet these expectations, our industry must deliver a connected experience between all participants in the insurance ecosystem. This means greater connectivity and simultaneous exchange of information between all key insurance stakeholders — agents, insurers, policyholders and prospective clients.

Charles Darwin once said, “We don’t have to be the strongest or the smartest to survive – we just have to be the most adaptable.” To ensure a lasting and profitable future, agencies and brokerages must integrate digital connectivity into daily operations, which requires adopting and leveraging modern technologies.

How well are agencies adapting to the digital transformation of insurance?
For the second consecutive year, Applied Systems has released insights from our Annual Digital Agency Survey, which reveals the latest industry-wide digital technology adoption benchmarks for independent agencies and overall industry progression toward digital transformation.

While the independent insurance agency channel has progressed in its adoption of technology, this year’s results indicate there is still considerable opportunity ahead to recognize the full potential of being a digital agency. Regardless of where your agency ranks compared to your industry peers, understanding the role digital technology plays in a world more connected than ever before is the first step to ensuring your business thrives today, tomorrow and in the years ahead.

Key findings from this year’s report

  • 44% is the average score for digital technology adoption for an independent agency in 2017
  • 144% higher revenue per employee is realized by agencies that have digitally transformed

Agency Management System

  • 30% more revenue per employee is realized by agencies that leverage an integrated management system
  • 25% of respondents do not have complete visibility into all departments within one management system

Insurer Connectivity

  • 17% higher revenue per employee is realized by agencies that leverage insurer connectivity to access markets and automate information exchange
  • 89% increase in eDocs and Messages download year over year

Mobile

  • 9% higher revenue per employee is realized by agencies that leverage client self-service portals
  • 4% higher revenue per employee is realized by agencies that provide clients mobile access to policy information

The Cloud

  • 35% higher revenue per employee is realized by agencies that reduce time and expenses by managing IT within the cloud
  • 66% of respondents rely on the cloud to host their agency management system

Data Analytics

  • 40% more revenue per employee is realized by agencies that utilize data-driven insights when making business decisions
  • 77% of respondents do not use a business intelligence tool

To learn more about how a digital agency delivers on the core promise of insurance – to safeguard and protect what matters most in people’s lives – read the 2017 Digital Technology Adoption Benchmarks and Trends.

Download the Full Report >

Reid FrenchReid French, Chief Executive Officer at Applied Systems, is responsible for the company’s overall business strategy and operational execution. He also plays a prominent role in developing and fostering relationships throughout the Applied community. French came to Applied in 2011, after serving as chief operating officer at Intergraph Corporation, a global company at the forefront of geospatial and computer-aided design software. Early in his career, he was a strategic planner for the Walt Disney Company, and he managed investment banking transactions in the technology sector for Robinson-Humphrey. French holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Davidson College and a master’s in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. He sits on the board of directors for Applied, Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) and The Lovett School in Atlanta.

Applied Net 2017: Week in Review

September 28, 2017

by Applied Communications
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

As more than 3,400 attendees can attest, Applied Net is THE forum to learn about the latest insurance technologies and strategies to prepare your business for digital transformation.

If you missed the world’s largest gathering of independent insurance agents and brokers in Vegas this year, all is not lost. Here’s a recap of Applied Net 2017, as experienced and reported by some of this year’s attendees.

Getting Ready for the Week

Whether catching the flight to Las Vegas, picking up a conference badge and those ever-important ribbons at the registration desk, or connecting with new and old Applied Net friends at the opening night reception, excitement was in the air as attendees descended upon the MGM Grand Las Vegas.  

Inspiring Keynotes

Tuesday’s opening keynotes set the tone for the week ahead. First, Applied Systems CEO Reid French took the stage to update us on the state of the insurance industry, and what digital transformation means for independent agencies and brokers. Then, one of the world’s greatest leaders, Admiral William H. McRaven, shared what his experiences as a Navy SEAL have taught him about leadership amidst turmoil, the power of teamwork and initiative, and the importance of never giving up.

On Wednesday, Michael Howe, SVP of Product Management, unveiled the latest Applied Digital Agency product innovations and roadmap, while Kris Hackney, EVP of Customer Experience, discussed how investing in people, process and technology can enable you to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Finally, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, shared how customer service, company culture and community can be successful business drivers.

Time to Learn

This year’s conference included more user-led education sessions than ever before. With more than 220 sessions and 11 different tracks to choose from, there was something for everyone. Some of the most popular sessions included Applied Epic Tips and Techniques, Improving the Use of Data in Your Everyday Operations, and 5 Ways to Transform Your Agency’s Digital Marketing.

Making Connections

As our alumni know well, Applied Net is the best place to network with agents and brokers from across the industry. We kicked off the week with great roundtable discussions at the Applied Net Networking Roundtables, where attendees chatted with new and old friends about topics of mutual interest. After sessions, attendees enjoyed exploring the Applied Net Exchange floor to network with peers, connect with exhibitors and test drive the latest product innovations.

Evening Events

In Las Vegas, everything is bigger and better. After full days of learning and networking, it was time to let loose! From being mesmerized by the daring acrobatics of KÀ by Cirque du Soleil to dancing the night away in one of the hottest nightclubs on the Las Vegas Strip, Applied Net 2017’s evening events showed us all how to have some fun, Vegas style.

Final Goodbyes

As the week came to a close, it was time to reflect on our time in Las Vegas and think about the knowledge and experiences we would be bringing home.

Looking Ahead

Excited for Applied Net 2018 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville? Make sure you’re a part of it. Register now to get the lowest rates.

If you experienced the excitement of Applied Net 2017 first-hand, leave a comment and tell us about your favorite part of the week.

 

 

IVANS Index: Premium Renewal Rate Change for August

September 14, 2017

by Matt Foran
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

IVANS Index is a data-driven report of current conditions and trends for premium renewal rate change of the most placed commercial lines of business in the insurance industry. Data collected in the IVANS Index enables insurers to determine competitive rates and the most profitable lines of business for investment. To learn more about IVANS Index, read IVANS Index: Get Ahead of Renewal Pricing for Your Clients.

Auto insurance losses a cause of pain for most insurers over the past 18 months
Fitch ratings has stated that “U.S. commercial auto insurance has evolved into a chronically underperforming product segment.” Increased losses have been attributed to more miles driven as the economy recovers and gas prices remain low, distracted driving caused by cell phones, higher repair costs, and higher bodily injury severity.

Despite consistent and worsening product performance results, commercial auto premium renewal rates have remained steady since the beginning of the year. In July, rates moved above 3% and remained above 3% in August. One of the largest drivers of the increase has been California. As noted in the graph above, California commercial auto is on the move upwards. Many other large states have remained steady.

Will California be an early leader that other states follow? With Harvey impacting Texas and Irma likely causing substantial losses in Florida, it is likely that other states may be following soon.

Download the full IVANS Index Q2 Report >

Matt Foran, VP and general manager of IVANS Market Appetite, a division of Applied Systems, is responsible for the creation and strategic execution of the cutting edge distribution platform built for the commercial insurance industry. Prior to his current role, Matt was the CEO of EvoSure, which was acquired by Applied Systems in September 2015. Before co-founding EvoSure, Matt was the director of strategy for Zurich Specialty Products, a $2.5 billion business unit of Zurich Insurance Group, where he worked closely with the CEO and Senior Management to set overall strategic direction, develop and execute financial and operational plans, and lead execution of strategic initiatives. Previously, Matt served as assistant vice president of Marsh USA, with responsibilities including the initial formation of the Marsh & McLennan Agency, the Marsh Select Model, the restructuring of Marsh USA, and was a broker for healthcare and Fortune 500 firms. Matt was selected as a Global Rising Star by Reactions Magazine in 2011 and named in Insurance Business America magazine’s Hot 100 list for 2015.

Technology & Insurance: Yes, They Can – and Should – Coexist

August 31, 2017

by Matt Simon
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

I am an insurance advisor in a small town agency in Ohio with five office locations, all located in rural areas. We’ve been around since 1920, so every stereotype of legacy systems, mentality and “the old way of doing things” have certainly been thrown at us over the years.  However, throughout our history, we’ve never lost sight of our “why”. We exist today because we take care of people: our clients, our associates, and our partner insurance companies.

But don’t interpret that as complacency. Or an old-school agency stuck in its ways.

The fact is, we’re making major investments in technology, but not because we believe technology will replace the relationships we’ve spent nearly 100 years cultivating.

Quite the contrary.

We believe that to truly fulfill our purpose of taking care of people, technology must integrate into our culture to enhance the relationship we have with our clients. And every technology we implement must free up our associates’ time to do what they do best – what no technology will ever do – helping people protect what matters most in life.

It was this aha! moment when we realized that embarking on a path to becoming a digital agency was not only necessary, but in complete alignment with our cause.

So here’s what we’ve done.

We identified three purposes for technology within our organization:

  1. Empower our associates – This is our internal technology strategy
  2. Better manage relationships with our existing clients to improve retention – This is our external technology strategy
  3. Develop new opportunities by finding clients aligned with our values not yet on our radar – This is our inbound technology strategy

Internal Technology
We needed a solution that not only helped our associates take better care of our clients, but was easy and efficient to use, so that they’re spending less time on data entry and more time on communication.

For us, that solution is Applied Epic. We can leverage technologies directly in our agency management system – download, workflows, reporting, CRM, anytime/anywhere access – to free up more time for our advisors to actually advise our clients.

Applied Epic provides us with a holistic view of our five agencies, allows us to manage the sales cycle for our producers, and when this cloud solution is combined with the power of Applied Mobile, it positions us as an organization desirable to potential associates, especially millennials, that want the same tech integration in their professional life as what they depend on in their personal life.

External Strategy
While we firmly believe no technology will ever replace the relationship agents have with their clients, we stand firm behind the belief that it’s absolutely critical for us to implement technology solutions that make our clients’ lives easier.

A good example: We’re using Applied CSR24 so that clients have anytime access to their policy information, and can utilize this solution for the more transactional workflows where they’d prefer to deal with a technology solution versus a human.

The client wins because they utilize a technology they’re not only comfortable with, but actually favor instead of picking up the phone to call us.

Our advisors win because it’s one less data entry task that needs to be completed, and now they have more time to spend on the challenges that require brain power instead of computing power.

Inbound Marketing
We’ve deployed a dual approach to our inbound strategy:

  1. Content Marketing – we’re constantly developing content that speaks directly to the types of clients we’re trying to attract, measuring and analyzing the results with tools accessed via HubSpot, and adjusting as necessary. And it’s working. In 2016 alone, $43,277 in revenue was directly attributable to our digital presence.
  2. Partnering with organizations that share our vision of technology enhancing the value of an independent agent. For example, we partner with TrustedChoice and Agency Nation to harness the power of connecting the right insurance buyer with the right agent.

Conclusion
This is by no means a complete list of everything we’re doing, or each technology we’re using. But it certainly touches on those making the most significant impact to our business today, and perhaps more importantly, what we see as critical to our future.

Two takeaways I’d love for you to get from this article:

  1. We didn’t make all these investments overnight. This digital path is one we’ve been on for the better part of seven years now. And we’re definitely not perfect. I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes over the years. But we test, implement, learn and revise as necessary. And if we, an agency that’s been around since 1920, can do it, so can you.
  2. You don’t have to go it alone. Once we identified where we wanted to go from a digital perspective, I’ve been amazed at the number of strategic partners that have aligned so well with our purpose.

Let’s stop viewing technology as the major disruptor to our industry, and start leveraging its power to do what we’ve done so well for hundreds of years – advising our clients. After all, I’d love to have a business that my son can not only perpetuate one day (he’s only 3 ½ years old so I have some time), but one that he’s passionate about in an industry that’s thriving.

Who’s with me?

To learn more about becoming a digital agency, download the eBook now.

Matt Simon has been a Licensed Insurance Advisor with Hill & Hamilton Insurance, an industry leading, independent insurance agency headquartered in Ohio, since 2006.  Prior to joining the team at H&H, he worked as an Underwriter with a regional insurance company located in Columbus, Ohio. Matt is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and a Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), having successfully completed the rigorous coursework and exams to earn these prestigious designations. He’s the Vice President at H&H, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ohio Insurance Agents Association and the Associated Risk Managers of Ohio. In 2013, Matt was awarded and recognized as the National Young Insurance Agent of the Year.

40 Days to Applied Net: 10 Favorite Things from Last Year

August 17, 2017

by Applied Communications
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

There are only 40 days until Applied Net 2017, and we are preparing for the biggest and best conference yet. As the largest meeting of independent insurance professionals approaches, we’re highlighting attendees’ 10 favorite things about Applied Net. As you get ready for this year’s conference, be on the lookout for all of these exciting things and more at Applied Net 2017.

Monday’s Pre-Conference Program

Kicking off the week, Monday’s Pre-Conference program included valuable educational sessions and networking opportunities. Last year’s Executive Management Program featured sessions highlighting best practices for digital businesses, new customer service technologies and strategies to create a digital sales culture. Attendees also took advantage of the Continuing Education sessions, providing a way for U.S.-based agencies to meet their state licensing requirements while gaining additional education on niche topics such as cyber liability and insurance ethics. Wrapping up Monday night, attendees enjoyed the Welcome Reception where they reconnected with peers and friends in network roundtables and explored the Applied Net Exchange.

Opening Video

Technology is changing our world and the insurance industry is no different. Last year’s opening video highlighted how technology is connecting the business of insurance, setting the tone for the conference as innovative and inspiring.

200+ Educational Sessions

With more than 200 sessions taught by subject matter experts and industry leaders, last year delivered attendees many opportunities to bring valuable insights back to their businesses to leverage for growth. The sessions provided attendees with critical insights regarding their Applied technology investments, industry trends and best practices. Session tracks represented a variety of interests including mobility, data analytics, the cloud and more.

All-New Session Formats

For the first time, Applied Net 2016 offered new session formats. During Case Study sessions, attendees had the opportunity to hear from their peers about recent projects completed with Applied technology. Attendees could participate in Roundtables for energetic discussions around a particular topic to encourage informal learning. Lastly, Peer Spotlights enabled attendees to share experiences on a recent business challenge or opportunity, what they did to address it, and what they learned from it.

Applied Net Exchange

Attendees experienced the digital technology enabling agencies and brokerages to seamlessly connect with insurers and insureds. Attendees also had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Applied software experts, demo the latest Applied innovations and network with peers, vendors and insurers on the latest technologies.

Applied Developments

Applied is committed to providing innovative technologies to drive productivity and profitability within the insurance industry. Last year, Reid French, chief executive officer at Applied, revealed the initiative for 24/7 Applied technology support.

Pinnacle Award Winners

Every year at Applied Net, five Applied customers are awarded the Pinnacle Award, our highest customer honor. This award recognizes a select group of Applied Systems customers for their valuable partnership with our company and visionary usage of Applied software. On-stage last year, Reid French recognized our winners: Central Insurance Companies, First West, The Horton Group, Insurance Office of America, KFSA Insurance Agency.

Keynote Speakers

Attendees at Applied Net 2016 were awed by an impressive lineup of keynote speakers including Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, Holly Hoffman, Disney Institute Facilitator, Applied Systems CEO Reid French, EVP of Customer Experience Kris Hackney, and SVP of Product Management Michael Howe. During his keynote, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger captivated attendees with his story of how he safely guided US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency landing in New York City’s Hudson River. He also shared insights on how to manage unprecedented crisis and the opportunity technology affords individuals and businesses today to prepare for the unexpected.

Applied Net Mobile App

The Applied Net app provided attendees with everything they needed to know about Applied Net 2016. With detailed conference and education session schedules, venue maps, daily updates, and a lively discussion board, all the conference info needed was easily accessible from a smartphone or tablet. Attendees could even connect with other conference attendees, compete in the conference game for a chance to win amazing prizes, and check in by posting on the daily news feed.

Networking Events

Attendees at Applied Net 2016 enjoyed some of the most exciting events yet. Starting at Universal Studios Florida, Applied reserved The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and the New York Streets sets at Universal Studios Florida. On Thursday, Jake and Elwood performed at the world-famous House of Blues in Disney Springs, wrapping up a legendary Applied Net with an unforgettable performance.

You don’t want to miss Applied Net 2017!

This year’s Applied Net conference is anticipated to be the largest and most exciting yet with more than 3,000 insurance professionals in attendance. Attendees will have access to valuable networking events and more than 220 education sessions, including leadership programs, such as the Executive Management program and the all-new Emerging Leaders program. Additionally, Admiral William H. McRaven, Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, and Applied Systems CEO, Reid French, among others, will provide keynotes discussing industry trends and inspiring transformation within the industry. Don’t miss what is sure to be an unforgettable event at Applied Net 2017.

Register Now

IVANS Index: Second Quarter Continues to Show Positive Results

August 03, 2017

by Matt Foran
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

IVANS Index is a data-driven report of current conditions and trends for premium renewal rate change of the most placed commercial lines of business in the insurance industry. Data collected in the IVANS Index enables insurers to determine competitive rates and the most profitable lines of business for investment. To learn more about IVANS Index, read IVANS Index: Get Ahead of Renewal Pricing for Your Clients.

Q2 Premium Renewal Rate Change Remains Consistent
Premium renewal rate change across the industry remained consistent for the quarter, with greater variability experienced by General Liability and Workers’ Compensation insurance. The IVANS Index Q2 results show a slight uptick across Business Owner’s Policy, Commercial Property, and Workers’ Compensation compared to Q1. However, Workers’ Compensation moved back into negative territory at the end of Q2 following positive territory in May.

This quarter’s key findings include:

  • Business Owner’s Policy (BOP): Quarter premium renewal rate change averaged 4.21%, representing an increase over last quarter’s average of 3.89%. BOP premium renewal rate change finished the quarter at 4.11% in June
  • Commercial Property: Q2 reversed the downward premium renewal rate change trend of Q1, with rates moving to 3.52% in June from an average of 2.66% in Q1. 
  • Workers’ Compensation: Q2 experienced the first positive premium renewal rate change of 2017 in May at 0.58%, but quarterly average remained in negative territory at -0.16%.

Premium renewal rate change for Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) averaged 4.21% in Q2, with May marking the quarter high at 4.49% and April marking the quarter low at 4.02%. California BOP buyers have moved upwards to 6.47% premium renewal rate change in June vs. the average of 4.11% across all states. In the past quarter, California buyers have averaged 5.50% premium renewal rate change vs. the average of 4.21% across all states.

Workers’ Compensation premium renewal rate change averaged -0.16% in Q2 vs. -0.48% in Q1, with a six month average of -0.32%. In May, renewals experienced a temporary spike above zero, but quickly returned to negative territory at -0.86% in June.

IVANS Index continues to provide unique data insights on premium renewal trends that are influencing renewal and pricing strategies. IVANS Index is available to agencies and insurers as part of Market Insights at markets.ivansinsurance.com.

Download the full IVANS Index Q2 Report >

Matt Foran, VP and general manager of IVANS Market Appetite, a division of Applied Systems, is responsible for the creation and strategic execution of the cutting edge distribution platform built for the commercial insurance industry. Prior to his current role, Matt was the CEO of EvoSure, which was acquired by Applied Systems in September 2015. Before co-founding EvoSure, Matt was the director of strategy for Zurich Specialty Products, a $2.5 billion business unit of Zurich Insurance Group, where he worked closely with the CEO and Senior Management to set overall strategic direction, develop and execute financial and operational plans, and lead execution of strategic initiatives. Previously, Matt served as assistant vice president of Marsh USA, with responsibilities including the initial formation of the Marsh & McLennan Agency, the Marsh Select Model, the restructuring of Marsh USA, and was a broker for healthcare and Fortune 500 firms. Matt was selected as a Global Rising Star by Reactions Magazine in 2011 and named in Insurance Business America magazine’s Hot 100 list for 2015.

Customer Appreciation: Helping Protect What Matters Most

July 20, 2017

by Kris Hackney
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

As businesses, our customers are core to the mission we live and work by each and every day. It is critical to keep customers happy in order to retain them and remain successful. If customers don’t remain at the forefront of our daily efforts, consumers will quickly find a new provider. In fact, customer turnover caused by declining loyalty and poor customer experiences represents as much as $470 billion Life and Property & Casualty premiums globally according to Accenture.

To prevent customer turnover, businesses must ask themselves, “What can we do to make sure our customers are happy with our products and services?” At Applied, our mission is to strive every day to provide our customers with the technology they need to protect and safeguard what matters most in their clients’ lives. Our core values hold us accountable for the service we provide, including “to be results-oriented” and “to exceed expectations.” Both values focus on striving for excellence and our commitment to our customers. This commitment is evaluated and demonstrated every year in our Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey, which is consistently around 94%, but that does not allow for compliance. It is critical that we remain steadfast in innovation so we can always fulfill our customers’ needs, so that you can deliver on the core promise of insurance – to protect what matters most. And it is the greatest opportunity and core purpose of the industry to deliver anytime, anywhere service to the insured in their time of need.

What kind of services are your insureds looking for?

Today’s consumers are looking for quick and easy service. It is important for independent insurance agencies to provide their clients with the technologies they seek in order to stay competitive.

Here are 3 service considerations to ensure you keep – and attract – customers:

  • Can your customers reach you 24/7? Nowadays, people can access all kinds of information anytime, anywhere with the internet. It is important for you to provide that same luxury to your insureds. With self-service software, customers can access important insurance documents, even when the office is closed.
  • How available are you? Consumers are accustomed to in-person service or calling to receive service, as well as logging in to a client portal on their smart phones or computers for services like online bill pay and text message updates. Companies like Amazon and Uber have made omnichannel servicing a must-have for businesses. Insurance agencies that provide an online client portal and mobile app for their policyholders will see a significant increase in customer retention and satisfaction.
  • Are you providing online convenience from the start? The buyer’s journey starts online, and accurate quoting integrated into your agency’s website easily converts prospects into clients. The customer experience is enhanced with access to a broad range of insurers and an easy and quick process of securing insurance products.

In the changing insurance landscape, it is important for agencies to stay up to date on the latest technologies so they can consistently provide the best service to their policyholders. At Applied, we strive to always provide the software agencies need to gain a competitive advantage. When we work together, we will all see success and ultimately help to protect what matters most.

Comment below on how you drive customer satisfaction at your agency.

Kristin HackneyKris Hackney, executive vice president of customer experience, is responsible for Applied’s customer delivery strategy and operational execution for the company’s Professional Services, Support and cloud-based solutions. She is the former vice president of Worldwide Enterprise Solutions & Services for Chicago-based SPSS Inc., a leading global provider of predictive analytics software and solutions, now part of IBM.

Top 5 Reasons to Attend Applied Net 2017

July 06, 2017

by Applied Communications
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Each year, thousands of insurance agents, brokers, industry experts and Applied team members from North America, the UK and Ireland come together for 4 full days of learning opportunities, access to the latest technologies and world-class networking events. As the largest gathering of insurance professionals, Applied Net provides the arena for agents and brokers to discuss how to embrace digital transformation and capitalize on new business opportunities.

Take advantage of the opportunities created by the Digital Transformation of Insurance at Applied Net 2017 and prepare your business for success in our digital world.

Register Now for Applied Net 2017 >

IVANS Index: More Jobs and Better Wages Are Pushing Workers’ Comp

June 22, 2017

by Matt Foran
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

IVANS Index is a data-driven report of current conditions and trends for premium renewal rate change of the most placed commercial lines of business in the insurance industry. Data collected in the IVANS Index enables insurers to determine competitive rates and the most profitable lines of business for investment. To learn more about IVANS Index, read IVANS Index: Get Ahead of Renewal Pricing for Your Clients.

Monthly Update: Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation has been the one holdout product in the IVANS Index to remain in negative territory since the beginning of the year. So what finally pushed Workers’ Comp into positive territory? Exposure.

The states that contributed most to the uptick include Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. Many of these states have pushed for Workers’ Comp rate decreases over the past year. The Colorado Division of Insurance saw a 2.4% decrease in Workers’ Comp rates effective January 1, 2017.

The one substantial state difference in our analysis is Florida. Given the enacted state rate change, effective December 2016, Florida insureds have seen an average Workers’ Comp rate change of 10.2% since the beginning of the year. In addition to the state mandated rate increase, Florida has also seen strong economic growth with an April 4.5% unemployment rate, 2.9% wage increase and 3.1% quarterly growth rate.

Economic improvement in these states is contributing to the move upward in the IVANS Index. States that contributed to the upward Workers’ Comp movement have strong economic results, particularly strong unemployment rates, wage growth and quarterly growth rates.

There are many states with near all-time best unemployment rates. Even states like Illinois and Texas, with 4.7% and 5.0% unemployment rates, respectively, are still within 1 point of their best ever rate.

The average wage growth was 0.1%, with most states impacting Workers’ Comp showing far more positive results. The combination of strong unemployment figures and wage growth appear to have acted as a contributing force to move Workers’ Comp above zero.

Future actions by states like New York, where the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board has approved a rate decrease of 4.5% effective October 1st, may cause Workers’ Comp to move back into negative territory sooner than later.

Further analysis of Workers’ Comp movements will be included in the IVANS Index Q2 Report.

View the full IVANS Index Q1 Report >

Matt Foran, VP and general manager of IVANS Market Appetite, a division of Applied Systems, is responsible for the creation and strategic execution of the cutting edge distribution platform built for the commercial insurance industry. Prior to his current role, Matt was the CEO of EvoSure, which was acquired by Applied Systems in September 2015. Before co-founding EvoSure, Matt was the director of strategy for Zurich Specialty Products, a $2.5 billion business unit of Zurich Insurance Group, where he worked closely with the CEO and Senior Management to set overall strategic direction, develop and execute financial and operational plans, and lead execution of strategic initiatives. Previously, Matt served as assistant vice president of Marsh USA, with responsibilities including the initial formation of the Marsh & McLennan Agency, the Marsh Select Model, the restructuring of Marsh USA, and was a broker for healthcare and Fortune 500 firms. Matt was selected as a Global Rising Star by Reactions Magazine in 2011 and named in Insurance Business America magazine’s Hot 100 list for 2015.

Digital Agency Scorecard: How Does Your Agency Rank?

June 08, 2017

by Kris Hackney
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Digital technology is rapidly transforming the way independent insurance agencies run their businesses. From accounting and administration to customer service and sales, technology has automated these processes so less time is spent on manual, administrative tasks. Agencies that have embraced digital technology benefit from higher employee productivity, better customer service and greater profitability – earning their designation as digital agencies.

The Digital Agency

Digital agencies capitalize on five areas of technology, including a foundational agency management system, data analytics, insurer connectivity, cloud and mobile technology.

  1. A foundational agency management system: Leverage a single system to efficiently manage customer relationships, policy and benefits administration, sales automation, financial accounting processes and document management across the entire business in one application.
  1. Data analytics: Make more informed business decisions through data analytics software to uncover insights on client and business operations.
  1. Insurer connectivity: Communicate and exchange data securely and seamlessly from insurer systems directly to your management systems to reduce manual processes and deliver faster, more complete service to your insureds.
  1. Cloud technology: Secure your data and improve performance by moving core software applications to offsite data centers.
  1. Mobile technology: Provide insureds and staff anytime access to insurance information with information readily available via mobile devices.

The Digital Agency Scorecard

Applied‘s Digital Agency Scorecard measures an agency’s digital transformation against their peers, based on industry benchmarks developed from agents’ answers to the Applied Digital Agency Survey. In this survey, independent insurance agents worldwide are asked a series of 15 questions about the use of technology in their businesses. Responses provide data, which is used to calculate a digital score for each survey respondent and identifies a baseline for technology adoption. Each year, the survey is distributed to agents around the world to gain an understanding of the current technology adoption trends across the industry, keeping the Scorecard up to date.

Businesses scoring 80% or above across all core competencies are considered to be digital agencies, having adopted most of the key drivers of digital transformation. By asking questions about technologies already implemented, the Digital Agency Scorecard also identifies which factors can be improved upon to become more of a digital agency, ultimately increasing productivity and profitability.

It is critical for agencies to evaluate their use of technology in order to grow their businesses. Digital agencies benefit in ways such as ease of doing business, better customer service and greater connectivity to insurers. Agencies can use the Applied Digital Agency Scorecard to see where they rank in relation to their peers, as well as assess how they can improve their operations through technology. Get your score now and learn how your business can take advantage of the latest industry technology trends to remain competitive.

Get Your Score >

Kristin HackneyKris Hackney, executive vice president of customer experience, is responsible for Applied’s customer delivery strategy and operational execution for the company’s Professional Services, Support and cloud-based solutions. She is the former vice president of Worldwide Enterprise Solutions & Services for Chicago-based SPSS Inc., a leading global provider of predictive analytics software and solutions, now part of IBM.