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Horse Racing and Insurance: Betting on Better Business Performance

May 24, 2017

by Michael Howe

Big hats, seersucker suits, Hot Brown sandwiches and My Old Kentucky Home. These things are synonymous with the world-famous Kentucky Derby, run each May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Since 1875, people from around the world have gathered in the stands and in front of their televisions to watch 20 thoroughbred horses run for the roses.

Arguably, one of the reasons the Kentucky Derby has been named “the most exciting two minutes in sports” is because of the opportunity to place a bet on which horse will win. Take your pick among the contenders and, if you choose wisely, within two minutes you could end up in the winner’s circle. Of course, to increase the likelihood of success, we first have to understand the information available to help make a smart choice.

In order to make an educated assessment on which horse might win, a good place to start is with the vast array of statistics available on horses, jockeys, trainers and owners. There are myriad sources available which collect, organize and present the information in a way to help understand history, performance trends and any number of extenuating factors that can all be a predictor of future success. For those so inclined to take advantage of and learn from this information, the art of identifying likely winners becomes less a game of random chance, and more a calculated choice.

Like horse racing, the business of insurance creates massive amounts of raw data across customers, insurers and agents. For independent insurance agencies, there is an emerging opportunity to harness and analyze that information using technology similar to the databases used to house horse racing statistics. With data analytics applications purpose-built for independent insurance agencies, agency leaders can access this information to glean insights into key performance metrics needed to help make better and more informed business decisions. With the rapid pace of change and innovation across the insurance industry, agencies interested in the information edge provided by data analytics should focus on the following areas:

Internal Operations Productivity Optimization
Data can provide insights that enable agencies to focus on improving business production and efficiency.

  • Employee Productivity
    Understand employees’ renewals and books of business over time, how quickly they are completing tasks and activities, workflow bottlenecks, responsibility overlaps and which employees are hitting sales goals.
  • Current Client, Revenue and Policy Data
    View client value, size, policy mix, servicing team and various client trends over time – and evaluate how each is impacting your bottom line.

New and Existing Market Growth
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.

  • Customer Geography
    Identify locations of current clients and the types of coverage they have. Use these insights to measure the impact of events such as earthquakes or storms, or even marketing initiatives.
  • Client Retention
    Analyze factors affecting client retention, such as insurer choice and renewal submission status, against various drivers, like policies, revenue or premium.

Strong Insurer Relationships
Insurer performance data allows you to quickly assess which insurers are most responsive, enabling your agency to produce more new business with higher net revenues.

  • Submission Rates
    Track the performance of submission responses, declines and what policies were written with each of your insurer partners.
  • Policy Volume and Revenue
    Look at insurer performance in terms of new business and activity across all of your insurers.

Data analysis enables horse racing enthusiasts to better predict who will win the race. Conditions like the performance of the jockeys and thoroughbreds, weather conditions, and other factors provide comparisons and insights into the outcome of the event. Your agency can benefit from the same mentality. Employee productivity, client satisfaction and insurer responsiveness are important factors that can impact the health and growth of your agency. Data analytics can provide you with a deeper understanding of the factors that drive future success. Truly understanding your business uncovers new opportunities to grow and compete more effectively. Agency leaders should not leave growth and the future success of the agency to random chance. Data analytics can help agencies take advantage of the data they already have to monitor business performance, discover new insights and ultimately make smarter decisions to increase the likelihood of ongoing success in the future.

Discover how you can leverage data analytics to grow your business >

Michael Howe, Applied SystemsMichael Howe, senior vice president of product management, Applied Systems, is responsible for the strategic direction of the Applied product portfolio. Howe joined Applied in 2013 with more than 20 years of experience in enterprise software. He formerly served as senior vice president of marketing and product management at Aptean, a global provider of industry-focused enterprise software. Prior to Aptean, Howe held senior executive management positions at SAP and other leading software companies.

Convenience Is Key: Interacting with the Connected Insured

May 11, 2017

by Kris Hackney

Technology has transformed the way businesses serve their customers. And insurance is no exception. Insurance consumers have many insurer choices and extremely high expectations for service. According to a 2017 Forrester report, consumers seek companies that provide the most convenience, often rewarding or punishing companies based on a single experience.

Your agency or brokerage can provide customers the convenience they expect through an omnichannel delivery model. In fact, companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers. Comparatively, companies with weak omnichannel strategies retain an average of only 33% of their customers, according to Aberdeen Group Inc.

Interacting with customers via their preferred channels on demand creates a connected insured experience. Convenience is key, and omnichannel consumers will only give their business to companies that meet their specific demands. Providing customers with real-time access to information through multiple digital channels enhances your agency’s competitive value and builds client retention. Your agency will also be positioned as a trusted advisor by delivering customer service through traditional methods, including phone and in-person interactions. Agencies that adopt an omnichannel customer service model create a connected insured experience for optimal service, when and how customers want it.

So how do you become more connected with your insureds?

3 steps your agency can take to fully engage with the connected insured:

  1. Invest in an online customer service portal to ensure your clients have 24/7 access to their insurance information.
    Consumers want convenient service. An online customer self-service portal provides your customers access to their insurance information at any time, from anywhere. Not only do customers want online self-service, they are tempted to switch to companies that offer online channels. According to Accenture’s 2015 Global Consumer Pulse Research, customer churn because of declining loyalty and poor customer experiences represents as much as $470 billion in Life and Property & Casualty premiums globally. Additionally, 47% of the survey’s respondents said they want more online interactions with their insurers. Enabling your customers to access their information and interact with your agency 24/7 improves the customer experience and increases brand loyalty.
  1. Consider an agency-branded mobile app that provides easy access to your business from mobile devices.
    Consumers increasingly expect to be served through all digital channels, including mobile access to information. Mobility has revolutionized the financial services industry by making mobile apps must-have additions to traditional methods of working. In fact, according to a recent study by Fiserv, 65% of insurance consumers say paying bills and premiums through their smartphones improves their customer satisfaction. Agencies need to ensure that all transactions can be done in real time, from anywhere in the world, from any device. Furthermore, having an agency-branded mobile app is critical to elevate your role as a trusted advisor. Consumers value a seamless, branded online experience because it promotes professionalism and security from your agency’s brand.
  1. Implement eSignature capabilities to streamline the sales process.
    According to the 2016 Applied Digital Agency Annual Report, in which more than 1,000 independent agencies across the U.S. were surveyed, only 38% of agencies offer eSignature functionality through their management systems. eSignature functionality enhances the customer experience by enabling customers to do business anytime, anywhere. Customers can easily finalize a policy electronically, omitting manual, time-consuming processes and eliminating cumbersome, physical paperwork. Today, more than 77% of Americans own a smartphone of some kind and many are transacting business online, making it essential to modernize the last step in business operations – the signature.

Technology is connecting our world and revolutionizing the way your business operates and interacts with your customers. It is critical for agencies today to adopt and leverage modern technologies to connect with consumers in whichever channel prefer. Providing an omnichannel customer service model provides a consistent and personalized service across all channels and touch points through the customer lifecycle. When your agency delivers convenient service, you gain a competitive advantage and build customer loyalty and retention.

Download the complete Connecting the Business of Insurance eBook >

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.

IVANS Index: Get Ahead of Renewal Pricing for Your Clients

April 27, 2017

by Matt Foran

More than a year ago, the IVANS team asked agents and insurers, “What insight is missing in the industry that you truly need to better run your business and serve your clients?” The resounding response was policy renewal pricing guidance. With that feedback, we set out to provide the industry with a set of insights that started with the premium renewal rate change graph below, created after months of data collection, analysis and interpretation.

One of the most important responsibilities for agents is setting a client’s expectations as a renewal is on the horizon. It helps you increase retention while growing your book of business. The most important question that a client will ask is, “How much should I expect to pay this year.” Agents armed with the IVANS Index will be able to better prepare their clients for renewals and explain options as they become available.

The IVANS Index will be available to agents and insurers monthly. Agents will be able to access the insights via the IVANS website, at markets.ivansinsurance.com or through IVANS Market Appetite in their integrated agency management system (Applied Epic, Applied TAM, NASA, Xanatech).

Key findings from the report include:

  • Commercial Auto: Premium renewal rate change averaged 2.71% for the quarter, ending at 2.61% for March; renewals have held steady above 2.5% and below 3.0% for the quarter.
  • General Liability: Each month of Q1 demonstrated a consistent premium renewal rate change average, with 2.07% for January, 2.02% for February and 2.04% for March.
  • Commercial Property: After reaching a premium renewal rate change of 2.71% at the end of 2016, premium renewal rate change fell in Q1 to an average of 2.66%.

As the industry’s largest digital distribution network of 30,000 agencies and over 380 insurers and MGAs, IVANS stands as the best source of industry renewal rate change insights.

Gain additional insights into current conditions and trends for premium renewal rate change by accessing markets.ivansinsurance.com.

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.

The Connected Agency: Transform Your Agency Through Technology

April 13, 2017

by Michael Howe

According to Ernst & Young’s 2016 U.S. Property & Casualty Insurance Outlook report, technology is the most impactful external force to the insurance industry. Technology is transforming agency operations, and forward-thinking agencies recognize the value and competitive differentiation that comes with becoming a connected agency.

So, let’s first define what it means to be a “connected agency.” Simply put, it is about the strategic implementation of technologies that help an agency better connect with insurers and insureds, and run internally on a more transparent and efficient basis. A connected agency enables agency staff to access and act upon a complete view of a customer or prospect, facilitating more cross-selling and upselling to drive agency growth. Further, mobility in a connected agency provides staff the ability to conduct business outside of the agency via mobile devices with an up-to-date view of client and business information. A connected agency uses enhanced reporting and data analytics to ensure principals and other agency managers can fully capitalize on opportunities to improve and grow the business.

Evolving toward the “connected agency” helps alleviate and eliminate very common technology and operational challenges that can hold an agency back. Agencies often struggle with separate, disparate systems that are costly, difficult to integrate and even more challenging to maintain. Agency employees have to enter data multiple times in a system and it is never fully clear where the single source of truth about the customer is. Lacking a complete view of the agency’s end customer, there are many missed opportunities to serve the customer in new and more complete ways.

A truly connected agency has better visibility, automates processes and information exchange, and deepens their connections with insurer partners, insureds and internal agency employees. A connected agency builds more profitable relationships with insurers and provides personalized service, both in-person and online, to attract and retain customers.

So, in what ways can agencies become more connected?

Here are three actions agencies can take to become more connected:

  1. Implement a foundational agency management system that delivers a single view across all lines of business for all staff members
    A foundational agency management system ultimately promotes growth and efficiency by connecting all users and all lines of business through a single interface. In a connected agency, staff manage multiple lines of business such as P&C, Specialty, and Benefits, in the same application. Separate, disparate software applications result in duplicative and disjointed information about a customer or prospect. A single foundational management system provides staff with a comprehensive view of the customer or prospect across all lines of business, enabling staff to provide complete customer service while evaluating opportunities to cross-sell and upsell. Agencies can also follow consistent and common workflows for each segment of the business, automating operations to reduce inconsistencies and inaccuracies.
  1. Adopt mobile applications to provide employees remote access to customer information
    Mobility enables agents to meet customer demand for anytime, anywhere access to information via their laptops, tablets and smartphones. Producers can access and input important policy information and client details directly into their mobile devices. With a direct link back to the agency management system, the information is updated in real time, providing all staff access to the most up-to-date activities, opportunities, risk analysis and more.
  1. Invest in data analytics for more informed decision making
    Data analytics enables connected agencies to uncover business insights and make data-driven strategic decisions. Agencies can leverage their management systems to discover patterns, market trends, customer preferences, performance metrics and more to promote strategic business growth. Robust data analytics applications make analyzing data easier with graphical reports and dynamic, interactive dashboards.

As your agency evaluates its digital transformation strategy, consider the benefits of becoming a more connected agency. Technology has transformed the way in which agencies do business, enabling users to make more informed business decisions and capitalize quickly on new opportunities. Growth-driven agencies have learned to adapt to changes in the industry. In order to thrive in today’s market, businesses must become connected agencies as part of their digital transformation plan.

Reserve Your Copy of “The Connected Agency” White Paper

Want to know more about becoming a connected agency? Complete the form below to be among the first to get this soon-to-be-released white paper:

Michael Howe, Applied SystemsMichael Howe, senior vice president of product management, Applied Systems, is responsible for the strategic direction of the Applied product portfolio. Howe joined Applied in 2013 with more than 20 years of experience in enterprise software. He formerly served as senior vice president of marketing and product management at Aptean, a global provider of industry-focused enterprise software. Prior to Aptean, Howe held senior executive management positions at SAP and other leading software companies.

Invest in Yourself at Applied Net

March 30, 2017

by Brian Langerman

Applied Net ExchangeIn the digital age of emails and text messages, the value of conferences is often overlooked.

Managing a successful agency or brokerage — and a successful team — requires personal connections. And a large part of business is about building relationships.

Conference calls, emails, video conferences and social networks are all crucial elements in building and maintaining business relationships. However, none of them capture the impact of meeting with someone face to face.

Applied Net 2017 is a unique opportunity to not only maximize your investment on your Applied solutions, but to meet and network with a community of insurance industry leaders, Applied partners, exhibitors and peers.

A handshake, swapping news, sharing a meal — all can lead to new business, an idea, a quick tip, future efficiency, and the list goes on.

Our members often tell us that attending just one session at Applied Net generates enough tips and ideas to cover the cost of attendance. Imagine the exponential possibilities that experience can be when you meet thousands of other Applied users at Applied Net.

Face-to-face events can also build high-performing talent. When employees connect with each other, clients and peers, these interactions build trust, understanding and a shared mission. This can make all the difference in the success of your business. Millennials, especially, value highly collaborative environments and want to learn, meet and grow.

So break from the norm. Invest in yourself and your agency or brokerage, step away from your day-to-day office work and get inspired at Applied Net.

Top 4 Face-to-Face Learning Opportunities at Applied Net

  1. Networking Roundtables
    Take part in an energetic discussion around a particular topic with fellow agents to encourage informal learning. Have your voice heard during these interactive discussions, meet other Applied Net attendees and learn how to maximize your Applied Net education experience.
  2. The Applied Net Exchange
    Open daily throughout the conference, the Applied Net Exchange provides you with the opportunity to network with industry experts and speak with Applied business partners to learn about integrated solutions. Meet one-on-one with Applied software experts and demo the latest Applied innovations at the Applied Net Exchange.
  3. Evening Events
    Applied Net attendees enjoy lively and entertaining nightly events each year. The highly anticipated events are the perfect setting to meet fellow agents and brokers and have some fun.
  4. Education Sessions
    Applied Net 2017 offers more than 200 sessions within a variety of tracks, offering education opportunities for growth and networking. Sessions include favorites that are back by popular demand, as well as new sessions and formats including case studies, roundtables and peer spotlights.

Register Now for Applied Net 2017 to take advantage of limited-time early bird discounts.

Brian Langerman, Applied Client NetworkBrian Langerman is the CEO of Applied Client Network. He’s a seasoned technology executive and won’t be missing this year’s Applied Net.

The Power of Positivity: A Lesson In Successful Change Management

March 16, 2017

by Kris Regier

KFSA Insurance Agency has grown to be one of the largest insurance agencies in the state of Kansas, with four offices and more than 60 employees. At KFSA, we work hard to create a culture based on continued education and a constant commitment to leveraging technology innovation. But with adopting the latest innovation comes change, and there’s no way around it – change is difficult. And I think every agency leader would agree.

It’s critical to change and adapt to keep pace with today’s consumer habits and technology demands. When evaluating implementation approaches and methodology, it’s important to focus on the best steps to champion change for a successful technology transition. When we switched agency management systems last year, there were a number of programs put in place to facilitate successful change management, from hands-on training to fun activities. Managing change can only be truly successful when you work alongside a dedicated technology partner to ensure you gain the most value from your software.

Here are a few pointers that really helped us when we implemented new software to become a digital agency:

  • Acknowledge that change is difficult – We cultivated a culture that said “this is a change that’s coming.” And then we helped everyone prepare for it. Employees truly saw the advantages of moving to digital agency technology like a single management system. You have to believe in the technology you’ve purchased and transfer that belief to your employees.
  • Management support – I can’t stress enough that top-down support is crucial for a successful technological change to take place. Our management team supplied the resources we needed for a successful management system change.
  • Prepare with hands-on training – We created a hands-on training lab with older computer equipment for our employees. Anyone could go into the lab and use the demo database to work through examples and try different things. In order to be prepared for the data conversions – interactive learning is critical. Hands-on training makes employees more confident, and when your staff is confident in the system, it’s going to work better. Remember to keep your employees engaged with different types of training experiences that work for all types of learners.
  • Create a fun environment – We created a scavenger hunt within our management system. For example, employees would be asked to look for a client, set up a new client or bill a policy as part of the scavenger hunt. As we got closer to migration, employees could take an activity all the way through. And as we approached go-live, it wasn’t foreign to them. We also had a transaction party. All of accounting sat down and realized that our current billing methods weren’t going to work with our new system. So we all played with the data and tried billing different items to see how it would flow in the new system. The training at the transaction party was very successful. It helped us to write and establish various procedures that we still use today in the system.
  • Take advantage of online learning – When you have access to online resources, take advantage of them! Applied University was an amazing resource for us. There are more than 30,000 hours of education course work available in the University and more than 3,000 instructor-led courses. Giving your employees access to this type of knowledge is invaluable.
  • Be positive – We were highly focused on creating a positive change culture. You have to make your employees feel that the change is manageable, and then it will be.

Change doesn’t have to be scary – it’s all about the culture and employee attitude. The reward is in the way our employees work today. To thrive today in a time of digital transformation, agencies must seriously consider their technology options and become a digital agency. It’s no longer viable to remain un-automated and consumers expect mobile and self-service technology during all interactions. Digital technology has given our employees access to every customer, from anywhere at any time. And that amount of insight and ownership of their day-to-day has led to happier employees.

Have you lead a team through change management?

Comment below to share your thoughts and insights about the process and your tips for success. Are there any specific programs or strategic advice you can offer to other agents and brokers?

Kris Regier, director of operations for KFSA Insurance Agency, has been with KFSA since 1976. Over the last 40 years she has had held of number of positions within the agency. Currently she oversees the operations of KFSA offices with concentration on procedures and workflows of the agency. Kris obtained her Certified Insurance Representative designation in 1988 and her Certified Insurance Counselor in 1992.

Cloud Technology: Not All Clouds Are Created Equal

March 02, 2017

by Applied Communications

Cloud technology has become one of the most impactful trends for businesses in all industries. Providing many benefits including data security, operational efficiency and enhanced business continuity, cloud technology reduces time and expenses spent managing IT issues and resources. While there are many clouds to choose from, it is important for insurance businesses to be hosted on a cloud created specifically for the insurance industry.

To learn why all clouds aren’t created equal, view the infographic below:

How You Connect to the Cloud Matters

Applied Net 2017: Why Applied Net Is a Must Attend Event

February 15, 2017

by Applied Communications

Applied Net is the largest gathering of independent insurance agents and brokers in the world. Each year, agents and brokers across North America, UK and Ireland come together to discuss the latest technologies transforming the industry.

To be held at MGM Grand Las Vegas, Applied Net 2017 will raise the table stakes and feature inspiring keynotes, more than 200 educational sessions, and an innovation showcase to explore how agencies and brokerages can position their businesses to grow and thrive in the connected business of insurance. 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 a session on auditing workflows when I was in Orlando in 2016. The speaker, who was absolutely amazing, talked about the basics of auditing and how reports can help to create workflows. It was a great session. My brokerage has since added immense efficiency with just this one session.

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. Whether you’re becoming a member of the local chapter or you’re troubleshooting things together, I’ve gotten emails from people saying, “Hey, how did you go about that?” It’s really nice to have that connection with agents and brokers from 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 story 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 ideas.

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 2017 and discover how to take advantage of the opportunities created by the digital transformation of insurance to prepare your business for success in our digital world.

Learn more about Applied Net

The Connected Business of Insurance: Technology for Driving Growth in the Digital Age

February 02, 2017

by Michael Howe

Technology continues to transform the insurance landscape, connecting all stakeholders across the insurance lifecycle. The future of our industry will be defined by the connected business of insurance, with complete connectivity between the agency, insurer and insured.

The connected business of insurance enables digital agencies and insurers to create higher-value business transactions and deliver superior customer experiences throughout the entire insurance lifecycle. Truly digital agencies operate more efficiently, make more informed business decisions, build better insurer relationships, improve customer service and accelerate growth and profitability across all lines of business in the new digital era.

The connected business of insurance is comprised of three key components:

  • The connected agency: Has a complete view of clients and prospects for each person in an agency to access and act upon – regardless of role, time or location.
  • The connected insured: Expects consistent and personalized service across all channels and touchpoints – anytime, anywhere.
  • The connected insurer: Connects to a network that allows agencies to work directly with insurers to access markets and ensure accurate, timely and comprehensive customer service.

Here is the technology needed to achieve the connected business of insurance and the benefits agencies can realize:

  1. The connected agency: One system for the entire business
    Connected agencies build their businesses on a single management system to gain a comprehensive view of customers and prospects across all lines of business. A single agency management system also provides essential capabilities for every stakeholder in the agency to better manage customer relationships, sales opportunities, market appetite search, financial accounting, and policy and benefits administration across all lines of business, reducing time spent on multiple, disparate systems.

    Connected agencies utilize mobile capabilities integrated with their agency management systems. Agency staff can access and manage client, prospect, and overall business information anytime, anywhere via a smartphone or tablet device. On-demand access to client and prospect information enables users to conduct more business outside the agency and deliver better service to clients with a single, up-to-date view of client and business information.

    Data analytics applications also enable connected agencies to make quicker, more informed business decisions through analysis of their books of business, employee operations and insurer relationships. Graphical displays enable agencies to identify potential new markets, the most profitable client and insurer relationships and opportunities to improve employee productivity.

    With easy access to critical information anytime and from any location, every stakeholder at a connected agency is able to:

    • Capitalize on new business and service opportunities
    • Standardize operations and automate workflows
    • Provide better customer service with mobile access to information
    • Make data-driven decisions through enhanced reporting
  2. The connected insured: Omnichannel customer service
    Insureds today expect anytime, anywhere service. Connected agencies service insureds through innovative technologies such as a branded mobile application and a self-service client portal. A mobile app puts insurance information at a client’s fingertips, ensuring agency’s advice – and brand – are always available. Online customer portals provide an additional digital channel for 24/7 access to insurance information, online bill pay and self-service quoting.

    Information is updated in real time, so clients always have access to up-to-date policy information, claims filing and processing, premium payments and insurance documents. An omnichannel customer service model enables agencies to increase client satisfaction, build client loyalty and deliver a more competitive business proposition.

  3. The connected insurer: A single network for market access and service
    Insurer connectivity is critical to automating the distribution and servicing of insurance products between agents and insurer partners. A single network to insurer markets is essential to gain easy market access – and automated servicing of policies drives efficient interactions across the insurance lifecycle.

    The connected insurer enables agencies to quickly search market appetite for commercial risks, as well as review data-driven industry insights to better understand expected renewal rate changes. Insurer connectivity also enables agencies to automate the exchange of policy-related information with insurer partners, saving significant employee time by reducing manual administrative tasks.

    By developing relationships with the best insurers, agencies gain greater access to markets to provide customers superior product choice and timely servicing throughout the insurance lifecycle.

At the pace and direction the industry is headed, more agencies are embracing digital technology to realize the benefits of the connected business of insurance. The most successful agencies will meet the ever-changing expectations of the connected insured and capitalize on the new market opportunities of the connected insurer through digital connectivity.

Download the eBook, “Connecting the Business of Insurance: Reshape your business through digital technology,” to learn how you can grow and thrive in the connected world.

Michael Howe, Applied SystemsMichael Howe, senior vice president of product management, Applied Systems, is responsible for the strategic direction of the Applied product portfolio. Howe joined Applied in 2013 with more than 20 years of experience in enterprise software. He formerly served as senior vice president of marketing and product management at Aptean, a global provider of industry-focused enterprise software. Prior to Aptean, Howe held senior executive management positions at SAP and other leading software companies.

Accurate Quoting: The Key to Unlocking High Net-Worth Business

January 19, 2017

by Applied Communications

As a rule, high net-worth clients have not been a common target market for independent insurance agents. However, the number of U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more has hit a new record of 10.4 million households. This record marks an increase of 300,000 households since 2014 according to the Spectrem Group’s Market Insight Report 2016.

What’s interesting is that many high net-worth individuals are overpaying for their insurance; and what’s more, they are usually underinsured. It’s extremely common that we are introduced to a high net-worth client who doesn’t even have an umbrella, or has never heard of an umbrella,”* says Peter Houldin, president of Ericson Insurance Advisors.

The opportunity lies in your ability to provide more personalized coverage to these high net-worth consumers. Jim Fiske, senior vice president of Chubb, explains the challenge will be “convincing them they need to switch from their current carrier when they’re already satisfied.”*

Many quoting services prepare fast quotes, but they are not accurate. When working with high net-worth clients, professionalism is key. If you give a client a fast quote, but it’s inaccurate, your credibility suffers and the prospect will most likely walk away. The best way to convince these potential clients is to provide the best and most accurate quotes for their personal lines policies.

Applied Rater, an accurate, cloud-based insurance quoting application for independent agencies, automates quoting workflows for more than 500 insurers nationwide – the broadest coverage of any rating provider in the United States today. Applied Rater boosts your agency’s competitive value by delivering the most accurate quotes to enhance customer service and drive business growth.

In order to sway the high net-worth clients in finding a policy that is actually more beneficial for them, it is critical to be the subject matter expert. Applied Rater enables you to find the best policy from multiple insurers in a single point of data entry. The quoting workflow is then shorter, so you spend more time advising your client rather than searching for the best policy.

Your clients are also covered in whichever personal lines product they need. Applied Rater supports all personal lines of business including auto, home, umbrella, renters, condo, dwelling fire, flood and toys. Because high net-worth clients typically have extensive investments across all classifications of collectibles such as fine art, antique cars, wine, etc., it is important to have a broad range of insurers and product line coverage to offer your clients.

To enhance your customer experience even further, Applied Rater offers built-in proposals. These pre-designed templates pull in the rate quotes you have selected for your clients and arrange them in an easy-to-read, professional-looking proposal. Your high net-worth clients are always looking for the best, especially when they have such expensive assets to protect, so it is critical to provide a buttoned-up proposal that they can easily follow.

With the amount of high net-worth households rising at a record rate, it has become not only opportunistic to serve them, but necessary. Many can have gaps in their coverage, making them prime targets to evaluate and help protect. With the use of an accurate quoting application, it becomes easy and fast to give these potential clients the best quote for their needs.

Watch the full product demo to learn more about Applied Rater.

*What You May Not Know About Insuring High Net-Worth Clients, 2016