The Catalyit Success Journey – Part Two: Baseline

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Hi, and welcome to our second session, where I’m doing a deeper dive into the Catalyit Success Journey. As you remember, in our first session, I went and did an overview of what it is. In this session, I want to talk about our very first milestone, which is Baseline.

Now, again, as a review, we have four milestones in our journey – Baseline, Better, Best, and Beyond. Well, what’s included in this first milestone, when we talk about Baseline, we are talking about the essential technology platforms and product services that you need in order to be successful as an independent agency.

Now, as you can see, we have a basic agency management system, and you will see that consistently throughout our milestones. It is a core technology, and is very important for you to spend the necessary time to make sure you are choosing the right agency management system for your organization. So we call this first one basic – you just need to have something. And it could be something bare bones, something to get you started. Certainly, if you’re brand new and starting from scratch, your costs are irrelevant. So, you may opt for an agency management system that’s less expensive. As you grow, you might need to transition to a more capable system. And frankly, that’s one of the considerations. Do you want to actually have to change systems as you grow? Or do you want to get a more fully functional system to start out with?

The next is accounting. Now accounting could be built into the management system you select; if it’s not, then you might need a third-party accounting system and that’s broken into two areas. First is insurance trust accounting – that is, your agency bill, where you need to track the premium paid by the policyholder, what part of that premium you have to send to the insurance company, and what part of that premium is your income or your commission. Every state has requirements around trust accounting, and that’s why the insurance accounting is certainly different. Next is Office 365 and what we call the basic package of your typical tools – Word, Excel, maybe Teams if you are adding people who may want to collaborate. So, picking Office 365 is the most popular and is the platform that is most integrated with agency management system platforms.

Next is a communication system – what we used to call a phone system and more than likely a voice-over IP, an internet-based phone system, as opposed to an older, traditional PBX or some type of system there. We certainly learned in the pandemic how valuable it is for people to be able to communicate by phone, wherever there’s an internet connection.

Next is a website. Really core again, you’ve got to have an agency website so your customers can find you online. Most customers start a search for insurance online, so you need to have a presence there. And we will build on that and some of the other milestones, social media presence, be that Facebook, maybe Twitter, certainly LinkedIn, maybe Pinterest, maybe TikTok – we’ll talk about that again in the future on other milestones, but a basic social platform or social media presence.

Video conferencing software is next. Many chose Zoom, which could be an absolutely perfect platform to use. But there are others that you might want to look at and consider.

And then, finally, anti-virus software. This is really the beginning of our journey of making sure the data you have in your systems is protected against a phishing attack or some other type of cyber-attack.

So those are the items that we include in Baseline. Now, based on completion by our subscribers like yourself, there are only two agents that had all of baseline in place currently. And that’s why whether you’re starting from scratch, or you’ve been in business for a while, it’s a good place to start and make sure you’ve got that strong foundation built.

Now, the final comment is, again, based on our data that we’ve gathered from people completing the assessment, 74% is the average completion or implementation by agencies of Baseline, we think it should be 100%. So, we encourage you to look at these, find out what might be missing, and the first step in the Baseline milestone would be let’s get some of these things in place.

So that’s Baseline. Next, we will talk about Better, that next milestone, so stay tuned for that conversation.

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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