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The Connected Business of Insurance

The 5 Whys of Becoming a Digital Agency

January 03, 2019

by Reid French
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For years, we’ve been talking about the impending digital transformation of insurance. Well now that it’s here, how is digital transformation impacting our industry?

Last year, the management consulting firm McKinsey completed a research paper titled Time for Insurance to Face Digital Reality. To be honest, the first page was a bit tough to read. It stated that the insurance sector offered the worst online customer experience of all industries surveyed, other than utilities. After that first page, the report shifted to a call to action for agents, brokers and insurers alike to seize the opportunity of digital transformation. The time for denial of the digital trend in insurance is over. Businesses still denying the digital transformation of insurance do so at their peril. It is time to either accept and thrive – or deny and disappear.

So as we consider the opportunities offered by the digital age of insurance, it helps to first define what it means to be a Digital Agency.

At Applied, a Digital Agency is defined by 3 core characteristics:

1. Digital automation within an agency to drive extreme efficiency
2. Digital connectivity to insureds to drive an enhanced customer experience
3. Digital connectivity to insurers to drive efficient interaction

Now that we have defined what it means to be a Digital Agency, we shall spend the rest of our discussion together on why you should become a Digital Agency. Applied believes that the deployment of enhanced technology for agencies, their insureds and insurer partners drives significant business value.

Here’s why being a digital agency matters, and 5 digital agencies that are thriving in the Digital Age of Insurance:

1. Digital agencies grow faster.

Agencies that adopt technology are in a better position to more quickly identify new business opportunities.

Case in Point: ChurchWest Insurance Services has doubled their premium in five years with sales automation.

2. Digital agencies are more efficient.

Agency efficiency drives agency profitability. Time is money, and by being more efficient in your day, more hours can be spent on revenue generating activities.

Case in Point: Schultheis Insurance saves 100,000 hours per year by eliminating manual, paper-driven tasks through download.

3. Digital agencies deliver enhanced customer satisfaction.

Simply said, happy customers mean loyal customers, and loyal customers mean retained business. By retaining business and actively drawing in new customers (often through happy customer referrals), you grow your business.

Case in Point: Hall & Company saved $70,000 in COI labor, printing and postage expenses per year with client self-service technology.

4. Digital agencies provide better advice to their customers.

Insurance customers need agents for access to products and advice to stay protected in the best and worst of times. Digital agencies must make sure that their technology supports the solid advice they provide to their customer base.

Case in Point: 618 Insurance Agency utilizes an online market search tool to instantly identify markets for commercial lines risks, enabling them to close more new and renewal business in less time and provide clients the best coverage.

5. Digital agencies generate greater trust.

Customer trust is vital for all businesses, but absolutely essential in the world of insurance. Without trust, insurance simply does not work, as any insurance product is essentially based on a promise.

Case in Point: Fisher Brown Bottrell operates in the cloud to keep their data safe, software updated and business running smoothly – no matter the circumstances – so that they are there for their clients when needed most.

The Digital Agency is the future of our industry, and it is the path to value for both you and your customers. It delivers business value to your organization by enhancing growth, efficiency, customer satisfaction, advice and trust in your business. For those not on the path of digital transformation, I urge you to start your journey to becoming a Digital Agency today. I promise, your owners, your employees and your customers will thank you for it.

For more insights on the business value of a Digital Agency, download our eBook, The Digital Age of Insurance: 5 Reasons Why Your Agency Should Be Digital.

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.

Feb
07

Well-crafted, succinct insights on this inevitable industry eventuality. A contribution I would share that I believe ancillary to all these positive reasons for change is a recognition of the underlying resistance to doing so. Knowing the risks of ‘not becoming digital’ may ultimately serve as the rally-cry necessary to prompt this evolutionary step, particularly for an industry rife with stable revenues amidst market disruption. For those agencies who wait to embrace digital transformation once they see market share eroding, there is a likelihood they may have waited too long.

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