Your Insurtech Investment: Making the Most of the Software You Already Have
Brett Chenail | September 30, 2021
Insurance agencies looking to modernize, generate more revenue and improve their client experience should consider a source of untapped potential at already at their fingertips: getting more out of their existing InsurTech investment. There’s no extra charge for getting more value out of your software—the question is how.
Agencies often start exploring software solutions with a clear purpose in mind, whether it’s to reduce costs, increase efficiencies or to support business growth. But by the time research, selection, implementation and onboarding are complete, that original purpose can become blurred or fall out of focus. Moreover, in complex industries like insurance, B2B software often does more than users anticipate.
After the sprint to get basic workflows up and running, it can be difficult to settle into a steady marathon pace. Incremental experimentation, learning and training can fall by the wayside. The result? Employees use the software just because it’s there, without fully understanding how it can support their goals and needs. And agency owners miss out on some of the benefits they were aiming for with a new software solution.
So how can agency leaders take advantage of opportunities to get more value out of the InsurTech they have today—without spending another dime? Here’s three questions that can help you uncover where these opportunities might exist:
1. Do employees know why you have the software?
It’s not uncommon for the decision-makers on a software purchase (like an agency owner) to be different from the people who will be using it day-to-day (like a CSR). And if owners don’t involve their employees in the buying process, that can impose a challenge in the future because employees haven’t been filled in on the value or rationale behind implementing the product. Depending on an employee’s perspective, they might initially feel hesitant at the thought of new technology at the workplace.
Take customer portals, for example. Many agencies want to provide self-service portals where tech-savvy clients can verify coverage, file a claim, request policy changes and retrieve documents. Agency owners see portals as a tool that decreases time on paperwork and increases opportunity for agents to act as a trusted advisor.
But put yourself in the shoes of an agent who took those phone calls for 15 years: they may feel as if their daily communications with clients are no longer of value or may feel like they are being replaced by technology. Agents who don’t understand the purpose of the software are left wondering how best to spend their time, and this misperception can mean cultural consequences that affect staff morale and retention.
Without the right communication upfront and a thoughtful onboarding process, your employees may view your new software purchase as a threat or a hinderance to their work—jeopardizing the investment you’ve made.
2. Are you leveraging your vendor enough?
One of my favorite questions from customers goes something like this: “I saw a demo by one of your competitors. Their AMS can do ‘X.’ Why can’t you guys do that?”
Me: “Well, we’ve had that capability for five years…”
Scrappy, headstrong agencies are often reluctant to lean too much on their software vendor, as they don’t want to seem needy.
Here’s some advice: contact your vendor all the time, give them your tech wish list and put them to work. If your vendor doesn’t have a solution yet, you might convince them to put it on their roadmap.
3. Do you have a culture of learning and training?
Some agencies put recruits through a one-time software tutorial. Then, they ask employees to sacrifice one day a year to a hands-on training loaded with more material than anyone can retain.
That means employees are unlikely to learn the new features and capabilities the vendor’s releases throughout the year. Conversely, the agencies that benefit most from those updates tend to have a culture of continuous training.
The key is to make training and learning a very present part of your culture. That means making your software trainings not only readily available, but also approachable. For example, share bite-sized, 5-minute video lessons that your employees can view whenever they want, and give them incentives for doing so. Your vendor should have a growing library of videos and will be able to offer help for best ways to use them.
The software is already yours
The best way to ensure you’re getting the most value out of your software is through communication and training among your employees. If employees know why or how best to use software, they will feel empowered to use it successfully, and adoption and satisfaction will run high.
Agency leadership should share with employees why and how the software will help them do what’s most important: providing excellent customer service and building strong client relationships. Use your vendor more to unlock all the potential of your software and motivate your employees to not only use the software fully but also train on it continuously. By reframing the use of software as a prized skill and cultural strength, your agency will unlock untapped value and keep employees happier.
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The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
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