Choosing the Right Key Performance Indicators
Though it can be difficult to set aside time for, analyzing the performance of your insurance agency is so important.
It can also be challenging to decide which KPIs (key performance indicators) to track and analyze, especially if you’re just starting out. ClearPoint Strategy suggests:
“A good KPI should act as a compass, helping you and your team understand whether you’re taking the right path toward your strategic goals. To be effective, a KPI must:
- Be well-defined and quantifiable.
- Be communicated throughout your organization and department.
- Be crucial to achieving your goal. (Hence, key performance indicators.)
- Be applicable to your Line of Business (LOB) or department.”
For insurance agencies, there are countless KPIs that could be monitored. Agencies will differ on which KPIs are most important to them depending on their size, audience, and products/services they specialize in.
However, we feel there are five KPIs that all life and health insurance agencies should consider tracking and analyzing on a regular basis. These metrics cover meaningful areas of your business: commissions, new business, agent production, marketing, and customer satisfaction.
1. Actual vs. Expected Commissions
This metric is important for several reasons, like foreshadowing revenue and to be sure you’re being paid what you’re owed from carriers. A few other reasons identified by agencies are to make more informed decisions about:
- Hiring support staff—when will the agency need to and financially be able to hire more staff?
- Expanding or maintaining current client base—how much does an agent need to sell to reach their financial goal?
- Deciding which products to sell—what products bring the agency substantial revenue? Does the agency need to expand into other areas of business?
- Identifying new sales opportunities—how will expanding into a new market or simply selling more of the current products affect revenue?
- Finding missed or inaccurate commissions—are there discrepancies between what the agency expected to receive vs. what was actually received? How does that affect future plans?
$ in actual commissions received (monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.)
$ in projected commissions (monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.)
$ in expected commissions from carriers
$ in actual commissions received from carriers
2. New Policies (Per Week, Month, Quarter, Year, and Per Agent)
This metric gives you a pulse on the overall activity of your agency by looking at one of the most important aspects of your business: selling policies. Although taking care of current clients should be priority, you still put a lot of effort on prospects and new business.
Looking at the number of new policies coming in weekly, monthly, and yearly is a great way to gauge growth at your agency. Using this metric, you can make more informed decisions on when and where to place resources (think placing extra marketing resources/dollars in your slower periods).
# of new policies (per week, month, quarter, year)
# of new policies (per agent in timeframe)
3. Agent Production
Every business monitors the performance of its employees, and an insurance agency is no different. This metric helps you understand where you can guide agents who might be struggling and where you can continue to encourage top performers. Not to mention, it helps you identify which of your agents might be best for certain accounts.
# of policies sold per agent
$ in commissions received per agent
4. Top Performing Lead Sources
To grow your agency, you have to be able to identify which lead sources are profitable and which aren’t. You’ll want to look at the close ratio per lead source and the close ratio per agent to identify this.
With this information, you can make strategic decisions on where to place more marketing dollars, where to ask for more effort from your agents, and potential lead sources you can cut resources from.
# of contacts per lead source (prospects, clients, etc.)
# of policies per lead source
$ in commissions received per lead source
5. Retention Rate
Inc.com provides this calculation and example for retention rate:
“Retention Rate = ((CE-CN)/CS)) X 100
CE = number of customers at end of period
CN = number of new customers acquired during period
CS = number of customers at start of period
You start the (week/month/year/other period you choose) with 200 customers. You lose 20 customers, but you gain 40 customers. At the end of the period you have 220 customers.
Now do the math:
220 - 40 = 180; 180/200 = .9; .9 x 100 = 90. Your retention rate for the period was 90 percent.”
It’s crucial for agencies to keep a close eye on their overall retention rate. Retention rate is an indicator of client satisfaction, but it can also help agencies identify internal or external factors that are playing into client retention that they may not have been aware of otherwise. Afterall, the only way you’re likely to start asking questions or digging into something is if you’re aware of a significant change. And the only way to identify a significant change is by monitoring this metric over time.
Retention Rate = ((CE-CN)/CS)) X 100 (formula above)
These five KPIs cover the bases for the most important aspects of your business. They definitely aren’t the end-all, be-all for knowing the overall health of your agency, but they can be a good place to start if you aren’t already tracking them.
Visualizing the Data
In order to draw insight from these metrics, you can’t just stare at lines of data. Humans process data best when they can identify patterns and see the trends through data visualization.
To do this, you need the right technology. Although many businesses still attempt data visualization through spreadsheets, that process can be very manual and time-consuming. Not to mention, you may want to look at some of these KPIs on a daily basis, and spreadsheets don’t offer an efficient way to do that. Thus, many insurance agencies are turning to agency management systems (AMSs) with data tracking and analysis capabilities.
There are three main ways to visually monitor and analyze data at your agency: advanced searches, real-time graphs and charts, and custom reporting. AgencyBloc, an AMS built for life and health insurance agencies, provides all three of these.
AgencyBloc's Advanced & Saved Searches
A quick way to pull up specific information is to use Advanced Search. Using an Advanced Search, you can get very granular with the information you’re trying to retrieve. Plus, if it’s something you’re going to be looking at on a regular basis, you can save the search to view again later.
Advanced & Saved Searches are best for information you’re going to act on immediately and for data points you look at often (even daily).
AgencyBloc Advanced Search
AgencyBloc's Dashboard Analytics
Dashboard Analytics are AgencyBloc’s most visual way to consume data through the use of charts and graphs covering client, prospect, agent, policy, carrier, commission, and overall agency activity data. When data is presented in this way (known as “Smart Data”), you’re better able to identify patterns.
This is also a great option for metrics you want to keep a pulse on daily as they are updated in real time (every time relevant data is updated in AgencyBloc, that will be reflected on the real-time graph or chart).
AgencyBloc Dashboard Analytics
AgencyBloc's Standard Industry & Custom Reports
Lastly, AgencyBloc allows agencies to run standard industry reports or build their own custom reports.
AgencyBloc Custom Reporting
This method of gathering and visualizing data proves useful when pulling specific information on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. It’s also a good way to get at those really specific data points because you can filter out whatever you don’t want to see.
So, we’ve given you five KPIs to consider monitoring at your agency, and we’ve looked at a few ways to analyze those metrics. What you need to do now is take those five KPIs and consider if they will work for monitoring performance at your agency. What other metrics will you need to add? Consider what your overall goals are. Do these KPIs allow you to see your progression towards those goals?
Next, you need to examine how you’re currently managing your book of business and how easily data can be pulled from it and analyzed. Unfortunately, some agencies find that their current way of managing their book doesn’t allow for easy data analysis, so they just don’t do it. You can only survive for so long going down that path.
Bottom line: Unless you’re able to visualize your agency’s performance, you’re flying blindly and unable to make truly informed business decisions.
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When tasked with making decisions that affect the direction of your business, how do you ensure your decisions are well-informed? With real-time analytics and custom reporting, life and health agencies are able to assess where they've been and where they're headed with confidence.
This blog was originally published 2/7/2018. It was updated and republished on 10/7/2020.