The Catalyit Success Journey – Part Three: Better

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Hi! Welcome to our continuing series on the Catalyit Success Journey. In part one, I talked about an overview of the success journey. In part two, I talked about our first milestone: Baseline. Now I want to talk about our second milestone: Better. And Better, again, is the progression that we’ve talked about in this success journey, this roadmap. All of this is to help you better understand where technology can fit into your agency organization, and how you can leverage what it can do for you both in productivity improvement, and customer engagement. So, Better is “What’s the next step – I got my foundation built, and what do I need to do now?” Now, as a reminder, this is our journey, right? There are four milestones – we talked about Baseline before already, we’re going to talk about Better today. In the future, we’ll talk about Best and then Beyond.

So what actually is part of the Better milestone? Well, here is a list and, frankly, it’s a long list. And the idea here is okay, we’ve got our foundation in place. And as you’re growing, as you’re continuing to interact with customers, as their expectations are changing, what do you need to do organizationally to tap into that and provide the services that customers expect today.

So as we talked about, a Baseline agency management system is still top of our list. Now, remember, its baseline plus these is for the better category. So an AMS, and at this point with your management system, you really need to think about how are you maximizing its use? Are people using all the functionality in that system? Do you have an ongoing program for training employees, or finding out what they’re doing today, and perhaps what could be done more efficiently and better with less steps? So AMS is still important, we’ve just taken it up a step in terms of getting everything you can out of that system. It’s expensive, you’re paying a lot for it, you want to make sure you’re actually maximizing that system.

Next is quoting, integrated with the AMS. And we’re saying that quoting right now is probably focused on personal lines. That’s been around a long time, the industry has consolidated into a handful of platforms. Some of that will be based on your agency management system and what integration is available to you there. But having a quoting system, to streamline the process of obtaining a policy premium.

An active website development process, and what I mean there is not just a static website that’s not updated, but a website that really reflects your agency and is updated with new information. And that could be written information, it could be videos that you post, it could be questions that you answer that are common questions that people have about insurance, but an active development and ongoing content being added to your agency website.

Next is a paid social media management tool, meaning something that you use to post regularly on your various social platforms. Again, could be Facebook, could be LinkedIn, maybe Twitter. That’s really more for SEO. Could be TikTok, could be Instagram, could be a number of platforms that are out there. But you don’t want to waste someone’s time by having to think about posting, you literally want to be able to schedule those posts a month in advance so they’re going out automatically, so managing your social presence so that it’s extensive.

E-signature platform – again, there are several on the Catalyit platform, we can help you with trying to decide which is best for you. But for application signing, for you know really anything that you need a signature in today’s world, an electronic signature platform is vital and necessary.

We did include electronic fax and gosh, by now, I thought in my career, fax would be long gone. Unfortunately, it still hangs around. And it might be mortgage lenders, there are examples of people that still use fax. That doesn’t mean you need to, should have or need a fax machine. But electronic fax, so it’s coming in as an electronic image, you deal with it as a scanned image and get rid of it.

Registered email – and so this is again starting to get into a another level of our cybersecurity, but email that you can verify has been received by your client. So if you are sending electronic documents, policy endorsements or other kinds of documents to your clients, you want to be able to have a legally admissible verification that that email was actually received. That’s what registered email is. And again, there are vendors out there, solution providers that have that service.

Marketing automation – you know the core of an agency is growth, and so you need to manage prospects and lead generation, and marketing automation is a tool. I will tell you, in our assessments, the marketing and sales area always has the lowest score. In agencies, there’s just not enough focus spent on streamlining and improving the marketing and sales process.

Managed technology services, so who’s handling and who’s available to you, for your internal IT needs. Could be a managed service provider, could be somebody locally, it could be a national firm that specializes in insurance agencies, but you need somebody who manages that for you.

And then cyber protection may be included in your managed service, maybe it isn’t or to the extent that you need it. One of the big areas right now that’s coming to agencies’ attention is multifactor authentication from your carriers requiring it from your cyber liability coverage. Requiring it – what does that mean? So you need help with some of that, again, we have tools available on the Catalyit platform to help you with that.

And then off-site and on-site backup, I would say hopefully, for most of you on-site, not necessarily because all of your stuff is in the cloud. That is certainly better. We learned a lot in the last couple of years and we had to go home with the benefit of having your core tools accessible through an internet connection. But making sure those backups are done – same thing, that’s been necessary since you started your agency, since I got involved in agency technology.

And then finally, digital payments. People today are using their phone to pay electronically through their apps, they want to be able to pay not by check. And so you need to be able to provide them with solutions that allows them to pay you electronically. You might be using for direct bill, your carrier payment process. But what about agency bill, and you know, having that available. And what I hear over and over again from agencies is they get their money faster. When it’s easier, you take away that friction of having to find a check and send the check, right, all that traditional stuff.

So those are what’s included in Better. Again, incremental steps, you don’t have to do them and shouldn’t do them all at one time. But these are things to have on your radar to make sure you’re making progress. And that progress will help you streamline your operations, be more productive, increase your profit and serve your customers better. So like in Baseline, our numbers show that the agencies that have completed our assessment at Catalyit have implemented 66% of the items that are listed in that that milestone. So again, not as high, remember 74% was baseline. More agencies had those covered, not as many here. Longer lists, no question, takes longer maybe to get implemented, and to be able to afford the cost of adding these platforms and is part of the journey and the strategy you need to put together as you’re looking at growing your agency.

So thanks for listening. In our next part, we’ll be looking at Best and the items that we include there. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at Catalyit through [email protected]. And I’m Steve Anderson – thanks for watching.

Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson

Often revered as the insurance industry tech guru or the Godfather of Insurtech, Steve Anderson is practically synonymous with innovation. He spent over 22 years as president of The Anderson Network – an authority on insurance agency productivity, technology, and profits – and has served on various boards and committees for IIABA and Big I NY. He’s also the author of the international best-selling book “The Bezos Letters” where he examines “14 Principals to Grow Your Business Like Amazon.”

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