What is the Difference Between an AMS and a CRM?

Many life and health insurance agencies are making the transition to technologically-based management systems to help them organize and manage their books of business. This article will focus on two of the major management systems and the benefits of using an industry-specific agency management system over a generic CRM.

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in how health and life insurance agencies manage their books of business. In this move, agencies are switching to software to help them organize their business, create efficiencies with consistent processes, and achieve their goals.

When considering your options, it’s essential to understand the types of software available and which might be best for your agency. The two types we’ll discuss are:

  • Agency Management Systems (AMS)
  • CRM Solutions

What is an Agency Management System? What is a CRM?


An AMS is a SaaS (software as a service) technology that insurance agencies use to organize their book of business and more effectively run their operations.

Example: AgencyBloc


A CRM is a type of software designed to help businesses at large manage their customers and other contacts. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be discussing generic CRMs, meaning they’re built for any business in any industry. 


  • Zoho
  • Salesforce
  • HubSpot’s CRM

Agency Management System vs. CRM

When it comes to identifying the differences, the one main thing is this: an agency management system is a CRM, plus a whole lot more.

There are three significant ways that an AMS generally suits an insurance agency better than a CRM:

  • Specificity
  • Totality
  • Productivity


The biggest benefit of an agency management system is that it’s already built for your specific industry niche. For example, AgencyBloc is built to suit the needs of the life and health insurance industry.

A CRM is a generic system built to adapt to the needs of many different industries. It may have many capabilities, but a significant effort may be needed to customize the software to fit your needs.

Those customizations and additional capabilities (i.e., a commissions processing platform) can come at a hefty price. One downside to making so many customizations is that it’s not guaranteed the software or customizations will be supported indefinitely. When updates are made to the software, it's possible the customizations you built won't be supported any longer, forcing you to recreate them again.

Additionally, maintaining the customizations you create can be costly and time-consuming. They can also create a security risk. Operating on outdated software could leave you vulnerable to security threats. To learn more, read our blog: 4 Downfalls of Generic, Overly Customized Software.

Lastly, when a system is specific to your industry, it can be easier to train new employees. If they’re familiar with the industry and the software is built for that specific industry’s needs, those ideas and workflows just make sense. 


An AMS provides many tools beyond contact tracking. It can help you:

  • Manage contacts (leads, prospects, clients)
  • Manage groups, enrollments, and elections
  • Track agents, agencies, and downlines
  • Track policies
  • Process commissions
  • Send mass and targeted emails
  • Automate workflow
  • Manage tasks
  • Analyze your business performance
  • Run industry-specific reports
  • Manage your sales process

Totality also means it’s all in one system. 

With a CRM, you may have to run 2-3 different systems concurrently—like running a CRM and a commissions-specific software in parallel. An AMS has all of those capabilities in one software plus integrations. 


An agency management system like AgencyBloc helps you work smarter, not harder, to achieve more in your day.

The improved productivity comes from:

  • Organized records and ease of locating those records
  • Consistent processes implemented throughout your agency
  • Improved task management and internal communication about what needs to be done and when

Additionally, workflow automation tools, like AgencyBloc’s Automated Workflow, can help you stay on task and in touch with your contacts. Using Automated Workflow in AgencyBloc, you can:

  • Send timely communications to clients (i.e., Happy Birthday or upcoming policy renewal notices)
  • Create speed-to-contact with new leads 
  • Nurture existing leads/prospects
  • Ensure agent paperwork stays updated and accurate
  • Create consistent, proven processes in your agency you can rely on to help you achieve your goals

Ready to move to a new AMS?

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Finding the Right Agency Management System for Your Insurance Agency

When looking for an agency management system, it’s crucial to know if it’ll fulfill your needs and help you meet your goals. Let’s break these down:

  • Wants: The features/capabilities you’d like to have in your AMS to help you take your business to the next level.
  • Needs: The features/capabilities you must have to maintain your current operations.
  • Goals: Where you want to go. Your needs and wants should work in tandem with your goals. 

Once you have your wants, needs, and goals outlined, then start looking at systems. 

It’s crucial to ask questions to help ensure the system is the right fit for you, your agency, and your needs/goals. Here’s a list of features that might be important for your business and whether an AMS or CRM would offer them:

Feature CRM AMS AgencyBloc
Track Clients
Track Prospects
Track Groups
Track Group Enrollments & Elections **
Track Agents
Track Policies
Track Carriers
Email Marketing Automation ** **
Automated Workflow ** **
Email Campaigns ** **
Cloud-Based Access ** **
Data Backup
CRM Data & File Storage **
Third-Party Integrations ** **
Sales & Pipeline Management
Lead Management
Industry-Specific Reporting **
Industry-Specific Analytics **
Process & Track Commissions **
Project Commissions **
Tiered Pricing ** **

**Varies software to software, check with your provider to see if that feature is available

The other major thing to consider is the people behind the software. The AMS you choose is not only a tool your business will use, but the vendor should also be a true partner. 

When looking at vendors, do your due diligence. Use our free tool: Beyond the Product Vendor Research Tool to help you know what to research, what to ask, and where to focus.

“AgencyBloc has streamlined our business. It has operationally helped us in more ways than one. We’ve been able to take our business to the next level and grow because of our partnership with AgencyBloc.”
—Cristin H., The Brokerage, Inc.

If you’re unsure what else to ask, here are more tools to use when vetting AMS vendors:

Migrating to a new agency management system opens the door for your agency to achieve its goals. Knowing the people behind the product and doing your due diligence can help you find the right agency management system that fits your needs, gives you the tools to grow, and is your partner for the future.

An Agency Management System Can Help!

AgencyBloc is the #1 Agency Recommended Management Platform for the life and health insurance industry. Our AMS helps life and health insurance agencies grow their business by organizing and automating their operations using a combination of an industry-specific CRM, commissions processing, and integrated business and marketing automation.

Schedule A Live 1-on-1 Demo

Posted by Allison Babberl on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 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