Health & Life Insurance Software

Deciding to invest in a new software vendor can be daunting. Where do you start? What questions do you ask? How do you make the decision? 

Choosing the right agency management system (AMS) vendor for your agency is critical because the software you choose should be your partner. Not only will it house your information, but you’ll spend the majority of your working day in it. So, you want those hours to be productive (& enjoyable!).

This blog will cover the steps you can take to help your agency choose the right AMS the first time.

So, where do you start? Use these 5 steps as a guide:

  1. Identify Your Pain Points & Goals
  2. Identify Your Needs (& Wants!)
  3. Research Vendors
  4. Make a Decision
  5. Manage the Change in Your Agency

Step 1: Identify Your Pain Points & Goals

If you’re considering moving to a new AMS vendor, then there’s a reason why. Here are some of the common reasons we’ve heard:

  • My current system isn’t supporting the growth of my book of business
  • My current system is missing key features that are essential for my day-to-day processes
  • My current system is not built for the insurance industry and requires significant customizations to make it work for my agency
  • My current system can’t track both individual and group business in the same system
  • My current system doesn’t integrate with or offer commissions processing capabilities
  • My current system doesn’t support all of my teams, thus we have multiple data silos and processes throughout our agency

If your current system isn’t helping you reach your goals, then it may be time for a change. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want to achieve in the next 1/5/10/15 year(s)?
  • What are you actually on track to achieve in the next 1/5/10/15 year(s)?
  • What do you need to change/implement to bridge the first two questions?

Your pain points and goals should work in tandem with one another. Knowing where your processes are bottlenecking and how those processes are affecting your goals helps to paint a picture of what your agency truly needs. 

Some examples:

You want to improve client relations, but... you can’t quickly pull up client records to answer questions on the spot when they call in.
You want to renew X% of policies each year, but... you don’t have a way to automate the communication and/or agent tasks for these.
You want to decrease the amount of time processing commissions, but... your commissions department is still working in spreadsheets or generic software.

Once your goals and pain points are identified, it’s time to start identifying what your agency and your teams would need from a new AMS vendor.

Step 2: Identify Your Needs (& Wants!)

Make a list:

  • Needs: Needs, or “must-haves,” are features that are integral to your current day-to-day business processes. These might be things like commissions processing, bank-grade encryption/SOC 2 Type II compliance, or health and life insurance-specific functionality. 
  • Wants: The wants are the added capabilities you’d like to have with your new system—things that would make your day streamlined and more efficient. These could be features like workflow automation or integrated business analytics. 

Lean on your department leaders to help you formulate this list. You want to do X, but Y is a pain point standing in the way, so you need Z to help. Let’s look at the table again.

You want to improve client relations, but... you can’t quickly pull up client records to answer questions on the spot when they call in... easily-searchable & 24/7 accessible contact records – including call recordings and point of contact for groups/companies.
You want to renew X% of policies each year, but... you don’t have a way to automate the communication and/or agent tasks for these... workflow automation for emails and task assignment.
You want to decrease the amount of time processing commissions, but... your commissions department is still working in spreadsheets or generic software... industry-specific commissions tools - tracking, processing, & analyzing.

Now that you have a list of your agency’s must-haves, it’s time to start looking at potential vendors to see how their functionality fits with your agency’s needs and goals.

Step 3: Research Your Vendors

Once you start researching your potential vendors, things can be confusing. The two main options you have for health and life insurance management software are a CRM and an industry-specific AMS.


A CRM is a generic management system that can help businesses organize their contacts. Two examples of well-known generic CRMs would be Salesforce and Zoho.

Often these systems provide robust capabilities, but they are generic and require extensive customization to function appropriately for your industry needs. These customizations will likely require a substantial amount of resources (both time and money) from your team to ensure they’re done correctly. 

Additionally, there is no guarantee the system will support the customizations you create as they continue to upgrade and provide ongoing maintenance. To learn more about the pitfalls of generic CRM software, read our blog: 4 Downfalls of Generic, Overly Customized Software.


An AMS is a CRM, but it’s also so much more

An industry-specific agency management system (AMS) provides your agency with the capabilities you need to do your job effectively with industry-specific fields, tracking, and functionality. Where a generic CRM may provide automation capabilities, an industry-specific AMS, like AgencyBloc, may have automation tailored specifically to life and health insurance needs, like policy renewals, license renewals, policy submissions, etc.

However, it’s important to note that all AMS software is not built alike. This is why we highly recommend that you vet your software vendors.

How to Vet Your Potential Software Vendors

It's important to know who you are partnering with when it comes to choosing your software provider. Research your options to ensure they: 

  1. Are a credible company 
  2. Can grow with you into the future

Review these 4 key areas from our Vendor Research Tool:

  1. Company Details
  2. Reviews
  3. Online Presence
  4. Security / Reliability

Questions to Ask Your Potential Software Vendors

Part of the vetting process is asking questions to learn how a specific vendor will support your agency’s growth. 

The #1 question to ask is who owns your data? Although this may seem obvious, you want to be sure that you retain 100% ownership of your data. With AgencyBloc’s AMS, you are the sole owner of your data, but not every CRM/AMS operates this way.

After you clear that up, here are the other top areas to ask questions about:

  • Features and functionality: A key part of the process is knowing if your potential vendor offers the functionality your agency needs. Highlight your top needs and wants, then ask about them. These may include sales management, automation tools, commissions processing, etc.  
  • Security: Ensure your potential vendors are set up to support your agency with top-of-the-line security practices. Not sure what to ask? Use these AMS security questions to guide the conversation.
  • Data Migration: The data migration process is a significant part of investing in a new vendor. Know how your potential vendors handle migrations, the support they offer, and if they have experience with your needs. Start with these data migration-focused questions.
  • Onboarding, Training, & Support: You’ll use your new software day in and day out, so you want to be sure you have access to the support and training you need. Be sure to carve out time to talk with your rep about the experience you’ll get as a user and ask for testimonials/case studies to hear stories from others

Step 4: Make a Decision

You’ve identified your needs, wants, and goals and determined how they do and do not align with your current software. You’ve vetted your potential vendors. Now, it’s time for you to choose a vendor. 

Let your team weigh in on the decision to ensure the system you choose will benefit the majority. Bring in leaders from your different departments, share your notes, and give them space to ask questions. Lastly, ensure the solution you’re choosing is aligned with your organization’s goals. 

Then, make the choice.

Step 5: Manage the Change

Congratulations, you’ve chosen a new system, and you’re getting ready to move. That means you’re all done, right? Well, not quite. 

As much as we may wish, technology is not magic. 

When it comes to data migration, there are 3 considerations that impede the process:

  1. The size of your database
  2. The state of your data
  3. Your team’s availability

The biggest factor is you and your team. 

Make a plan with your department leaders to manage the change and streamline the process. Include:

  • Goals and milestones for adoption for each department – what do you want to achieve and when? How will each department make this happen?
  • Goals for individuals within that department – how does every individual play a part? 
  • A timeline for a “go live” date in each department – when do you want to be “up and running” in the new system?
  • Resources to assist the adoption – does the vendor have a Knowledge Base or Academy that provides self-guided training?
  • Regular checkpoints and internal training sessions – this connects back to the support questions you asked. What does the vendor offer for onboarding and live training?

The most important thing to remember during this entire process is that your employees are humans. Give them grace, give them space, and give them the confidence and tools they need to succeed. 

Following these 5 steps can help you keep your entire new AMS process on track and within your timeline.

Ready to start vetting software?

Schedule a 1-on-1 demo with our sales team to see if AgencyBloc is the right fit for your health and life insurance agency.

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This blog was originally published on November 26, 2019. It has been updated and republished on March 23, 2021.

Posted by Allison Babberl on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 in Customer & Policy Management

  1. data management
  2. vendor vetting

About The Author

Allison Babberl

Allison is the Content Lead at AgencyBloc. She manages the creation and schedule of all educational content for our BlocTalk and Member communities. Favorite quote: “Conversation is the bedrock of relationships. Without it, our relationships are devoid of substance.” -Maribeth Ku ... read more