It can be difficult to differentiate between what you need and what you want. Needs are the basic capabilities and core functions that are necessary for you to continue running your business at the level you do today or greater. Losing any of these needs would adversely affect your bottom line and be negative for production, growth, and efficiency. Needs are requirements for you to reach your goals, and they help dictate where to take your agency and when. Sometimes that means a technological upgrade, move, or change.
When should you move?
Deciding what your agency needs technologically can be challenging. Deciding when you should move technologically is just as difficult. You might be considering moving to a new system if:
- You don’t feel like your current system allows your to grow. Maybe your paper files or Excel spreadsheets are becoming cumbersome to manage larger amounts of data.What you have now is currently working fine for you, and that’s awesome, but, realistically, can what you are currently doing facilitate your goals?
- You've decided that you want your data to be backed up more often in case of a natural disaster or computer crash.
- You've discovered that your agents need access to their book-of-business on their mobile phones to service clients more efficiently and your current system doesn't allow for that.
It’s a hard decision and it’s unique for every agency. Agency Management Systems (AMS) are excellent choices for addressing the issues described above and moving towards to a more organized and automated agency. Check out our blog to see the benefits insurance agencies have found by utilizing an AMS.
How to prepare
When you are upgrading, expanding, or just simply improving, you should be making a list detailing what your agency needs and what you’d like to have (wants). This list should be your agency’s roadmap detailing how you want to grow and how you will accomplish that growth.
That’s easy to say, but do you actually have these needs identified and agreed upon by your entire team? Here are some things your agency might consider security-wise when you’re making your list:
- You house so much personal information, has the new system signed a HIPAA business agreement? (even better, do they use the disclosure of PHI?)
- Does the new system give you ample document storage?
- Does it allow you to have complete ownership of that data?
- Is the system secure? Does it perform routine backups? This is the sole location of most of your data if it crashes what will you do?
Your clients have put their trust in your agency; you should have the ability to protect them and their sensitive information. You should also be able to keep ownership over that data to better protect your clients.
Security is essential, but it isn’t the only basic need for health and life insurance agencies. Here are some additional functions your agency could consider:
- Can you efficiently track/manage your clients, policies, agents (possibly), and carriers?
- Can you track/manage leads, opportunities, and prospects?
- Does it allow you to export your data?
Customizing to your agency
All of the features we've discussed are important, but, like we've said, each agency's needs are going to be different. Start by figuring out your goals.
How can this help? Once you know your direction, you can then analyze the day-to-day processes of your agency, and find where you can improve efficiency and effectiveness. Figure out what needs to be enhanced, upgraded, or changed for you to reach your goals - these are your needs. When you have your needs together, write them down! Writing down your needs will remind you of your goals, your goals will remind you of your aspirations, and your aspirations will give you the motivation to accomplish what may feel like a daunting change.
Your needs list
We know every agency will have its own set of needs and goals. You may or may not find the examples above pertinent to your process now, but keep in mind, as your agency matures, will these become important?
When you’re defining what your agency needs, one key thing you must do is ask yourself what your motivation is. Your end goal is crucial to the formation of your needs. You want to be at x, how do you get there? What steps do you need to take? What functions and features will help you get there? These questions are critical to helping you form your needs.
We understand, considering a technological change is scary. Are you hesitant about how best to manage your business and team while you’re in transition? Check out our free eBook that centers around the steps to take to prepare for the change, and then how best to navigate the process while you go through it.