This morning I woke up, headed to Logan and flew to Rochester, New York. Traveling for work is not out of the ordinary for me, but this week is a first. I’ll be working in an independent Agency for the entire week, and will be sharing my observations on this blog and on Twitter with the hashtag #agentsknow. I’ve been with Agencyport for almost eight years (gasp!), and have been involved in our month–long Agent Insight Road Tour back in 2009 and, more recently, our Agent Insight initiative summarized at powertotheagents.com. I’ve enjoyed speaking with Agents over the years and will continue to do so, but I’ve started to feel like there are some things you’ll never quite appreciate unless you sit down and do the job. I reached out to see if an Agency would take me in and was lucky enough to find one.
Today I headed into the office, got a quick tour, and got to shadowing some of the top workers compensation Agents. The Agents’ approaches vary, but, in general, it was a flash of copying and pasting from their lead system into carrier quoting systems. Once they found the best price, it was onto the document creation and e-signature workflow. Documents were printed, scanned, bundled up and then emailed back to the prospect – usually with a follow-up phone call to let them know it was in their inbox. I was struck by the dedication to do right by the insured and the overall attention to detail. I think we all appreciate how tedious the quoting process can seem. It would be so easy to say “oh, I leave that blank” or “I just have them [the insured] reference that other document,” but that’s not the reality. These Agents are meticulous. They cover all the details, making sure the ACORD form reflects the proposal and vice versa (even when the carrier pre–populates these documents differently). They take the time to print and scan so they can draw attention to specific areas of a proposal. Doing this process 15 times a day could dull you to these details, but these are seasoned reps that make sure they maintain this level of quality every time.
In the afternoon, I wanted to start doing and get into the quoting portals. This Agency is quoting with Hartford, Travelers, AMTrust, Eastern, Guard, FirstComp and more. They recently changed their WC quoting workflow to have a dedicated quoter available to quote business for the other reps. I watched as she quoted a new piece of business; then passed the next one off to me. I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated – what if I picked the wrong class code? Does the insured deliver furniture? Install it? Use subcontractors? She got me through these open questions, but I was on my own to try and move as quickly as she had – cutting, pasting, looking up codes in Excel and so on. Little things slow you down. You want to paste an entire phone number into the empty field, but this app splits the data entry into three sections for the area code, first three digits and last four digits. It’s such a minor user interface decision, but it slows the process down. With an “ABQ” (Always Be Quoting) sign pinned on the cube wall, you appreciate how important time is. In the short time I was working a piece of business, we got a notice that another rep in our office had already worked and quoted the same piece of business.
After work, I was lucky to tag along to a celebratory dinner. The top four Agents from March were being acknowledged over dinner at a local restaurant. Conversation went between avoiding distraction from bad leads and where to source good leads to the importance of fast turn around times from carriers and, of course, a fun competitive banter between then.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m hoping to get exposure to the the process for placing business with State Funds and some servicing work.
Should be a full week. Please post any questions with the hashtag #agentsknow to Twitter and I’ll work to answer them here.