Insurance Agency Technology – The Basics I

This is the 1st post in a series that will be Titled “Insurance Agency Technology”. Last week I posted “Warning! I’ll Be Stepping on Some Toes, Even Mine”. In order to add new technologies it is necessary that what you already have is implemented and being used properly and to its fullest potential.

Is your equipment up-to-date? Are your programs up-to-date? Have changes to programs been reviewed, defined and implemented? Are there missing pieces?

Missing Puzzle pieces

At the recent AUGIE meeting information was shared that shows that insurance agencies use only about 40% of their agency management systems. While I shouldn’t be, I am always amazed by these numbers. 

Since the beginning of agency management systems, and yes I was around for the beginning, agencies have continued to push vendors to add more and more to these systems. In the last few years the vendors have certainly stepped-up-to-the-plate in delivering many of these requests. Insurance carriers are doing the same.

Why, you ask, should I not be surprised by findings like this. At each of the AUGIE & ACT meetings, at various user group meetings and in my private conversations with vendors and insurance carriers, they all tell me the same thing. We invest in advancing the system as requested by the users, however, there is very low use of the new features.

Why is acceptance of new functions and innovations in systems so difficult to get implemented into agencies? Here are a few of the responses I receive when I ask this questions.

  • There is nothing wrong with how I have always done this process.
  • It doesn’t work for me.
  • We don’t have time to figure out how to use it.
  • The new process/tool slows me down.
  • Nobody says I have to do it the new way.

I believe the bottom line is lack of leadership. If the owner/management believe any one of these points, then nothing will go forward. Believing by ownership does not mean that you think it is a great idea, someone needs to implement this, but I’m probably not going to use it. Believing means that you understand how valuable something can be to your firm. While the owner is probably not the one to do the complete research and implementation, the owner does have to be the cheerleader.

The owner also has to be 100% in the process and acceptance of that process the same as everyone else in the agency. The owner must:

  • Assign the project to an individual or team.
  • Define the parameters of the project.
  • Define the goal of the project.
  • Be available for updates, meetings and decisions.
  • Be a participant in the training and implementation and use as is appropriate.

What are the issues and frustrations you encounter is getting updated technology implemented at your agency?