Choosing the Right Insurance Technology and Vendor
Every agent knows the importance of establishing good relationships with clients - you do right by them, and they’ll do right by you. As essential as that is, you should also keep in mind that you have business relationships that enable you to keep your customers happy. One of the most important business relationships in today’s insurance industry is the one you have with your insurance technology vendor. This can include storage and security services, email providers, mobile application developers, or integration systems among others
Business now lives online.
That’s the space where the bulk of communications happen, and in a lot of cases, it’s where transactions between you and your clients happen. Dependence on computers and Web capabilities are close to total, so you want to do everything you can to ensure that:
a) things run smoothly and...
b) you can capitalize on the newest tech developments as fast as or faster than your competition
So what can you do?
Find the right price. While expenditures are always something you want to watch with hawk-like focus, overzealous bargaining with your IT provider can have negative consequences. Putting the squeeze on too hard can make the prospect of doing business with you seem less valuable to the IT provider. Coming to a mutually beneficial price solution will make you feel good about what you’re getting for your money, and the IT vendor will feel better about going above and beyond to provide the right insurance technology solutions when you need it most.
Get involved as an advisor. You’re in the day-to-day business of insurance - your IT vendor is not. However, that vendor will likely want to know how they can optimize their business for you and other clients like you. Talk to the IT company contacts to find out whether they have a client advisory board and request to be on it. When you encounter problems or possibilities for improvement, being part of the advisory board will allow you to discuss those issues directly with the vendor, and you can look for solutions together. This is a great way to enhance your business relationship, but it can also be an opportunity to develop new solutions to serve your clientele.
Keep communications open. In a fast-paced business environment, it can be easy to let communications fall by the wayside. However, regular communication will help keep everyone up to speed, which will be helpful in the case of an emergency. Letting your IT vendor know well ahead of time about changes you want to make - for instance, if you want to explore a new lead management system - will help ensure smoother transitions and better service. Your vendor might also come to see you as a resource or an expert that they can come to, which can help strengthen your relationship and offer the benefits of a strong partnership.
Also, don't over look asking for a specific account manager from your IT vendors. If your agency is just beginning or is considered a smaller enterprise by your vendor, this may not be possible however asking to create a 1 on 1 relationship with an account manager can offer quicker issue resolution if a problem should arise.
Protect Your Business. Cyber security is not only crucial to the health of your agency but also paramount for making your customers feel secure. Find out how your vendors protect your information and ask how they manage data in the event of a breach. Passing this information to your clients and insurance prospects will show that you have a vested interest in protecting their personally identifiable information as much as they do and offers another service feature of your agency.
As our online presence grows and more financial transactions occur online, cyber security is quickly becoming a necessity and no longer a luxury for agencies.
Related: The Future of Cyber Insurance
If you ever feel like IT vendor relationships the importance of your agencies technology aren’t worth your time, consider for a moment what your day would be like without the use of your computer, network or the Internet. For anyone in business today, that’s a reality check that quickly and clearly illustrates why it’s essential to have open communication and a positive relationship with the team who keeps the technological end of the business going.