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The Connected Business of Insurance

Brokerage of the Future: Adapting to 21st Century Technology

May 11, 2015

by Jeff Purdy

Brokerage-of-the-Future_Image-In-Blog30 years ago, Universal Pictures released Back to the Future, the classic 80’s comic sci-fi adventure film that took Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett L. Brown back and forth through time in their famous DeLorean time machine. In the sequel, Back to the Future Part II, the characters travel to 2015 where they see inventions ranging from high-tech innovations like hover boards and flat screen TVs to 3D technology. In 1989, those things seemed pretty far-fetched, but 26 years later, nearly every invention in the film exists today.

So what does Back to the Future and the insurance industry have in common? Change. Consumer demands are changing, the marketplace is changing, the workforce is changing – and so too must the ways in which insurance brokers manage their business to begin adapting to the technological shifts and opportunities present today.

Technology enables you to streamline operations, drive efficient business operations and reduce E&O. Simultaneously, it is evolving insurance consumer expectations for constant communication and customer servicing through multiple channels. Like in Back to the Future, the key is embracing technology changes to meet evolving demands. The 21st century brokerage will continue to transform into a digital workspace that’s mobile savvy and data-driven.

Characteristics of a 21st Century Broker:

  1. Stays ahead of the curve
    By leveraging a modern brokerage management system, brokers can quickly scale business operations across multiple locations and easily integrate acquisitions. And through the use of digitally driven interactions and optimized workflows, leading brokerages have gone paperless – cutting costs associated with paper filing and creating additional physical space to expand their employee base. Standardized data also provides a single view into a book of business, empowering the 21st century broker to service clients better and identify opportunities to cross- and upsell.

    Consider this:
    Ensure your systems are modern and flexible. Technology such as the cloud provides anywhere, anytime access to information while protecting important data in a secure online environment away from a physical office. Investing in cloud technology delivers remote access to data, lowers costs associated to maintaining your IT infrastructure and increases business continuity.To improve broker productivity, mobile technologies are breaking down the traditional workspace and enabling brokers to deliver personalized client service away from the office while maintaining access to the latest client information. Consider mobile applications that enable access to your brokerage management system, as the next wave of insurance professionals are more mobile-connected than any other generation. Leveraging mobile can help you attract and retain top talent to drive business growth and profitability.

  2. Meets clients online
    A recent Ovum study found that 74% of consumers now use more than three channel’s when interacting with an enterprise brand or organization for customer-related issues. To deliver superior client servicing, leading insurance brokers have expanded their online presence by building out their company website and amplifying their social presence. This multichannel servicing allows companies to provide the best all-around customer experience, differentiating their business proposition from that of aggregators.

    Consider this:
    To deliver a superior customer experience, empower your employees with the latest software to ensure they can reach their clients at multiple touchpoints, like social, mobile and online. Provide business updates and advice via social media to encourage client engagement. Consider a customer self-service portal that delivers 24/7 online access to policy information and documentation and the ability to initiate and track claims processing. By delivering a multichannel customer experience, you will be able to remain connected to your clients on their preferred channel, increasing client satisfaction, retention and future client growth.

  3. Is data savvy
    According to Forrester Research, data volume in the enterprise will grow 50 times year-over-year between now and 2020. With the exponential growth of data, leading brokers and insurers are evaluating ways to extract and analyze pre-existing data in an easy-to-consume visual format to make more informed business decisions. Brokers can evaluate their book of business to better understand retention rates, growth markets, and leading lines of business. Business intelligence solutions also provide information about business metrics such as how efficiently a business operates, how quickly tasks are being completed, workflow bottlenecks, and how many employees hit their sales goals.

    Consider this:
    Take advantage of brokerage data to better understand your customer and accurately segment. Invest in technology that can enable you to more quickly and effectively analyze data to cross/upsell and determine which clientele are fit for certain products.

Technology is leading brokers into the future. The ability to harness the power of innovative software to automate business operations and meet changing consumer demands will elevate your role as a trusted advisor and further differentiate your business. By implementing technology innovations and becoming a 21st century digital broker, independent brokers are well positioned to accelerate an organization’s growth, profitability and agility both now and in the future.

“Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”
–Dr. Emmett L. Brown, Back to the Future

JeJeff-Purdy-Blogffrey D. Purdy, senior vice president of international operations, is responsible for Applied’s Canadian and UK operations. Purdy began his Applied career in the company’s Canada operations in 1989. In 1993, he was named president of Applied Systems Canada, assuming responsibility for Canada product development, sales, implementation and customer support. In 2002, Purdy relocated to Applied’s U.S. headquarters as vice president of Diamond Implementation and Account Services, departments within the carrier division then operated by the company.


It is really interesting how insurance brokers are keeping up with 21st century technology and trends. Meeting clients online is a great service to offer, because many people are too busy for a face to face meeting to be practical. I wonder how many brokers are willing to do this for clients? It is sure to give you an edge in the competition.


Engagement via multiple channels (including online) is a pervasive trend across industries – and the insurance industry is not immune. At Applied, we provide independent insurance brokerages with the leading online client self-service software, Applied CSR24, which enables them to provide their clients with 24/7 access to insurance policy information, claims filing and processing, and insurance documents through a custom-branded client portal available on a computer, tablet or smartphone. Applied CSR24 adoption has steadily grown by more than 50 percent each year since 2011, with more than 1,000 insurance agency and brokerage customers in the U.S., UK, and Canada leveraging the software to provide online service to their customers. We have seen Applied CSR24 become an essential solution for brokerages to elevate their competitive value by delivering an online customer experience anywhere, anytime, while simultaneously automating business operations for improved overall productivity.

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