The majority of insurance professionals are still using arcane technology and relying on fragmented data to do their jobs. But with technology advancing at an exponential rate and customer buying habits changing just as quickly, many are now realizing that it is time to upgrade to an insurance business management platform in order to survive.
An effective management platform has the ability to greatly enhance your productivity as well as improve the overall profitability of your business.
Yet, in the often-confusing world of enterprise software, with its many offerings and niches, you might feel at a loss for where to begin when choosing one of these tools to deploy in your business.
Here's a quick run-down on some pointers to help ensure that your choice of platform is a wise investment for your business, no matter what kind of insurance vertical you work in.
1. The platform should be cloud-based
Your insurance business management platform should be cloud-based, which means that the login and functionalities of the software should be available anywhere, anytime over the Internet, rather than locally on a server.
Being cloud-based brings with it many advantages:
- Such platforms can be leveraged to empower insurance professionals with features such as versioning control, collaboration, and storage elasticity, which greatly improve productivity.
- From management's perspective, cloud-based systems are more flexible and are 40 times more cost-effective for SMBs. Plus, the idea that cloud platforms can improve business processes is supported by 90% of business leaders.
2. The platform should be flexible and end-to-end
The platform you choose should be end-to-end, containing all the functionalities required to offer maximum value to your business without requiring additional features or plugins to provide optimal functionality.
But in the fast-moving world of insurance, with rapidly changing policy offerings and insurance types (consider the rise of smart insurance), a system must also be modular allowing you the ability to both scale and add new features as required. It should enable you to easily add certain core features that you need to an existing system.
Such modular features could include policy tracking as well as the ability to configure parameters frequently required for client management purposes, such as policy type, terms and conditions, insurer, and manage specialized documentation, such as claims documentation.
While 'out of the box' offerings are desirable for their ability to get up and running quickly, it's also important that the product feature sufficient customization options to allow insurance professionals to configure workflows that match their daily batch of deliverables without being constrained by unchangeable system parameters. A core product that delivers the necessities quickly but that can be easily added to and tweaked is the ideal offering.
3. The platform should provide data-driven actionable insights
Data is fast emerging as the predominant means of generating information to gain business and customer intelligence (BI). Within the insurance world, it is particularly valuable for intelligently identifying up-selling and cross-selling opportunities based on customer purchasing history and behavioral patterns, which insurance professionals might have been otherwise unaware of without the easy access to that data.
You should look for an end-to-end platform that takes all your fragmented data and centralizes it in one place, so you can easily know where you have selling opportunities to take advantage of - for example, which of your customers has homeowner's insurance but does not have car insurance.
A good insurance business management platform should be able to provide you with a wealth of information that can help you better cater to your customers’ needs and offer them a top-notch, personalized customer experience.
Not only does this help increase your profits, but it also helps you take on a more customer-centric approach and positions you as a trusted consultant for your customers.
Data-driven insights easily help to focus on boosting customer loyalty and growing existing business to meet the company’s KPIs.
4. The platform should facilitate better overall management
Companies in the insurance industry can easily find themselves managing hundreds, if not thousands, of different policies.
Being able to gain a broad, 360-degree view of the health of your 'book of business' is essential to not losing track of the bigger picture while dealing with the daily administration of accounts.
Your management platform should provide you with comprehensive reporting and analysis functionalities that leave no stone unturned in identifying which areas of the business are driving value and where the business is losing profits. This will help you determine which accounts are either earning or losing you money, and where to most effectively invest your efforts and resources.
An ideal platform should also offer 'multi-carrier' support (the ability to compare insurance offerings from a variety of insurers and lines). This will give you a wider variety of options to offer your clients.
Four of the world's biggest five insurance companies who leverage cloud platforms that offer this benefit reported an 86% improvement in data quality and management as a result.
The best management platforms should also feature a strong self-service offering accessed through desktop, mobile or tablet. The rise of omnichannel distribution channels by insurers has encouraged many insurance professionals to offer similar services to customers in order to better align their experience in the insurance purchasing process. Being able to directly input information to the system from 'the field' is important to streamlining this process - and the platform needs to be capable of tidily handling this input.
Choosing a powerful platform that can help you optimize your business management, increase productivity, grow profitability and be more customer-centric should be a top goal if you want to get ahead of the competition.
Remember to ask yourself these four questions when assessing your options:
- Can the platform be accessed from anywhere, at any time?
- Can the platform be adapted to meet your business’s unique needs?
- Does the platform provide easy access to real-time data-driven insights and customer intelligence capabilities?
- Will the platform help you get a ‘bird’s eye’ view of your business so you can manage better?
If the answer to each of these questions is “yes”, then you will have found the ideal management platform for your insurance business.