Why the “Collaborative Team Model” is Essential to Insurance Agency Survival

Why is the Collaborative Team Model Essential to any Insurance Agency’s Survival?

This model increases efficiencies, reduces cost, and assigns the proper employee to the proper tasks. The collaborative team model can be done by training new employees, monitoring their activities, and setting them on progression paths incentivizing them to grow professionally as well as to grow the business.   

5 Main Aspects to the Collaborative Team Model

There are five main aspects to a collaborative team model: agency tools, roles and tasks, customer experience, collaborative teams, and employee engagement. 

5 Components Needed for Insurance Agency Survival

#1 Agency Tools
Aspects of agency tools help to implement a collaborative team model involving implementing a customer portal, providing electronic quoting, and signing, having a paperless document storage system in place, using a Voice Over Internet Phone (VoIP) system, implementing timely email marketing and texting and maintaining an excellent website and active social media presence.

It’s also important to listen to all recorded calls and voicemails as well as talking with customers and underwriters.  A way to analyze the productiveness of your employees is to run reports such as an activity report, a suspense report, a document report, and an expired policy report. Another important aspect of agency tools involves methods and processes of communication within an organization to maintain employee engagement. You can maintain employee engagement by communicating virtually through weekly check in calls and having video updates from upper management. Don’t put off video communication, because face-to-face interaction is important, even if it’s virtual. Some popular programs to do this are Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Mural. Using these tools can help to encourage teamwork and collaboration on projects.

#2 Roles and Tasks of Sales, Account Managers and Processors
There are three main roles in agencies, and they are sales, account managers and processors.

Sales are made up of independent insurance agents that typically represent several insurance companies, or “carriers”, and sell the products that most appropriately meet the needs of their clients. Independent agents typically are very well trained and knowledgeable of the complexities of the insurance market and insurance law. Their expertise allows them to advise their clients about appropriate amounts of insurance and insurance coverages for their needs.

The tasks of Sales involve meeting with prospective clients with the ability to take rejection well. Sales is also responsible for evaluating coverage needs of prospects and clients and performing mid-term exposure reviews with their clients.  Account managers are experienced professionals with an assigned list of accounts that they’re accountable for in terms of customer satisfaction, problem resolution and retention.

An insurance account manager position requires a deep understanding of insurance products and state and federal laws that regulate insurance. Typically, these positions are given to candidates with previous experience in the specified insurance field, and who are certified and licensed by their state’s insurance commission. The account manager is a point of contact, and provides customer support, upselling, technical assistance, and general relationship management. The characteristics that make great account managers are those who have great relationship building skills, are strong multi-taskers, and problem solvers. Great account managers are also able to delegate effectively and can always actively listen to their clients’ needs.

Processors are individuals that have many job tasks that need to be performed daily. These can include entering policy data into computers for new clients and updating information for existing clients. Processors also maintain files for each policyholder or client including policies that are nearing renewal or policies that are being canceled. 

Characteristics of a great processor involve being highly detail oriented as well as having a great ability to prioritize tasks. Some processor tasks involve following up on new business submissions with carriers, ordering new policies, entering endorsements on company websites, following up for endorsements not received from the carrier, checking endorsement and sending them to the client, checking on payment status’ of direct bill policies, following up on claims status’, issuing standard certificates and other forms for the holder, billing audits and sending them to clients, checking renewal policies against proposals and ordering renewal policies.

#3 Customer Experience
Customer experience is very important. To know what your customers’ experience is like with your insurance agency, you must be able to collect as much information as possible by utilizing some of the tools mentioned previously: customer portal, VoIP, website and social media presence, email marketing and texting and talking with customers. Reports can help, but it’s essential to have that conversation with customers as well.

Questions that you may want to ask yourself to ensure you’re thinking about the customer experience: How easy is it to buy from you?  What’s your turn around time for quotes?  What’s your follow up procedure?  If you ask yourself these questions, it will better help you to understand your presence on the customer as well as how the customer experiences your business.  To reach and keep customers you must nurture your relationship with them virtually, by being pro-active, doing annual reviews with all current customers and emphasize value-added services you provide. It also helps to set expectations for a client at the time of sale.

A virtual service standard to follow is Ask, Listen, Adjust, Act and Review. What clients see as valuable is having their phone calls and emails returned in a timely manner. They also see value in being helped by knowledgeable, friendly staff who are dependable and do their due diligence in every interaction.

Having employees that give excellent customer service is key in ensuring that your customers will continue to give you, their business. Some client facing service tasks include creating new business submissions and proposals, discussing endorsements and potential claims with clients, creating a Master Certificates of insurance, and checking exposure levels of audits. These are some of the services that you can offer to your clients.

#4 Collaborative Teams
To best implement the Collaborative Teams model is to figure out which personalities of your employees best fit into the most important roles in your organization. Which employees are best at providing customer service? Which employees are best at implementing and completing the process management? Who on your team is best at Sales? When you’re able to answer these questions that’s when you can begin to build a collaborative team within your organization. This will help to make your employees happier, which in turn can ensure that better customer service is given to clients.

#5 Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is crucial.  In fact, our Virtual Human Resources manager could probably give you several tips on how to keep employee engagement high.  According to the Foundational Elements for Success, Angela Adams says you must master how to “Attract and Retain Top Talent.”  A strategic approach to employee engagement can reduce turnover, be a selling point for attracting highly qualified candidates, and improve overall business performance. Retaining a highly engaged staff that is passionate about the success and growth of your insurance agency is an important part of the collaborative team model. You need happy employees.

Happy, highly engaged employees care more about the team’s success, take better care of the clients, promote your agency’s growth, and more!  If you want to learn how to make your employees become raving fans of your insurance agency, let us know.  We can help with that!

In conclusion, a collaborative team model is absolutely essential for an insurance agency’s success.  Are you following this model?  What could you be doing differently or better?  How can we help?  Angela Adams Consulting has been in business for over 20 years and employs over 100 employees with a vast range of knowledge and experience that you won’t find anywhere else.  Whether you want to outsource your agency’s accounting, need help with CSR work or need agency consulting, coaching or advisory solutions… we can help you.  Give us a call today or fill out a form on our website to ask your questions.  We can’t wait to shine the light to your success and get you where you want to be!

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