Insurance is a tough business, and even tougher now than in the past.
Independent agencies are in a numbers war. Less commission dollars for additional work is forcing agencies to become more efficient. Working harder for less money is now the norm.
Let's talk about the most important way to battle this trend: numbers and information.
First, are you right- or left-brained?
Most consider left-brained individuals to be logical, sequential, rational and analytical: more number-oriented. Right-brained folks can be classified as more random, intuitive, holistic and subjective.
If you're running your agency in a right-brained environment, you're probably receiving referrals from happy clients but have no idea of the actual number of clients you are servicing.
Agency owners all need to become a little more left-brained when it comes to running their agencies. Even if you're naturally right-brained, you can use your agency management system to run reports that provide you with numbers and information.
That information can answer some fundamental questions about your business.
- Pull up the carrier website.
- Enter her username and password.
- Then enter the policy number to answer the client's question.
This process takes three-to-five minutes to complete. If the CSR used the real-time function in the agency management system, she would click one button and have the answer in seconds. You calculate that the CSR is doing this 15 times per day at three-to-five minutes each time, wasting 45 to 75 minutes per day.
Now you can help this CSR have about an hour more in her day to write new business and handle more accounts.
All of the experts are telling us that the way to survive and thrive in today's economy is to become more efficient. Using the report functions in your agency management system to gather numbers and glean information from those numbers is half the battle. The other half is to listen to the compelling story they are trying to tell you and make efficiency changes in your office today.
You should already have these powerful reporting and agency management tools at your fingertips, so it just takes getting more familiar with them and using them consistently. If your system doesn't provide them or makes them too difficult to use, consider upgrading your system. It could also be a sign that it's time to switch vendors.
June Sousouris is director of sales for Special Agent Inc., an insurance agency management system based in Holbrook, Mass. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.