With Earth Day here, now is the perfect time to think about changes you can make around your business to reduce your environmental impact. While there are many earth-friendly practices you could implement, there’s one change you can make that will have a positive impact on the environment and on your bottom line: going paperless.
Insurance has historically been known as a paper-heavy industry that mails all notices, policy information and general messages. Not only is manually managing paper expensive and time-consuming for your business, but in today’s digital age it’s also outdated and prevents you from servicing customers when and how they prefer. To keep up with changing market dynamics and consumer preferences, it’s critical for your agency to eliminate paper and go digital.
Why Go Paperless?
As you evaluate becoming a paperless agency, consider these stats:
- A typical employee spends 30 – 40% of their time looking for information locked in email and filing cabinets.
- 45% of the paper printed in offices ends up trashed by the end of the day – accounting for more than a trillion sheets of paper per year, worldwide.
- In the U.S., companies spend more than $120 billion a year on printed forms, most of which out date themselves within three months’ time.
- More than 70% of businesses today would fail within the first three weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of paper-based records due to fire or flood.
Source: Restoration & Remediation Magazine
Going paperless can benefit your agency in a number of ways, including:
- Increased efficiency and productivity: Instead of printing, filing and then having to search for documents manually at a later date, your document retrieval process turns into a few clicks and keystrokes. By going digital, employees can process or update information immediately and share with anyone who needs access to it.
- Reduced costs: Going paperless increases bottom line savings dramatically. Electronic faxes and emails replace the need to print and mail documents to clients, which reduces expenses for paper, toner, envelopes and postage.
- Increased security: Paper documents are at a greater risk of being lost or damaged. Storing documents digitally and ensuring your company’s data is continually backed up will provide your business with the proper security.
How to Go Paperless
The biggest barrier to activating the benefits of ditching paper is not knowing where to start. Going paperless involves deploying technology to simplify and transform day-to-day business operations.
Get your agency on the road to paperless with the following technology:
- A Foundational Management System
Agency management systems are the electronic cornerstone of insurance agencies, providing a centralized platform for managing almost all aspects of the business. With an agency management system, you can save policy statements, quotes, renewals, cancellations, reinstatements and other supporting documents by scanning them in or capturing them electronically. Documents can then be sorted, filed and organized for quick retrieval when it matters most. Going paperless enables for greater collaboration by providing employees across multiple office locations with access to the same information.
- The Cloud
It’s difficult to store paper documents securely. Not only can they easily get into the wrong hands, but they’re also susceptible to disasters like fire and flooding. Keeping digital documents secure, on the other hand, is easy thanks to 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.
- eDocs and Messages Download
Taking advantage of eDocs and Messages download eliminates a long, difficult process of logging into insurer portals, downloading individual documents, organizing those documents, and then manually attaching them into the agency management system. Instead, you benefit from an automated process where documents are transferred directly into your agency management system when they become available. Implementation of eDocs and Messages download enables you to increase overall operational efficiency with immense time savings. In fact, according to a recent IVANS study, agencies save nearly two hours per day per employee when using eDocs and Messages download.
- Customer Service Portal and Mobile Apps
Customer self-service software is another tool agencies are using to go paperless. For many agencies, issuing certificates of insurance is a major undertaking. Construction firms, for instance, can require hundreds of certificates each year. Technology makes the process of issuing accurate certificates easier and less time-consuming, which frees service staff to handle more productive tasks. Offering clients the ability to access policy and billing information on their own terms via self-service portals or mobile apps, not only eliminates service work, it also responds to consumers’ growing desire for 24/7 access, which helps strengthen relationships, ensure high retention rates and drive revenue gains.
You can also use electronic signatures to further reduce the amount of time employees spend processing paper. eSignature offers a quick and seamless way for your business to provide customers the convenient digital service they expect while keeping all workflows within the management system. Plus, eSignatures can boost sales by enabling clients and prospects to complete and return agreements on the spot from their desktop.
There’s much more to celebrate in addition to the earth-friendly factor of going paperless. Without paper documents holding you back, your business processes will go much more smoothly. That’s because digital document management enables you to set up automated workflows that seamlessly transition between steps in a process and provide helpful alerts when documents are missing or actions are delayed. Ultimately, going paperless enables you to spend less time managing paperwork and more time giving your customers what they need: prompt service and quality coverage.