How to Save 100+ Hours This OEP/AEP Season

How to Save 100+ Hours This OEP/AEP Season

Seamlessly integrating automation into your life

Likely, you have more automation in your day-to-day personal life than you realize. Think about it. Do you have the coffee maker set to have your joe ready at 6 a.m. on the dot? Or, how often do you actually pay your bills? If you’re like me, then you have them setup to automatically pay, so you don’t forget. And, for those of you living in chilly areas like us in Iowa, how much do you rely on that remote start to get you through the winter? These are just a couple of examples, but goes to show just how much we use automation on a daily basis in our lives.

So why not automate your work life, too?

Insurance Industry + Automation

A study conducted by Service Now found the following to be the four major areas of concern for managers:

  1. Heavy administrative workloads leave less time for strategic work.
  2. Slow administrative processes lead to delays in value added work activities.
  3. Unstructured, manual tools reduce their company’s productivity.
  4. Spreadsheets and emails increase the probability of making mistakes.

For insurance agents, administrative tasks could include:

  • Policy renewals
  • Lead follow-up
  • Monitoring policy application statuses
  • New client onboarding
  • Email communications
  • Additional necessary paperwork

These tasks can take up to 15 hours a week, and some agents find that these can take up to 25% of their time. With that in mind, it may be worth considering automating some of these tasks (and others) to help save you time and money. Here are some tasks that we’ve found you can automate in your insurance agency:

Client Communications

Only 14% of insurance clients are satisfied with their current agent-client communications, and 47% want more. Your clients and prospects want to hear from you, but when you’re busy or in the middle of Open Enrollment, it can be hard. How often are you relying on sticky notes or Gmail/Outlook reminders on your phone to call or email people? Automation can help. Having an agency management system (AMS) with integrated Automated Workflow capabilities can make connecting with your prospects and clients a breeze. You can automate certain email communications like:

  • Happy Birthday
  • Thank You
  • Happy Holiday
  • Policy Renewal Reminder
  • Policy Application Process
  • Policy Success
  • Open Enrollment/Annual Election Period Reminder

AgencyBloc's Automated Workflow

AgencyBloc's Automated Workflow feature

Communication not only improves your client retention, but it also improves client satisfaction—and happy clients are 3 times more likely to refer you to a friend. Quote Wizard found that 65% of the leads insurance agents receive are via referrals, in fact, SMS University found referrals to be the number one lead source for agents this Annual Election Period (AEP) season. Keeping in contact with your prospects and clients while also keeping them happy may just lead to more profitability. To learn more about how you can gain more referrals, check out our free eBook The Agent’s Guide to Referrals.

81% of insurance clients leave every year due to lack of communication; using an automated client communication tool like Automated Workflow from AgencyBloc, you can ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

Internal Communications

Not only can client communications take up a lot of your time, but internal communication can as well. McKinsey & Co. reported that we spend 48% of our week writing emails, searching for information, and collaborating internally. Automation can cut that time drastically. With an industry-specific AMS like AgencyBloc, you  This will limit the amount of questions asked and time spent in discussions because your agents will quickly be able to pick up right where another has left off with a client. Improving the way your team communicates and collaborates through technology could raise the productivity of workers by 20-25%.

AgencyBloc's Individual Record

AgencyBloc's Individual Record Management

On top of that, you can setup Automated Workflows that delegate leads and tasks to different agents so that lead distribution simple and fast. There are note sections within each client or prospect’s profile that allow you to record who they are, what they’re looking for, and any other pertinent information you may have. Then, assigned tasks will show up on your agents’ dashboards giving them all the necessary information they need to start working leads, catch up with current clients, or convert prospects. In fact, one agency found that by using Automated Workflows in AgencyBloc, they were able to save 6 hours every Annual Election Period solely on lead distribution.

In addition, using automated reminders can help ensure that you and your agents’ licenses never expire. Set up an Automated Workflow in AgencyBloc to remind you one, two or three months out (or whatever timetable works best for you) that your insurance license and/or your E&O license is expiring. That way you’ll be able to stay on top of your agency, your clients, your agents, and yourself.

Learn more about how the Automated Workflow feature in AgencyBloc can further assist your internal and external communications by checking out our free eBook Automated Workflow for Insurance Agencies.

Commissions

For those of you who process and manage commission splits and hierarchies, I applaud you. We know that can be a time-consuming, stressful, and often thankless job. But it doesn’t have to be so hard. If you are currently processing, tracking, and managing your commission payments manually, then let’s talk about another option. Processing your commissions via manual options, like Excel spreadsheets or paper files, usually present these four major problems:

  1. They’re filled with errors
  2. They’re time-consuming
  3. They create an ineffective audit trail
  4. They provide restricted analyzation

88% of spreadsheets contain errors, and it’s been found that 12 hours are spent each month consolidating, modifying, and correcting spreadsheets. One sales manager even admitted that he spends 90% of his time creating and/or editing a spreadsheet with new numbers. The fact of that matter is, sometimes they just can’t keep up. Paper files and Excel spreadsheets don’t update automatically, so they require you to always manually update them and to never make a mistake. Then, because of all the time you’re spending to update them, you are left with zero opportunity to analyze and grow from them.

As I said, there’s an easier way.

AgencyBloc's Commission Map

By automating your commissions process, you can cut your management time by 75%. How is this done? With the commissions module in AgencyBloc, you eliminate the time it takes you to go through and manually enter the payments received from the carrier, calculate the splits, and enter the final amounts paid to the house, the agent, the recruiter, sub agents, etc. No matter the number of splits you have or levels of hierarchy, you can quickly enter these into the system, and it will handle the rest. In short, you set up how the commissions will split and to whom, from there the system will do the rest for the entirety of the policy’s existence.

“Before AgencyBloc, we spent upwards of 15 hours a week manually uploading commission statements; now we're spending a measly 1-2 hours a week on commissions. We also rely heavily on the missing commission reports that we can easily generate. We've been able to find hundreds of dollars in payments we would have simply missed last year. AgencyBloc has become the backbone of FG Insurance; we don't know what we'd do without you guys.”
Cassandra
FG Insurance

So how does the information get into the system? You import it in. Check out the 6 steps to processing commissions with AgencyBloc below:

Setup Commissions in AgencyBloc

Process Commissions in AgencyBloc

You can gain 90 hours back every month just from eliminating your manual inputs and calculations. Learn more about automating your commissions processing with AgencyBloc’s Commission Module in our free eBook How to Streamline Commissions Processing for Your Insurance Agency.

Analytics

To grow your insurance agency, you need to understand where you are and what is a feasible next step. Analytics also help to ensure your insurance agency is on track to meet the goals you’ve set. This can be difficult if you’re spending all of your time condensing and updating your paper files and spreadsheets. That’s where automated analytics can help.

AgencyBloc’s Dashboard Analytics feature gives you insight into the health of your book of business so you can make a better judgment of what your next step should be. You can use these tools to ensure you’re making the right decisions, receiving the correct commission payments from the carriers, and see who your top producing agents are, plus much more! Why are analytics beneficial? They give you a leg up on your competition because they give you a fuller, more robust view of your agency. That way you can tackle situations before they become problems and avoid any negative slides in your business.

Learn more about how the Dashboard Analytics feature in AgencyBloc can help you better understand your book of business and thus make more informed business-related decisions by checking out our free eBook AgencyBloc’s Dashboard Analytics.

Automation + Open Enrollment/Annual Election Period

So, you can use automation to stay on top of your leads, communicate more effectively internally and externally, better understand your book of business, make commissions processing more efficient, monitor all activities, streamline client onboarding and prospecting efforts, stay ahead of your activities and to-dos, manage your staff and, basically, get more done with less effort.

Free OE Templates

Download our free email templates for Open Enrollment that you can send to your clients, prospects, agents, and leads!

Not only is automation awesome during your daily work life, but it especially comes in handy during Open Enrollment (OE) and Annual Election Period (AEP). Why? Because you’re already stressed to the max and ready for a vacation, and automation helps to ease some of that tension so you can, as I said earlier, get more done with less effort. Plus, it can really make a difference in your daily expenses. HR Lab found that by automating Open Enrollment, agencies can:

  • Cut dedicated HR staff time in half
  • Drop error rates to less than 1% (usually sits around 5%)
  • Save close to $500K (vs. similar paper-based processes)

Of course, the numbers are highly dependent on the size of your company, revenue, number of employees, etc. But the fact of the matter is, it can help you get more done with less effort, less time, and less money. Check out this video to learn more about how having an organized and automated process can make OE and AEP significantly less stressful:

Sound good to you? Let’s talk through some areas where you could integrate automation for Open Enrollment (although you can use this all year round, too!).

Renewals

Renewals take up a bulk of your time during OE or AEP. By automating your client communications during OE and AEP, you can avoid a good chunk of that time spent. How? Setup automated drip email campaigns that are triggered to send before and during enrollment. For this example, the recipients all have policies expiring on 12/15/17. NOTE: with AgencyBloc, you can merge client-specific information into mass email campaigns. The brackets “[]” note the information that will be merged:

Email #1, sent 1 month before the start of OE
Dear [Client’s First Name],
Open Enrollment is only six weeks this year. It will run from November 1—December 15, 2017. Make sure to update your policy [name/number] within that time!
Please contact me at [phone number] or reply to this email to discuss your renewal options. I’m happy to help!
Thanks,
[Your Name]

Email #2, sent on the start date of OE
Dear [Client’s First Name],
Open Enrollment season is upon us! You need to update your policy [name/number] before December 15. Please contact me at [phone number] or reply to this email to discuss your renewal options. I would love to set up a time to meet or chat.
Thanks,
[Your Name]

Email #3, sent one month after the start of OE
Dear [Client’s First Name],
Open Enrollment will be ending soon, make sure you update your policy [name/number] before December 15!
Call me today at [phone number] or reply to this email so we can discuss your options and ensure you’re covered for 2018!
Thanks,
[Your Name]

Email #4, sent one week before the end of OE
Dear [Client’s First Name],
Open Enrollment ends in one week. Make sure you update your policy [name/number] by December 15. Call me today at [phone number] or reply to this email so we can discuss your options.
Thanks,
[Your Name]

You can also set up drip campaigns that follow your clients through the process so they’re always in-the-know of where their policy is and what their next actions are. Here is an example of a drip campaign you could consider:

Email #1, sent 30 days before expiration date
Dear [Client’s First Name],
Your policy [name/number] will expire on [date]. Call me today at [phone number] or reply to this email so we can discuss your options.
Thanks,
[Your Name]

Email #2, sent once policy is submitted for approval
Dear [Client’s First Name],
We have submitted your [health exchange] application for approval. We will keep you up-to-date when the application is approved or if we need additional information.
Thanks for your business,
[Your Name]

Email #2.5 (if necessary), sent if you need more information for approval
Dear [Client’s First Name],
We’ve received notification that your [health exchange] application has been denied because it needs additional information. We will be in contact soon to discuss next steps so we can resubmit the application and receive approval.
Thanks,
[Your Name]

Email #3, sent once approval comes through
Dear [Client’s First Name],
As of today, we’ve received notification that your [health exchange] application has been approved and they have received all documentation. I will be sending additional policy-specific information in the coming weeks for your next steps and any updates I may have. Please call me at [phone number] if you have any questions.
Thanks,
[Your Name]

Forced Policy Changes

Unfortunately, not all of your clients will be able to continue with the coverage type or carrier they’re currently with. The ACA can make it difficult with different carriers entering and leaving every year and different plans being offered. Instead of emailing each of your clients separately to let them know, use Automated Workflow to send a mass email that is targeted and pertinent to its recipients. Check out the example below:

Dear [Client’s First Name],
I want to inform you that [carrier] has changes that will occur after 12/15/17 that I suggest you review [here]. Call me at [phone number] or reply to this email with any questions you have—I would love to set up a time to meet or chat.
Thanks,
[Your Name]

Preparation

Maybe instead of clients, you manage agents. You’ll want to ensure that they are ready and prepared for OE and AEP. Here’s an example you can send to your agents:

Dear [Agent’s First Name],
This is a reminder to let you know Open Enrollment begins on November 1, 2017. Make sure you have everything you need to reach out to all of your clients!
If you need email ideas, check out these free Open Enrollment/Annual Election Period templates.
Call me at [phone number] or reply to this email if you need anything.
Thanks,
[Your Name]

You can set up drip campaigns with information like helpful guides, email templates, and marketing ideas for your agents so they can have the most successful Open Enrollment or Annual Election Period yet!

Leads

Setup a basic lead form on your website to capture contact information for those that are interested in enrolling their policy with you. By building the lead form with AgencyBloc, any information your leads input into the form will go directly to AgencyBloc so you never miss a lead. This information can send an activity and/or email to the correct agent so they’re immediately aware. The activity can be displayed on their dashboard and prompt them to move quickly so they can be the first to contact the lead.

Dear [Lead’s First Name],
Thank you for your interest. To learn more about our company/services please click [here]. I’ll be in contact with you shortly to discuss your needs and possible coverage options. I’m excited to work with you.
If you have any questions, please call me at [phone number] or respond to this email.
Thanks,
[Your Name]

To learn more about lead tracking with AgencyBloc, check out our free white paper Lead Follow-Up: Using AgencyBloc to nurture and convert your leads.

Integrating AgencyBloc

Open Enrollment starts in 49 days and Annual Election Period starts in 33 days. You still have time if you think an industry-specific agency management system (AMS) like AgencyBloc would be beneficial for your agency. Worried you don’t have the time get up and going? Give us a call! For many of our clients, we have them up and running within a few weeks. It’s highly dependent on what your data migration looks like. Either way, we can start the conversation and see where it goes!

Want to see what AgencyBloc can do for you?

Schedule a live, 1-on-1 demo to see our agency management system for yourself and get your unique business questions answered.

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Allison Babberl

By Allison Babberl on September 12, 2017 in Technology

Allison is the Marketing Content Specialist at AgencyBloc. She creates educational content and designs videos to promote AgencyBloc's resources to help you organize, automate, and grow your insurance agency. Favorite quote: “Conversation is the bedrock of relationships. Without it, our relationships are devoid of substance.” -Maribeth Kuzmeski More articles

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