3 tools to make insurance agents more efficient

 April 19, 2022     UFG Insurance    Business  Read Time: 5 min
Tech tools that can make insurance agents more efficient

You know how the workdays can disappear as an insurance agent. Between serving and renewing existing clients, prospecting for new ones and keeping up with the insurance industry at large, there never seems to be enough hands or hours to get it all done.

There’s no denying that the insurance industry’s fast tempo makes it hard to work on your business, instead of in it. In just one example, more than 70 percent of insurance agents surveyed in 2020 by NU Property & Casualty said that insufficient staffing and/or training prevented them from adopting new technologies. Of course, those are the very technologies that can attract new customers and make their agencies more productive over the long run!

If you’re ready to break out of the busy trap, our insurance experts have collected three tech tools that can help make insurance agents more efficient without a major investment of time or money. Even if you start small, it’s still one step toward more revenue growth, better communication and improved staff morale. And who doesn’t want that? 

1. Microsoft Teams or Google Workspace

While all insurance agencies have agency management systems (AMS) to track client information, many also turned to messaging and file sharing applications like Microsoft Teams and Google Workspace during the pandemic to stay connected as a team. Many agencies have incorporated these platforms into their daily workflow, even after they’ve returned to the office. 

What are some of the things you could do with an agency-wide Teams or Workspace implementation?

  • Create Teams channels with folders or editable Google Docs for each insurance carrier to compile important information, updates or coverage appetites.
  • You could also use the built-in wiki function in Microsoft Teams as a centralized place for carrier information and discussion among agents.
  • Use Microsoft SharePoint (part of Teams), Google Drive or a service like Dropbox to store documents that are frequently referenced and shared by your team, such as process checklists or handbooks. 
No matter how you decide to organize your agency’s information, it’s also crucial to establish ground rules and guidelines for agents and staff. Ask yourself what data points or information are most crucial to track and who should be tracking them? What are the expectations for naming and uploading new documents to the cloud? When should you use Teams versus an email or picking up the phone?

You don’t have to have all the answers when you start out but the most efficient agencies make sure to document and streamline their sharing processes as they develop.

2. Automated application and submission software

The insurance buying and renewal process has always involved a lot of paperwork but new technologies promise to accelerate the process by digitizing — and in some cases automating — applications and submission management tasks.

According to recent research by Indio, an application and submission management tool serving the insurance market, the applications process is ripe for improvement at most agencies. For example:

  • Independent insurance agencies report spending up to 30 minutes looking for the correct carrier application per submission packet.
  • Almost half of brokerages serving mid-market and enterprise accounts wait one to two weeks for submission packets to be completed, extending the time that clients are uninsured.
  • For brokerages serving mostly commercial lines, less than a tenth of client applications come back completed and ready for market, requiring additional back and forth. 
Application and submission management software can streamline your earliest sales processes, with animated and user-friendly interfaces, automatic error detection and smoother document organization.

There are several solutions on the market, each with different capabilities, features and price points. Some of the more popular solutions include platforms like Indio, Appulate and Vertafore, but you’ll want to talk to your IT and vendor management teams to understand which solutions will work with your current AMS. 

You can even ask your UFG Insurance marketing representative for their opinion on the topic. They have experience working with multiple agencies using various automation platforms and may be able to help you make a decision.

3. Automated text and email services

If you’re serious about investing in your efficiency as an insurance agent, you’ll want to explore automated text and email services for businesses.

These platforms can email customers automatically based on their position in the sales or renewal process or answer basic customer questions with AI-enabled chatbots.

Aside from the obvious time savings, marketing automation can also boost your sales efforts by keeping warm leads or active customers more engaged and interested. Research from the Annuitas Group found that companies using automation to nurture prospects reported a 451% increase in qualified leads; those customers in turn bought nearly 50% more than leads not nurtured through automation.

As an insurance agent, text and email automation can help you:

  • Engage new leads immediately and consistently through email drip campaigns that build interest.
  • Reach new customers through their smartphones, where messages are more likely to be read.
  • Serve customers at any time of day or night with chatbots that can actually answer their questions
There are a wide range of marketing automation platforms out there, including ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, ClickSend and Trumpia. Some are built for general purpose marketing, while others are designed specifically for the insurance industry — make sure to do your research, speak with platform representatives and understand how a specific option will fit into your existing systems and workflows (and budget).

However you decide to invest in your efficiency as an insurance agent, know that the first step is always the hardest. Change is difficult, and the devil can be in the details when it comes to marketing automation, but the potential boost to your sales and renewal pipeline is just too big to ignore.

For more ways to improve as an insurance agent or agency, check out UFG’s Simple Solutions blog for tips and tricks or reach out to your marketing representative for more information. 

The information provided is for informational purposes only. Every attempt is made to ensure that the information is accurate; however, it is not intended to replace professional advice. For more information, see Disclaimers & Other Legal Documents.