Optimizing Your Advantage: What Should Your Insurance Agency's Tech Spend Be?

Confused about your insurance agency's tech budget? Learn how to invest strategically, measure ROI & leverage AI for growth. Click to unlock your agency's potential.

a month ago   •   3 min read

By The ReFocus Team
Photo by Donald Giannatti / Unsplash

In today's dynamic insurance landscape, technology is no longer a luxury; it's a necessity. However, a crucial question arises for insurance agencies and brokerage principals: how much should you spend on technology? Finding the right balance between cost-effectiveness and innovation can take time and effort. This article delves into the world of tech spending for insurance agencies, exploring industry benchmarks, strategies for measuring ROI, and the evolving role of AI.

The Elusive Ratio: Benchmarks for Tech Spending

We asked Colby Allen, a Consultant and Financial Analyst at AgencyFocus, to share their insights into agency technology spending. Colby indicated, "Although spending habits are unique to each agency and its processes, many agencies spend between 2.5% and 3.5% of their annual revenue each year on tech." This can vary depending on the agency's size. 

Larger agencies have a higher headcount, which corresponds to needing more software licenses. According to Colby, a standard benchmark he sees is an "agency spending between $25,000 and $35,000 per $1M in revenue on tech each year."

Measuring ROI: Beyond the Spreadsheet

Simply throwing money at technology isn't enough. You need a robust ROI (Return on Investment) measurement strategy to ensure your tech investments drive growth. Here are some key metrics to consider:

  • Increased Efficiency: Can your new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system streamline lead nurturing, resulting in faster sales cycles and higher conversion rates?
  • Enhanced Client Service: Did your self-service portal implementation lead to a decrease in call volume, allowing your team to focus on high-value client interactions?
  • Improved Productivity: Have productivity tools like project management software or workflow automation platforms freed up employee time for strategic initiatives?

To Colby, "Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) don't just measure dollars but how effectively a process operates. Agencies that stand out establish KPIs they want to improve with a tech solution and measure results over time." Remember, ROI isn't just about financial metrics. Improved employee satisfaction and client retention can also be considered positive returns on your tech investment.

"Spend Money to Make Money": Does it Apply to Tech?

Absolutely. While initial tech investments can require upfront costs, the long-term benefits often outweigh the initial expense. Here's how:

  • Reduced Costs: Automation can streamline internal processes, minimize human error, and reduce operational overhead.
  • Enhanced Client Acquisition: Modern marketing automation tools can help personalize outreach, nurture leads, and drive higher conversion rates.
  • Competitive Advantage: Cutting-edge technology allows you to offer innovative services to clients, such as personalized insurance packages or AI-powered risk assessments, setting you apart from the competition.

Colby agreed that successful agencies must invest in themselves to reap returns later. "When we review an agency's financials, we categorize expenses into a few major buckets: People, Marketing, and Operations. Successful investors will tell you not to drop money into a stock and cross your fingers. An insurance agency is a sales organization. How you invest in people, marketing, and your operations will directly impact how you generate revenue."

The Rise of AI: A Paradigm Shift

Agency Management Systems (AMS) have traditionally been many agencies' most significant tech expense. However, the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to change the landscape. AI-powered tools can automate tasks, generate data-driven insights, and personalize client experiences.

To Colby, agencies are moving away from a 'do-everything-in-a-single-system' approach and toward point solutions that solve specific problems. For them, "we are already seeing a shift away from the traditional sole AMS model agency and more towards agencies finding the right tool to accomplish their needs."

While AI solutions might only partially replace AMS, they can significantly reduce their workload. Colby considers AI "an advancement toward empowering people to make decisions faster ." According to them, "ReFocus AI is a great example of this by analyzing retention risk and prioritizing items to those who can make an impact. That type of analysis is doable by a person, but it can take significantly longer. Handing over that task to ReFocus AI gives important time back to that agent by putting a laser beam focus on what's important versus a flashlight approach to searching for what's needed."

Buying specific systems to solve problems frees up the budget previously allocated to maintaining and updating legacy systems, allowing for investment in more innovative AI-powered tools that can generate a higher ROI.

The Takeaway: A Strategic Approach to Tech Spending

There's no magic formula for determining your agency's ideal tech spend. However, by considering industry benchmarks, focusing on measurable ROI, and embracing new technologies like AI, you can optimize your tech investments and gain a significant competitive advantage. Remember, technology should be seen as an investment in your agency's future, not just an expense. By strategically allocating resources, you can leverage the power of tech to streamline operations, enhance client service, and drive sustainable growth for your insurance agency.

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