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The Connected Business of Insurance

35 Years of Serving the Insurance Industry

August 16, 2018

by Reid French
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As Applied celebrates its 35th year in business, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on the past three-plus decades and what the future holds for our industry.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 35 years. Who would have predicted that a simple idea – a new way to manage an agency and connect an industry – would be so embraced? Some would say our longevity is a testament to our hard work. I like to attribute Applied’s 35 years of success to our commitment to software innovation and customer success, as well as the people of Applied – aka Team Applied – who make this promise possible each and every day.

Our Past Prepared Applied for an Exciting Future
Since our founding in 1983, Applied has set out to be the leading technology partner to the insurance industry. As the original InsurTech, we’ve built our leadership position with many notable “industry-firsts,” including the first PC-based management system; the first SEMCI Interface systems, enabling automated download; and the first mobile app purpose-built for independent insurance agencies, just to name a few.

When Applied became a business 35 years ago, we were laser-focused on advancing agency automation with state-of-the-art management systems. Today, while a necessity for every agency, a management system alone is no longer sufficient to be successful in our digital world. Thus, in 2011, we expanded our vision to focus more on digital connectivity between every stakeholder in the insurance lifecycle – agents, insurers and insureds. The connected business of insurance enables digital agencies and insurers to create higher value business transactions and deliver superior customer experiences.  

But, It’s Really About People
To our clients: We’re so appreciative and honored to work with you. I would like to thank you for partnering with Applied and trusting us to provide you with the industry-leading technology, and unmatched support and services to compete and thrive in the digital age. Team Applied is committed to your success and making possible the core promise of insurance – enabling agencies, brokers and insurers to safeguard and protect what matters most in people’s lives. Many of you have become personal friends and advisors to our company, allowing us to grow and learn individually, and, as an organization. Thank you for your unwavering support.

To our team members: To be in business for 35 years requires incredible people. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work every day with such an amazing team of talented, passionate and caring people across the U.S., Canada, the UK and Ireland. Your willingness to give of yourselves and help each other and our customers is very special and is deeply admired. 

To our partners: Thank you for collaborating with Applied to automate workflows and increase connectivity across the insurance lifecycle by embedding leading functionality into Applied’s solutions and connecting to our applications. Your best-of-breed solutions have a positive, sustainable impact on our clients’ businesses. You are a key part of our success, and we are proud to work with you as an open technology provider.

What’s Next for Applied?
Although the nature of our industry has changed immensely over these past 35 years, one thing has not changed. Applied remains steadfast in our values, our mission, and our vision – to revolutionize the global business of insurance through innovative cloud software.

We have established a track record of setting industry standards by which others aspire to follow. At the heart of these accomplishments is a great deal of hard work, dedication, and a willingness to take risks to benefit our customers and industry. However, you will not find Team Applied resting on our laurels. While our 35th anniversary may tempt us to indulge in a momentary self-congratulatory moment, we remain mindful that the insurance industry is an ever-changing place, and if anything, we must accelerate, not relax. We must think ahead to what the next 35 years will hold.

While we have come a long way, our work is not done. Building upon our industry leadership and expertise requires further dedication and focus on software innovation and customer success. Our culture of passion for delivering innovative solutions is unique in our industry. Despite the many changes we will undoubtedly make, it is this passion, and our relationships with you, our customers, which will remain the foundation for our next 35 years.

With gratitude for your support, 
Reid French

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.

Be There When Your Customers Need You Most

August 02, 2018

by Applied Communications
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Given that the U.S. experienced a historic year of weather and climate disasters in 2017, as an insurance agent it’s important to consider how you will effectively support customers and manage operations during an unforeseen event. Your business cannot afford prolonged downtime. According to Business News Daily, small businesses can lose $3,000 a day from being closed.

Even more troublesome than the debilitating financial effects, a disaster can lead to:

Data Loss

Your management system data is the lifeline of your business. If you were to permanently lose your data, could your agency recover?

Business Disruption

Physical damage to infrastructure can shutter a business for days, even weeks. Could your business sustain an extended disruption or closure?

Inability to Serve Customers

Being there for customers in their time of need is critical for both your clients and your business. Could your agency withstand reputational losses due to poor service?

94%

of companies that suffer from a catastrophic data loss do not survive.

University of Texas

93%

of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more during a disaster, filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster.

National Archives & Records Administration in Washington

91%

of unhappy customers who are non-complainers simply leave.

ThinkJar, 2017

 

Leveraging Technology to Protect Your Agency’s Most Critical Assets
To reduce loss and mitigate risk associated with potentially crippling situations, agencies need to develop a business continuity plan (BCP). Being prepared and having the right technologies in place will allow you to continue to operate and support customers when the unexpected happens.

For business continuity during a disaster, build your agency on a strong digital technology foundation that provides:

With “always-on” cloud, mobile and online customer self-service technology, your digital agency can:

  • Safeguard your data assets and operations against any threat
  • Remain operational and continue service to customers
  • Proactively communicate with customers and staff
  • Access policy and claims information 24/7
  • Eliminate downtime that leads to lost revenue

Cloud benefits can be particularly useful during a natural disaster or other crisis situation, helping insurance agencies reduce downtime and minimize the financial and reputational losses that can be caused by such event. It provides major cost and customer service advantages over competitors who suffer days of downtime waiting for generators or new computer equipment. Having infrastructure, tools and critical data running in the cloud ensures your data is safe and accessible no matter what. Essentially, the cloud supports continued operational resiliency by removing the need to immediately reinstall software or restore critical applications, data or files, allowing for faster recovery.

For business continuity planning, mobility provides an essential communication channel when other channels, such as landline phones, may not be functioning or accessible. Mobility provides customers with greater access to resources during critical times when they need their insurance agency. Mobility extends beyond servicing customers, however. It allows agents to conduct business from anywhere – whether at the office, a disaster site or at home – providing for faster workforce recovery following a disaster.

Prepare for the Unexpected
Today, customers expect the ability to communicate with their agency and receive key information regardless of the circumstances. Providing connectivity, continuous customer service and the quick dispatch of information during unexpected events has therefore become increasingly important for the successful operation of an insurance agency. Integrating cloud solutions and emerging communication channels helps reduce downtime and bolsters connectedness during events that could otherwise cripple the business. Ultimately, a BCP safeguards your agency’s most important assets: your relationships with loyal customers and employees.

Watch the What It Takes to Be a Digital Agent video to hear from leading agencies on how they’re using cloud, mobile and other digital technologies to transform their businesses and better support their customers.

IVANS Index: Q2 2018 Results for Premium Renewal Rate Change

July 19, 2018

by Brian Wood
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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.

Second Quarter of 2018 Shows General Uptick in Premium Renewal Rate Change
Compared to the previous quarter, the latest results from the IVANS Index show that the insurance industry premium renewal rate change has experienced variable change across nearly all major commercial lines products, including Commercial Auto, General Liability, Commercial Property and Umbrella. There was no change in premium renewal rate change for BOP, and Workers’ Compensation remains the only line of business experiencing a negative rate change.

Highlights from the Q2 2018 results include:

  • Commercial Auto: Premium renewal rate change averaged 4.32% for the quarter, ending at 4.38% for June.
  • BOP: Quarter premium renewal rate change averaged 4.01%, representing no change over last quarter’s average of 4.00%. BOP premium renewal rate change finished the quarter at 4.14% in June.
  • General Liability: The quarter premium renewal rate change reached 2.16% in April and ended the quarter in June at 2.35%.
  • Commercial Property: Q2 premium renewal rate change experienced an increase quarter over quarter, with an average rate change of 3.14% as compared to 3.11% in Q1 2018.
  • Umbrella: Q2 premium renewal rate change averaged 1.77% versus 1.49% in Q1 2018.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Premium renewal rate change slightly decreased in Q2, averaging at -2.49% as compared to -2.47% in Q1 2018.

The latest IVANS Index figures demonstrated slight variance quarter over quarter, with the most significant trend change occurring with General Liability and Umbrella. As the second quarter comes to a close, the IVANS Index shows that the Commercial Lines market continues to harden, providing guidance for agents to advise their clients on policy changes and market intelligence for insurers to support pricing strategies.

General Liability
General Liability insurance premium renewal rate change for Q2 averaged 2.29% versus 2.01% in Q1 2018, with a six month average of 2.15%. In Q2, May marked the quarter high at 2.37% premium renewal rate change, with the low in April at 2.16%. Retail firms continue to experience higher than average premium renewal rate change across the past six months, most notably in Q2 2018, relative to the average. Six month premium renewal rate change was 4.63%, with a spike in May at 6.25%.

Umbrella
Umbrella premium renewal rate change averaged 1.77% in Q2 versus 1.49% in Q1 2018, with a six month average of 1.63%. Premium renewal rate change reached a quarterly high at 2.31% in April and low at 1.46% in June. Texas experienced higher than average premium renewal rate change in Q2 at 4.25% relative to the national average at 1.77%, with a spike in June at 5.09%.

For further insights into premium renewal rate change across the industry, download the full Q2 2018 IVANS Index report now >

Brian Wood, Vice President of Data Products Group for IVANS, develops innovative and data-driven applications, tools and services for the insurance industry. Prior to this position, he co-founded EvoSure, which was acquired by Applied in Sept 2015. Brian spent 10 years with Marsh & McLennan as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Analysis where he developed global insurance distribution platforms. Brian began his career in insurance building the first company to bind insurance online, insuranceOrder.com (a Trilogy company) which was acquired by Marsh & McLennan in 2001.

Applied Net: A Must-Attend Event for Your Entire Agency

July 03, 2018

by Applied Communications
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Each year, insurance professionals from across North America, Canada, the UK and Ireland come together to discuss the latest technologies empowering them to compete and thrive in the digital age of insurance. Applied Net is the flagship annual conference, exhibition and networking event for insurance professionals who use Applied Systems software.

To be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville October 15-18, Applied Net 2018 will feature inspiring keynotes, more than 200 educational sessions, and an innovation showcase to explore the digital age of insurance and how you must incorporate digital technology into your organization’s DNA to compete and thrive in this new digital age.  

Collin Passman, IT Coordinator at The Signature B&B Companies, an Acrisure Agency Partner, and multi-year Applied Net attendee, sat down with us to discuss his favorite parts of the conference and why he recommends every insurance professional – regardless of role – attend.

Applied Communications: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Collin. To start, give us a brief introduction to your agency and role there.

Passman: We are an 87 user agency with two office locations. We write Personal Lines, Commercial Lines and Benefits. Our agency has been on Applied Epic since January 1, 2012. My current job duties include training new employees on Applied Epic as well as coordinating all IT and agency management system projects.

Q: Appreciate the introduction. Let’s switch gears and talk about Applied Net. What is the best part of the conference?

A: My favorite part of Applied Net is learning from other Applied technology users and networking with people at agencies similar to ours.

Q: Do you have an example of content that you’ve brought back and implemented into your agency?

A: I have brought back so much it is hard to choose just one thing. We recently moved all of our Benefits business onto Applied Epic as a result of recommendations that I received at Applied Net.

Q: Can you tell us more about the feeling of community you get from Applied Net?

A: It’s all about users helping users, and that is what Applied Net brings to the forefront. When you are at the conference you know that you are amongst your peers and know that you can turn to just about anyone for advice and help.

Q: Do you feel that Applied Net is a good place to discover new technology?

A: Applied Net is an awesome place to learn. The Exchange is a great place to discover the latest advancements in technology and third-party applications that integrate with Applied technology. The Applied booth is the best place to get hands-on training and product demonstrations.

Q: Do you feel like Applied Net pays for itself in terms of how it helps your agency?

A: If you can bring back at least three things to implement at your agency then it pays for itself, and I have never been disappointed.

Q: What other parts of the conference do you enjoy?

A: I really enjoy the evening events. They are always top notch and prove that both the Applied Client Network and Applied Systems really care about the attendees. I also take a lot of pleasure in seeing old faces and making new friends.

Q: As a conference alum, can you tell me why you would recommend attending Applied Net again?

A: That’s easy. There is always something new to learn and someone new to learn from. I have presented at Applied Net for the past four years and will be doing so again this year.

Register now for Applied Net 2018 and discover how to take advantage of the opportunities available in the digital age of insurance to prepare your business for success today and in the future.

Golf & Insurance: Guide to Scoring a Data Analytics Birdie

June 21, 2018

by Applied Communications
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Golf & InsuranceLast week, 156 of the world’s top golf talent competed in the 118th U.S. Open. Taking place in Southampton, N.Y. at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, the annual tournament is one of the four major golf events and is as stern of a test of golf as there is in the game.

Each year, viewers watching the U.S. Open on TV see an increasing number of stats and data on each of the world famous players. Scrolling along the bottom of the screen, networks broadcast stats on distance, accuracy, iron play and short game. It’s really quite fascinating how each facet of a player’s golf game can be digitally tracked and compared, then improved upon.

Even more amazing is that this one tournament holds just a small subset of all of the data that goes into the game of golf. Golf has millions of data points behind it. GOLFstats.com alone boasts over 2.1 million records (that is records per golfer) for men/ladies golf tournaments in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The record for Jack Nicklaus for example, takes into account EVERY single tournament he’s played, each swing from driving distance to short game – even his cash winnings.

Like golfers, independent agents and brokers have a vast amount of data to draw upon and analyze to improve their business game, both long and short. But how can you use all of this information to gain a deeper understanding of your business? Consider robust data analytics applications to transform data into visual insights so you can more efficiently understand how your business is playing “the game” and the strategies needed to improve.

Move Beyond Simple Reporting
I’ve heard many stories from agents about being able to see their data, but not being able to unlock it for insights. A basic report, created in Excel for example, is defined and static and only offers a point-in-time snapshot of one or more business metrics. In contrast, data analytics is more advanced in how it analyzes data and often delivers multiple levels of analysis via highly graphical, interactive dashboards. Because data analytics solutions are automated and utilize real-time information, users are empowered to make faster, more insightful decisions across many aspects of a business – without spending countless hours manually pulling reports.

5 Steps for Data Analytics Success
Becoming a data-powered business requires solid planning, resource allocation and effective change management. With a clear plan and the right tools in place, you can use your data to turn information into actionable insights that drive your business forward.

Here are 5 steps to better understand your game, improve your swing and get one step closer to a business performance “hole-in-one.”

  1. Define the business value.
    Start your data analytics project by determining what problem you are trying to solve or what goal you are trying to achieve.
  1. Create your data ecosystem.
    Because there are multiple sources for data, your agency needs to implement the technology and methodology to build a data architecture that is secure, fosters collaboration, and can easily scale as business demands grow. This is known as the data ecosystem. When it comes to data, always remember that garbage in, is garbage out. Creating a culture of data quality is critical in fully realizing a data ecosystem.
  1. Outline your insights.
    Define what key performance indicators your organization is trying to better understand, determine the level of frequency that you want your business reviewing the data, and consider if there are benchmarks that you would like to analyze your data against.
  1. Integrate decision workflows.
    Incorporate data analytics review and analysis in your decision making process. You can use it to design more effective work practices, drive accountability within your agency, improve transparency, and align agency resources through increased awareness of performance.  
  2. Manage adoption.
    Successful adoption requires employees to accept and trust the data analytics tools, understand how they work, and use them consistently.

Thrive in the Age of Data
Understanding your data gives you a competitive advantage into today’s digital market, as well as the opportunity to grow your business. While our handicaps may never be as good as the golf pros at the U.S. Open, we can at least analyze our performance data in many of the same ways.

For more insights on how to achieve data analytics success, download the Data Analytics: Turning Information into Insights White Paper.

Brian Wood, Vice President of Data Products Group for Applied, develops innovative and data-driven applications, tools and services for the insurance industry. Prior to this position, he co-founded EvoSure, which was acquired by Applied in Sept 2015. Brian spent 10 years with Marsh & McLennan as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Analysis where he developed global insurance distribution platforms. Brian began his career in insurance building the first company to bind insurance online, insuranceOrder.com (a Trilogy company) which was acquired by Marsh & McLennan in 2001.

IVANS Index: May 2018 Results for Premium Renewal Rate Change

June 07, 2018

by Brian Wood
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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.

May Results Show Uptick Across Majority of Major Commercial Product Lines
The latest IVANS Index results for May 2018 showed that the majority of standard commercial lines products are trending positively, except Commercial Auto and Umbrella, which experienced a slight downward tick while still remaining in positive territory.

Highlights from the May 2018 results include:

  • Commercial Auto: 4.04%, down from 4.54% at the end of April.
  • BOP: 4.02%, up from 3.86% the month prior.
  • General Liability: 2.37%, up from 2.16% at the end of last month.
  • Commercial Property: 3.20%, up from 2.98% at the end of April.
  • Umbrella: 1.54%, down from 2.31% the month prior.
  • Workers’ Compensation: -2.71%, up from -2.93% at the end of April.

May’s IVANS Index figures show that premium rate change across the industry still remains steadily positive, with average variance from month to month across nearly all lines, except for Umbrella which experienced the most significant trend change. These numbers demonstrate that the Commercial Lines market remains hard and further provide guidance on the most profitable lines of business for both insurers and agents.

Analyzing more than 120 million data transactions, the IVANS Index premium renewal rate change measures the premium difference year over year for a single consistent policy. Inclusive of more than 30,000 agencies and 380 insurers and MGAs, the IVANS Index is reflective of the premium rate change trends being experienced by all agencies and insurers across the U.S. insurance market.

For further insights into premium renewal rate change across the industry, download the full IVANS Index report now >

Brian Wood, Vice President of Data Products Group for IVANS, develops innovative and data-driven applications, tools and services for the insurance industry. Prior to this position, he co-founded EvoSure, which was acquired by Applied in Sept 2015. Brian spent 10 years with Marsh & McLennan as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Analysis where he developed global insurance distribution platforms. Brian began his career in insurance building the first company to bind insurance online, insuranceOrder.com (a Trilogy company) which was acquired by Marsh & McLennan in 2001.

Spring into the Digital Age of Insurance

May 24, 2018

by Reid French
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Our 2018 Digital Agency Survey indicates that the national average for digital technology adoption among independent agencies is 44%. Given this score is exactly the same as 2017, it reveals that agencies have yet to fully embrace the opportunities that digital technology affords to service and support connected consumers in the digital age.

Technology expands your business’s communication channels – to clients and insurer partners. It effectively mobilizes your staff from their desk to your customers and prospects in the field. Digital technology also elevates your role as a trusted advisor, making you present at all moments of opportunity – anytime, anywhere. There is significant opportunity and competitive advantage to be had for agencies willing to adopt new technologies and implement digital transformation strategies.

The 5 Pillars of a Digital Agency

The Digital Agency Survey evaluates adoption of the five core capabilities of a Digital Agency, including a management system, insurer connectivity, mobility, cloud and data analytics, which work cohesively together to drive digital transformation.

Here are a few key takeaways from this year’s report:

  1. 97% of survey respondents use a management system
    This almost ubiquitous adoption by agencies worldwide confirms that the management system is the foundation of their business operations and indispensable for their day-to-day operations. Managing separate, disparate systems is both costly and time consuming to agencies. In fact, studies show that switching between different systems can reduce staff productivity by as much as 30%. Using a single application to manage your entire business, including personal lines, commercial lines, and employee benefits, eliminates the need for multiple systems and creates standardized workflows so that your staff can be more productive and make better business decisions faster.
  1. 77% of survey respondents receive download directly into the management system
    Some download types, such as Personal Lines, are more widely received, but overall, use of download services is strong and growing among agencies throughout North America. This strong showing reinforces the importance agencies place on digital connectivity with insurer partners. Through increased connectivity, agents have greater access to markets and automated servicing, providing instant access to the latest client information – from quotes to policy details to claims management – at a moment’s notice and when clients need it most.
  1. Only 45% of agencies have mobile access to management system information, and even fewer, 24% and 18% respectively, offer clients mobile apps and self-service portals
    Given that more than half of all consumers first use mobile devices for anything they do online, agencies must embrace mobile technology now for both clients and staff. Today’s consumers demand anytime, anywhere service and businesses that don’t provide this risk losing their customers to alternative providers. In fact, studies show that 52% of consumers would switch providers for greater online service. Your staff also demand greater flexibility and servicing options. Giving staff remote access to information and tools within the management system empowers them to quickly respond to client and prospect service and sales requests.
  1. 65% of agencies host software in the cloud
    Studies show that 60% of small and medium-sized businesses that experience a cyber-attack go out of business after six months, which is why 65% of agencies rely on the cloud. Hosting the applications that your agency relies on day in and day out in the cloud ensures continuous business operations and data security. By leveraging software that is always accessible and backed up by redundancies, your business is available to customers – even during a catastrophic event that historically would have completely disrupted agency operations. Additionally by eliminating the time and expense managing IT systems, more of your staff’s time can be spent selling insurance and servicing customers.
  1. Only 20% of survey respondents use data analytics applications
    Year over year, agency use of data analytics applications to gain insights from their management system data remains virtually unchanged. Ambivalence to adopting data analytics is likely due to the misconception that it is too complex and technical for agencies to manage on their own. However, data analytics solutions have rapidly advanced and are extremely accessible to any business regardless of size, revenue and/or IT resources. Agencies need to gather, process and get insights from data in real time across the entire business. Making the shift from being a data-generating organization to one that is data-powered gives agencies a competitive edge through enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization. Studies also show that information-centric organizations realize 20% more profit than their competitors.

Why Becoming a Digital Agency Matters
While the independent insurance agency channel has progressed in its adoption of technology, this year’s results indicate that there is still considerable opportunity for agencies to digitally transform their business to provide complete connectivity to staff, insurers and insureds. When you think about the core promise of insurance — to safeguard and protect what matters most in people’s lives — it is vital to use digital technology to ensure your agency will be there when your customers need you most.

For more industry insights and to learn how technology can help your business grow in the digital age of insurance, download the complete Applied Digital Agency Annual 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.

There’s Gold in Them Thar Management Systems

May 10, 2018

by Brian Wood
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The phrase “there’s gold in them thar hills” is probably best known as being uttered in various Bugs Bunny cartoons. However, Dr. Matthew Fleming Stephenson first said it to persuade miners to stay in Dahlonega, GA instead of heading to California for the Gold Rush in 1849. Today, over 100 years later, I still hear the catchphrase being used to bring attention to an opportunity where there are riches to be found. Mining for valuable resources still happens today and in the insurance industry, that mining is for data.

Data is the rich and growing renewable resource of the information age. And the good news is you don’t have to head west to find it. There is an enormous amount of valuable data related to your customers, insurers and agents within your management system just waiting to be unearthed. Like mining for gold though, data requires the right set of tools and processes to be extracted and understood. Data analytics applications turn information into visual insights for faster, more informed decision making. Reliance on outdated, manual reporting is no longer sufficient. To survive and thrive in the data-driven digital age, agencies must embrace new approaches that enable them to maximize the value of their data.

“Information is money. The ability to extract the right information at the right time holds an immense value and should be the goal of every executive, manager and employee”

Tomasz Sloniewski, Analyst at IDC

Why Tap the Gold Mine?
“Information is money. The ability to extract the right information at the right time holds an immense value and should be the goal of every executive, manager and employee,” according to Tomasz Sloniewski, Analyst at IDC. In fact, Gartner reports mirror this sentiment and have found that information-centric organizations are 20% more profitable and 110% more valuable than their less analytically driven peers. By becoming data-powered businesses, agencies gain a competitive edge through enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization.

Specifically, data analytics empowers agencies to:

  • Determine how profitable their book of business is
  • Adjust sales practices to improve profits
  • Reduce time wasted on unresponsive policyholders
  • Increase per agent and per customer profitability
  • Maximize overall business profitability

What Kind of Data Can Be Mined?
Although data analytics solutions have traditionally focused on areas of interest to agency principals and owners, these applications have evolved to provide more expansive insights of value to the entire business, including Sales and Accounting departments. With this in mind, consider data analytics to evaluate the following core areas of your business:

  • Book of Business Performance
    Understanding your client data enables your agency to identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities, as well as analyze potential growth and new market opportunities to drive business profitability.
  • Financial Performance
    Analyze the overall performance of your business to ensure you’re on track of reaching your goals and measure year-over-year performance to compare the outcomes of different strategies.
  • Staff Performance
    Your staff keep your business running. It’s important to look at employees’ books of business over time and how quickly they are completing tasks so you can identify any workflow bottlenecks that may impact the growth and profitability of your business.
  • Insurer Partner Performance
    Lastly, it’s important to look at your insurer relationships to see which are the most responsive, providing the best services and driving the most revenue.

Data: The Gold of the Digital Age
It’s hard to imagine analyzing so many metrics when traditional reporting is complex and time-consuming. Data analytics solutions are automated and utilize real-time information to ensure greater productivity and timely decisions. To be competitive in the digital age, processes need to be automated, employees more productive, and decisions made in an instant. With data analytics successfully woven into the fabric of your agency, you position your agency to retain current customers, acquire new customers, streamline operations, increase profitability and remain a viable competitor now and in the years ahead. 

Ready to turn your information into insights? Download the Data Analytics: Turning Information into Insights white paper to learn how to achieve data analytics success.

Brian Wood, Vice President of the Applied Data Products Group, develops innovative and data-driven applications, tools and services for the insurance industry. Prior to this position, he co-founded EvoSure, which was acquired by Applied in Sept 2015. Brian spent 10 years with Marsh & McLennan as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Analysis where he developed global insurance distribution platforms. Brian began his career in insurance building the first company to bind insurance online, insuranceOrder.com (a Trilogy company) which was acquired by Marsh & McLennan in 2001.

Applied Net: Why It’s a Must-Attend Event for Insurance Brokers and Agents

April 26, 2018

by Applied Communications
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Applied Net is the largest gathering of independent insurance agents and brokers in the world. Each year, agents and brokers across North America, the UK and Ireland come together to discuss the latest technologies empowering them to compete and thrive in the digital age of insurance.

To be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville October 15-18, Applied Net 2018 will feature inspiring keynotes, more than 200 educational sessions, and an innovation showcase to explore how brokerages, MGAs and insurers must incorporate digital technology into their organization’s DNA and transform business and customer service models. Applied Net also includes highly anticipated nightly events to network with other agents and brokers while experiencing world-class entertainment.

Lisa Colwell, operations manager at Wilson Insurance Ltd. in New Brunswick, Canada and multi-year Applied Net attendee, sat down with us to discuss her favorite parts of the conference and why she recommends every independent insurance agent and broker attend.

Q: What is the best part of the conference?

A: My favorite part of Applied Net is networking with other brokers because I’m able to learn about how they’re using digital technology. I’m all about taking the most out of the content and bringing it back to my brokerage. I usually have information overload on my way home because I want to implement so much.

Q: Do you have an example of content that you’ve brought back and implemented into your brokerage?

A: I attended absolutely every Applied Epic session at last year’s Applied Net in Las Vegas. At the time we were in the process of deciding if we would move to Applied Epic. The sessions were great and worth the time, especially since we implemented Applied Epic at our brokerage this year. I’m looking forward to attending more sessions in Nashville.

Q: Can you tell us more about the feeling of community you get from Applied Net?

A: It’s great when you find somebody who’s in the same situation as you because the relationship continues even after the conference. I’ve gotten emails from brokers I connected with at Applied Net asking, “How did you go about doing that?” It’s really nice to make lasting connections with other agents and brokers at Applied Net.

Q: Do you feel that Applied Net is a good place to discover new technology?

A: Applied Net is a great resource to stay on top of what’s out there and how brokers can keep up with digital technology that makes their businesses better. Applied CSR24 would’ve been unheard of a few years ago in our industry. I’ve always found that the conference is a great way to get that introduction and speak with the people who have it. Whether it’s Applied CSR24, Applied Rater or anything else, it’s great to be able to ask, “What do you like about it?” “What would you give as a takeaway if I were to move forward?” There’s a lot of helpful experience sharing.

Q: Do you feel like Applied Net pays for itself in terms of how it helps your agency?

A: Yes, absolutely. As I said before, the toughest part is coming back to the office on your first day back when you’re on that information overload – you’ve got a list of 30 things to do because you’re so energized when you leave the sessions. My advice? Pick three ideas to implement first, then go on to the other 27!

Q: What other parts of the conference do you enjoy?

A: The evening events are always unique and fun. I really enjoy the networking, so it’s nice to get a relaxed atmosphere, have a conversation and get to know people. It feels like a family since everybody understands our industry. Unless you’re in it, you don’t really get it, so it’s nice to troubleshoot with members of the community.

Register now for Applied Net 2018 and discover how to take advantage of the opportunities available in the digital age of insurance to prepare your business for success today and in the future.

Learn more about Applied Net >

IVANS Index: 2018 Q1 Results for Premium Renewal Rate Change

April 12, 2018

by Applied Communications
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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.

Q1 2018 Results Show Positive Uptick in Premium Renewal Rate Change Average Across Nearly All Lines of Business
The latest IVANS Index results for Q1 show that insurance industry premium renewal rates are up quarter-over-quarter across nearly all major commercial product lines, except Workers’ Compensation. Commercial Auto, Business Owner’s Policy, Commercial Property, Umbrella, and General Liability show positive results compared to Q4 2017; however, Workers’ Compensation demonstrated slightly negative premium renewal rate change during the quarter.

Key findings from the 2018 Q1 results include:

  • Commercial Auto: Premium renewal rate change averaged 4.20% for Q1, ending at 3.87% in March.
  • BOP: Quarter premium renewal rate change averaged 4.00%, representing an increase over last quarter’s average of 3.85%. BOP renewal rate change finished the quarter at 4.29%.
  • General Liability: Q1 premium renewal rate change experienced an uptick at 2.01% compared to Q4 which averaged 1.86%. General Liability renewal rate reached 2.24% at the end of March.
  • Commercial Property: Q1 premium renewal rate change increased quarter-over-quarter, with an average rate change of 3.11% as compared to 2.91% in Q4 of last year.
  • Umbrella: Quarter premium renewal rate change spiked in March, finishing the quarter at 2.13% and increasing the Q1 average to 1.49% from 1.34% in Q4.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Premium renewal rate change dipped again in Q1, averaging at -2.47% as compared to -2.32% in Q4.

Commercial Auto
Premium renewal rate change for Commercial Auto insurance averaged 4.20% in Q1. Insurance buyers in Florida continue to experience a premium renewal rate change higher than the average, with Q1 rate change for Florida buyers averaging 8.58% premium renewal rate change versus overall Commercial Auto at 4.20%.

BOP
March marked the quarter high for Business Owner’s Policy at 4.29% premium renewal rate change, with the low in February at 3.80%. BOP for real estate firms is increasing faster than other industries, with Q1 2018 rate change at 5.66% versus the national average at 4.00%.

Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation rate change averaged -2.47% in Q1 versus -2.32% in Q4 2017. February marks the lowest premium renewal rate change of the quarter at -3.61%, with March being the second lowest at -2.79%. Social services experienced more variable average premium renewal rate change for Workers’ Compensation than the industry average. In Q4 2017, social services averaged a 0.74% premium renewal rate change versus the national average of -2.32%.

Quarter-over-quarter, premium renewal rate change continues to show significant positive momentum across the majority of commercial lines. Analyzing more than 120 million data transactions, The IVANS Index continues to serve as a product and pricing tool for our insurer customers and provides the industry’s only data-driven insights for our agencies as they provide renewal guidance to their customers.

For further insights into premium renewal rate change across the industry, download the full IVANS Index Q1 2018 report now >