How many years has it been common knowledge in your organization that you have outgrown your Agency Management System (AMS)? Ironic, right? At its core, your AMS drives your customer service, stores, and processes vital data, and supports how you conduct business. It provides you with everything you need to keep your doors open and helps you administrate your growth. We often cobble together AMSs with other systems. Case in point-your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM)-which for most was the first “cloud” product with very limited integrations between the AMS.
With so much riding on your management system, why do so few agency owners upgrade and invest in the best systems? A cloud-based system is the best choice. When you have an AMS running off the cloud, we can build it with little to no infrastructure interruption with future integrations essentially assured.
Change is hard
The fear of failure stops most great plans from being executed. Change can be worth the time and effort when the result streamlines operations, reduces liability risk, and creates more profitable client servicing.
Agency owners that want to survive and thrive must focus on answering some tough choices about their agency management system. First, do you want all your data to “live” in your AMS and integrate into various carrier “portals,” or are you more interested in data sharing via the cloud and building a stack of integrated applications?
Do we invest where we need to fill gaps in functional weak spots? Do we double-down where we are already strong — our sweet spots — and grow our way out? What is the rationale for investing now? Is the investment focused on current operations or are we positioning for the future? And, of course, do we need to increase the investment amount and “swing-for-the-fences,” to get ahead of the competition, or are we just making this decision because we cannot squeeze any more utility from our current legacy system. Duck-tape and workarounds are no longer viable.
People and Process
And yes, there is a time commitment. Changing management systems is a year-plus project. Are your team members and legacy processes ready for this kind of project? There are practical steps involved; cleaning up the current data for export, building templates to support new system-mandated processes, and team training. Regarding your team, it’s well known that change–the 6 -letter word- is a four-letter word in most agencies.
Cloud-based management systems
While most legacy agency owners were waiting to invest in upgrading, the complexity of technology and options in Agency Management Systems (AMS) have expanded. The evolution of Sales as a Software (SaaS) has forever changed the landscape for agency management systems because of the easy-to-integrate nature of desktop applications.
What to look for
AMS systems have slight variations based on technological advances. To be sure, bells & whistles are just noise if you do not implement the core processes. There are some non-negotiable functions to keep in mind when evaluating a system.
- Easy document scanning
- Fast document upload and download
- Simple drag & drop functionality
Cloud Storage and Data Encryption
- Redundant incremental backups
- 24/7 monitored cyber security
- Compliance with industry and government data standards
Data Synchronization & Downloads
- Password manager
- ACORD integration
- Policy change, quote, or submission integration
- Claims status
Sales and Marketing Integrations
- CRM and marketing automation
- Comparison quoting
- ML/AI predictive modeling
- Agency and producer reconciliation
- Multi-department, level split, and segmentation
- Customizable reporting
- Seamless document management
- Intuitive email documentation attachment
- Multi-device access
- Ability to view client information
- Ability to limit field access to customer data
- Customizable naming conventions
- Flexible data and access paths
- Adjustable user views
It is admittedly a time-consuming and daunting task to evaluate Agency Management Systems. Considering how many to evaluate, what exactly is part of the evaluation, and making sure that the right things are being examined. Many agency owners have found it easier to simply shut down and ignore the process, but in doing so, they positioned their agency in an uncompetitive and inefficient position. While approximately twenty percent of agencies have no AMS at all–the vast majority–eighty percent have some sort of legacy platform.
Special thank you to the author of the article, Kerry Wakely. Kerry is an advisor of ReFocus AI, an enterprise AI-powered sales plugin for insurance professionals. He is an insurtech influencer and constantly looking for the next exciting development in insurance. Please give him a call at (657) 215-5059 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about this article