Posted October 7th, 2016
The ability to provide a better customer service and increase employee productivity are two good reasons to upgrade to a next-generation Insurance Agency Management System. Another good reason relates to data accuracy. These systems make the paperwork on the back-end not only easier to process, but also less prone to errors.
Whether agents are entering information such as a vehicle description or a client birth date or outputting premium quotes, income statements, or a claims report, processing tends to be quick and accurate. Many systems can retrieve and pre-load ACORD forms and remarket carrier features and benefits without the need to manually rekey information.
There is also the issue of data security and compliance. Government legislation such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States, for example, require strict security controls that may be beyond the capabilities of older insurance software platforms. Next-generation systems protect against liability due to Errors and Omissions (E&O) in data processing.
Since legal regulations protecting the consumer against misuse of their information is continuously in flux, and often varies from place to place, keeping up with the details and ensuring compliance can present an ongoing challenge if done manually. By offering enhanced data security — and also by automatically recording and backing up files — next-generation systems provide greater peace of mind.
Some next-generation systems tout a number of other compelling features, including administrative tools for managing internal processes, that many agencies may find extremely useful. The features may include integrated financial tools that managers can use for multiple purposes that are core to their day-to-day business operations. There is a lot of benefit to built-in tools they can automatically calculate compensation plans, for example, including flat rates, set amounts, tiered rates, rates based on quotas, commissions paid on products, client credits, profits, units as well as splits, overrides, draws and bonuses.
Reporting functions have also become increasingly sophisticated, in many cases, and also automated, with many systems today able to generate and deliver periodic progress reports and competitive intelligence reports as well as all kinds of ad hoc reports and dashboards on an as-needed basis. These and other next-generation platform capabilities will be explored in The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Insurance Agency Management Systems, which is currently in development.