It’s Time to Think About the Future of Producer Management￼
March 2, 2022
The insurance industry is riding a wave of insurtech and other digital advancements because there is a dire need to transform manual processes that have long hampered carriers, MGAs, agencies, and their producers.
And, if you thought you could ostrich-in-the-sand away from the tech revolution, an Accenture study reveals the automation and modernization of processes and systems is real, and it’s not going away:
- Of the insurance executives polled, 80 percent said their organization’s business strategies are becoming inseparable from their technology strategies
- The majority – 66 percent – agree the pace of digital transformation is accelerating, not staying steady
According to the aged wisdom of Ricky Bobby, if you’re not first, you’re last. Let’s check out some obstacles you’re running up against if you’re on the trailing edge of this technology wave:
Your people – producers and supporting professionals – despise your process
Your producers hate onboarding. And your team hates the busy-work that comes with producer management – collecting paperwork, filling in boxes, and signing forms.
Producer aggravations with manual processes
A proactive approach to managing license renewal dates, changing state rules, and license requirements creates aggravations. Chances are your licensing and operations teams have accidentally over-reminded your producers.
A reactive approach may create a situation where you’re missing critical information that exposes you and your producers to regulatory risk and potentially forfeiting commissions (and no one likes to forfeit commissions).
In your quest to make people love you more than they hate paperwork, you’ve probably tried a few ways to take the sting out of producer management. Maybe you’ve had a gift or incentive for producers who finish their signing process quickly. Maybe you’ve doled out extra vacation days for ops team members who move the needle on the processing backlog. Maybe you’ve given up and accepted that this is the way things are.
Fortunately, technology is shaping the way agencies, carriers, and MGA/MGUs streamline producer and compliance management. Those who aren’t on the leading edge will find themselves behind the curve from insurance companies that are growing their distribution footprint and reimagining how they sell policies to remain competitive.
How insurance carriers and agencies use software to free up employees
Your internal support staff also are less than thrilled about endless re-keying and copy/paste processes. Carriers and agencies that pivot to software that uses autofill and other streamlining options can make the work easier and more productive by reducing busy-work and repetitive tasks. After all, almost everyone likes easier.
Building a robust tech stack that streamlines your process to free up your people is a non-negotiable investment for insurance companies that want to remain competitive going forward. This is true of just about every part of the insurance system; the human element will always be key in insurance, and insurance carriers, agents, and MGAs have to cater to human touches to attract the right producers, partners, and employees for continued growth.
But the human touch in insurance should be one of high value. And repetitive data entry ain’t it.
Silos and bad data management can impede communication
There’s often an abundance of data that comes with every single insurance policy. Managing all of that important data presents a challenge for us humans. We’re just not wired to take in hundreds of thousands of data points at one time, but computers are.
Manual data entry =
misstakes misteaks problems
If your business is still relying on manual processes that require copy/paste or data re-entry, you’re going to inevitably deal with a few issues:
- Human error: Manual data entry and re-entry is ripe for mistakes.
- Scale: Risks that increase as volume does
- Staff turnover: Data entry is boring work with high stakes and that may be stressing out your people
Let’s face it, producer maintenance – keeping up with license, appointment, and other regulatory requirements – is incredibly important (read: stressful), but it’s also thankless and repetitive.
Picture this: Your sales team recruited a new producer. Your compliance team is checking their credentials and gathering data on licensing. Your legal team is handling the contract. And your operations team is handling the new policies as your recruit comes aboard.
If you manage producer licensing, appointments, or other processes via a spreadsheet and ubiquitous emails, it’s also likely that only one of these teams owns a given part of the process – not to mention the who’s and how’s of tracking changes to licensing and appointing regulations from state legislatures, regional court decisions, federal departments, and state departments of insurance bulletins. So when your producer calls their sales team to ask about their background check or license renewal, it sets off a flurry of internal inquiries to find out who owns that information. And when everyone owns it, no one owns it. This, my friend, is a classic silo.
In contrast, insurance agencies and carriers using a comprehensive tech stack have given all of their teams transparency into the producer management process, with all the relevant team members able to see what they need to do their jobs well.
Scaling up your growth is unsustainable without tech
Every day of lag time in your producer management process equals lost dollars for you, your producers, and the other partners in your distribution network.
That’s true whether we’re talking about onboarding new agencies in bulk (a daunting process if you’re handling it manually or on spreadsheets), producer license renewals, or carrier appointment renewals.
If existing producers are unhappy with their overall experience, they’ll leave. This can force a company to backfill empty roles rather than forward-fill for growth opportunities. And if new partners are dissatisfied with your services, you’ve lost them before they’ve even started.
To effectively support a manual, spreadsheet-heavy process, you have to maintain a specific ratio of internal employees to each agency or number of producers you want to bring in. That’s where we recognize this sort of growth is truly unsupportable: There are not enough people joining the insurance industry to support this pyramid-shaped growth.
Ditch the pyramid; join the future today
Instead, forward-facing carriers and agencies are upgrading their producer management process with robust digital tools that validate records, end repetitive data entry, and eliminate messy, missing, and bad data, with little hands-on employee attention. This upgrade can streamline the producer onboarding timeline, taking it from weeks to days.
With less downtime, you can also sustain a higher volume of growth. That means bringing in more partners with confidence they won’t get lost in the shuffle or drag your team down with process gaps that lead to regulatory risks.
From an internal perspective, if you’re aggressively growing your distribution network, your team can’t possibly keep up effectively, and that means they’re frequently facing the risk of a single keystroke having unintended consequences.
By automating the data work, clerical accuracy goes up and, even during bonkers growth cycles, you have more room to leverage the humans who work for you to do work that requires their dedicated executive functioning power.
The future of insurance producer management
With digital tools that streamline onboarding, contracting, appointments, license renewals, and terminations, partners and prospects can all get onboard with that (see what we did there?).
AgentSync is helping uncouple growth from outdated processes every day. See how our innovations to the insurance producer management lifecycle can help you grow and scale.