One of the most highly attended and spirited sessions at our recent Annual Conference in Stowe recently was titled simply “Ask an Agent.” Carriers were encouraged to bring whatever burning questions they had about ease of doing business to a panel of young independent agents and to fire away! Not surprisingly, these up-and-coming Agency leaders had plenty to say about how carriers can make life easier for them:
Passwords – Most agency admins keep spreadsheets of employee passwords somewhere in the system. Meanwhile, their staff keeps separate mosaics of sticky notes for the data at their workstations. While some management system vendors are working to reduce the struggle with single sign on implementations, it doesn’t solve the real problem of carrier website passwords. The solution could be ID Federation which is a method that confirms a user’s credentials when logging in. Unfortunately, not enough carriers and vendors are part of the effort. For more information on passwords, check out Norm’s blog here.
Browsers – When agents were asked which browser they prefer, Internet Explorer didn’t make the list. In fact, it wasn’t even mentioned. Most of these agents prefer Chrome or Firefox. Yet, the vast majority of carriers offer IE to their agents. While it’s highly doubtful that we could manage to get on the same browser as an industry, a carrier’s ability to support multiple browsers would go a long way toward allowing agents to conduct business easily and comfortably. And if IE remains the only option, version management needs to be addressed. Carrier IE versions often collide with those of agents’ management systems. Carriers and vendors alike need to put effort toward ensuring that their agent users are getting the most streamline online experience possible.
Comparative Rating – The agents agreed, if you aren’t in a comparative rater, you’re getting overlooked. So often, CSRs have to get a quote quickly to a client and a comparative rater is their first tool. It works well for Personal lines but Commercial lines are still an issue. Want to learn more about comparative rating? Join the Real Time Rating session at ACORD AIF on Oct. 28 at 2:45. Or, check out Ken’s blogs here and here.
Marketing Reps – Agents agreed that carriers’ marketing teams need to spend more time with agency CSRs, not just agency principals. CSRs are the ones using carrier portals, rating bridges, etc. And for the moment, they’re teaching each other how to use carrier websites. Really! If a CSR isn’t using your portal correctly and gets frustrated, she’s not going to teach others to use it… or equally damaging, she’s going to teach incorrectly. Carrier marketing reps not only need to be more proficient on their agent offerings, they also need to spend more time with the real users. Period.
eSignatures – If the banking industry can do it, so can insurance! Endless conversations on LinkedIn, ACORD, ACT, AUGIE, etc., indicate agents wanting carriers to support eSignatures. Make your agents’ lives easier and get on board. Want to learn more? See what one of our strategic partners has to say…
Want to see more of what we presented at our Annual Conference? Download the presentations for free.