From agency management systems and quoting automation through client portals, online enrollment and content management, there are plenty of insurtech solutions designed to help insurance agencies enhance client services, streamline operations and drive growth. The challenge, says Jason Liu, CEO of Zywave, is knowing where to start to make the most out of the agency’s investment and gain market share.
“The insurance industry is changing exponentially, and COVID-19 has only accelerated digital transformation,” Liu explains. “But when agencies buy one-off digital tools, they often end up with a bunch of misfit toys that don’t integrate and work well together. So, it’s critical for firms to have a strategic roadmap that sequences what types of technology to invest in and when.”
There are six core systems every agency needs, according to Liu, who breaks them into three categories for sequencing.
- Foundational data systems, including an agency management system (AMS) and customer relationship management (CRM)
- Automation force multipliers, such as configure, price, quote (CPQ) automation, marketing automation and a content management system (CMS)
- Client portal capabilities, including self-service tools, online enrollment, HR applications and learning management systems (LMS)
“All six core systems – AMS, CRM, CPQ, Marketing Automation, CMS, and Client Portals – are equally important and need to work in concert to allow an agency to really be successful,” Liu says. “I recommend starting with the anchor data systems—your AMS and CRM. These are where your customer and prospect information sit, and they need to be the foundation of a firm’s tech stack.”
Implementing AMS and CRM systems is typically a heavy lift, often requiring several months to get these applications up and running. Liu encourages firms not to wait until their AMS and CRM systems are fully deployed before adding what he calls “quick wins.” Layering in marketing automation, content management systems or quoting tools can deliver immediate results that impact the bottom line and help keep the agency team excited about the firm’s technology strategy.
“Once firms have their anchor systems and quick wins in place, the next step is to develop a strategy for how to engage with clients digitally,” Liu says. “There are all sorts of point products you can buy to enhance customer experience, but it’s important to take a strategic building-block approach that eases clients into the technology and maximizes the return on your investment.”
“As the leading provider of end-to-end software platforms for benefits agencies, Zywave partners with firms to create a roadmap for deploying integrated, cloud-based systems in a logical, value-based sequence that sets firms up for long-term digital success,” Liu states.
For additional insights on the changing insurance landscape and how to navigate the digital transformation, download the free e-book co-authored by Jason Liu and Don Bailey, The Sales Revolution – Digital Disruption Demystified: The Ultimate Guide for Driving Agency Growth.