In what is already a competitive landscape, 2018 saw a record number (626) of mergers and acquisitions among insurance brokers. According to Business Insurance reporting, more than half of these deals involved P&C brokers and agents.
At the same time, Earnst & Young’s US and Americas non-life insurance outlook 2019 points out that a “gradual shift toward direct sales can be seen in personal and small commercial lines.” While the report holds that the proliferation of D2C channels that reduce dependency on brokers is unlikely to have a significant impact on large commercial lines in the near future, the trend can and should be taken as a sign of things to come.
“One of the biggest keys to success in this environment is differentiating your agency from others that offer similar services,” writes Mike Lover in the PropertyCasualty 360° article Want to make your customer service truly stand out? Answer these questions.
What sets you apart from the competition?
“Great service” is perhaps the most common response to the question of what sets an agency apart. It’s also the area in which most fail. “Despite the fact that nearly 75% of advisors claim to offer great service, the reality is that many fall short,” Lover explains, reminding brokers that they must see service through the eyes of the client.
Most will benefit from revisiting and refining their service model. This includes a close examination of client contact methods, approaches to meetings, communication between meetings, and problem resolution, among others.
Technology can also be a major contributor when it comes to service model transformation and the value an agency provides its clients. Lover’s recommendations for financial brokers can be applied to the insurance brokerage industry, as well. “Don’t forget about technology, which can help automate back-office tasks, making you more efficient in the process,” he writes. “More advanced technology platforms also feature modeling […] reporting and practice management capabilities.”
Using RMIS technology to attract and retain clients
The following are just a few examples of how a cloud-based RMIS platform can improve efficiency, expand service offerings, help clients reduce losses, win new business, and, ultimately, set your agency apart from the competition.
Risk, claims, and insurance data for all of an agency’s accounts are accessible in a secure, unified system that allows brokers to share screens, fields, and codes across clients as needed while customizing them for others. A multi-client environment also opens up the potential for true differentiation of service, using benchmark data to provide clients with context for quotes and demonstrate how recommendations reduce losses.
Platform flexibility & self-service
A RMIS designed for flexibility gives brokers the ability to make the platform their own. Access to intuitive administrative tools means there’s no waiting for a vendor to add fields, update business rules, modify reports, or schedule secure file transfers. As a result, brokers can quickly make adjustments and meet client requests.
Values and exposure collection tools
Collection tools streamline the input of values and exposure data. Brokers can provide designated users with access to collection forms accessible online or via mobile app for the direct entry of values. Rather than digging through an inbox to find out where things stand, configurable dashboards and reports simplify the tracking of collection status. To further reduce time spent chasing data, automated notifications and reminders replace the need for sending one-off emails or making multiple phone calls.
Reporting and analytics
Brokers can configure dashboards, reports, and graphs to meet client-specific needs and set up automatic distribution to minimize the time spent on administrative activities. The ability to provide clients with access to configurable reports and real-time analytics drawn from their data serves as yet another differentiator.
In the right RMIS, brokers will have the ability to model scenarios based on a client’s loss history that project the cash-flow impact of multiple retention options. The system will evaluate claim counts and total incurred costs by year and display the amounts a client would pay at different retention levels, thus making it easier for clients to play out “what ifs?” and make informed decisions that match their needs.
Data tools and services
Whether through on-demand importing of spreadsheets or scheduled uploading of data sent by a TPA or carrier, a RMIS’s integrated data tools consolidate client data for analysis and reporting purposes. Encrypting and exporting data, tasks typically accompanied by headaches and too much wasted time, can be accomplished using on-screen tools that simplify the process.
Demonstrating value to your clients
In a competitive environment in which everyone claims to offer better service, the question becomes How will you deliver? A cloud-based RMIS like Origami Risk can help you move past words and demonstrate value to your clients.
Creating added value for your clients is no longer an optional consideration. Transforming the digital experience — how clients communicate and interact with your RMIS — can be the key to attracting and retaining business.