To be profitable in the insurance business, it is important for property and casualty insurance agencies of all sizes to acknowledge that their success relies heavily on using a suitable insurance agency management system. Insurance agency management software applications have evolved over the last several years and now go well beyond simple policy tracking.
Today’s agency requires contact management, accounting, sales and marketing help, E&O accountability, modern means of communication, document management, carrier downloads, anywhere access and much more. All this needs to come in a package that is affordable and, at the end of the day, makes an agency more efficient in their processes. A proper agency management system quite literally can pay for itself in a matter of months.
The selection of an agency management system can seem like a daunting task. There are over 30 vendors now and each one has their own pros and cons. It’s a good idea for you to make a list of the things you want out of a new system and compare this list to each vendor’s list of feature available on their website. This alone will probably narrow down the vendors to less than ten. Now check out their web demonstrations to see if you like their user-interface, functionality, bells and whistles and pricing. This will probably narrow your list further. From this point, ask for access to each system so you can go in and play with it on your own time. Feel free to ask for relevant references of agencies similar to yours.
A key factor in your decision is to take into consideration any data you have which you want to migrate. If you are new to the business, have been using MS Excel to manage your clients or if you just want to start fresh with a new system, your progress from this point should be on the fast track. However, if you’re like most agencies who are upgrading to a more modern agency management software, data migration is very important. Although the additional cost of migrating your data varies from vendor to vendor, most subsidize the cost heavily to earn your business. Pricing for this migration can range $250 to $2,500 depending on what format your data is in and how complex the structure is. The time required to make this migration happen can range from a few days to several months. Migrations are not 100% so the vendor will tell you what they can migrate, but it is equally as important to find out what they cannot migrate. Of course, if you are able to get your data in a format such as CSV from your prior/current vendor, that always makes life easier for everyone.
Next comes training. Each vendor has their own required training hours before you can go live in their system. Make sure you know this up front because some vendors require over 30 hours of training before you can go live. Although it may not sound like much, but keep in mind you have a business to run so you and your staff cannot just knock it out in a few days. It is important that everyone is alert during training sessions because the successful use of the system highly depends on each person understanding how it is designed and needs to be used. If something is not clear, do not hesitate to ask questions until you are comfortable with it.
An effective implementation of an agency management system and the processes that come with it will enable an agency to save money by increasing resource efficiencies, which will help increase your focus on what every agency desires: selling more policies.
Once you are live in the agency management software, the final step is to establish a strong relationship between your agency and the software provider. You are going to have suggestions, need support or require additional training at some point so it is better you have a “go-to” contact with your vendor so you know are heard and your needs are addressed.
List of just some of the insurance agency management systems in the market:
ABS Agency Builder by Agency Business Systems
Agency Pro by Agency Software
AMS 360 by Vertafore
Aspire by Impowersoft
Aspire Lite by Impowersoft
DORIS by Applied Systems
Eclipse by North American Software Associates
Epic by Applied Systems
Evo by Evolution Agency Management
Instar by Vertafore
Insurance Pro by Insurance Technologies Corporation
Newton by Agency Systems
Nexsure by X-Dimensional Technologies
Prime by Vertafore
QQ Evolution by QQ Solutions
Sagitta by Vertafore
Semci Partner by Strategic Insurance Software
The Agency Manager (TAM) by Applied Systems
Vision by Applied Systems