A commercial agency enlists Broker Buddha to speed renewals.
Transformation through technology.
In 2014, after leading the regional office of another firm, Doug McOmie made the leap to entrepreneurship and launched Shield National. Today, his agency boasts a solid roster of clients and has carved out significant business in niche industries, including medical imaging, mobile diagnostics, equipment contracting, and sandblasting. Companies offering these products and services have turned to Shield National because they are confident McOmie and his team understand their coverage needs.
Building category-specific expertise, however, was only one element of his plan for success. From the time McOmie began working as a broker in 2007, he saw barriers that made the process of securing coverage more challenging than necessary, especially when it came to renewals.
“You have existing clients—business you’ve already earned—and you’re making them wade through a bunch of paperwork every year just to continue their coverage,” said McOmie. “It didn’t make any sense to me.”
McOmie saw an opportunity to build an agency that wasn’t constrained by traditional approaches. If legacy industrial businesses could be transformed by technology, he thought, why should commercial underwriting remain static?
Make renewals easy. Make the client experience better.
Not only did McOmie want to reduce the amount of time it took agents to secure renewals, he also wanted to improve relationships by making the process far simpler for customers.
“It’s not like anyone running a business has ever said they wanted to fill out more forms,” he said, laughing. “With Broker Buddha, before our clients even get started, all of their information is in place, so completing the renewal application is no longer the boring, time-consuming task it was in the past.”
Shortly after implementing Broker Buddha, National Shield clients were not only getting the renewal process finished more quickly, they were far happier when it was done. McOmie thinks there will be even more positive feedback when clients renew a second time using Broker Buddha, since they will be completely comfortable with the platform and even more information will be pre-filled.
Optimization through customization.
For Shield National, customization was a critical component of speeding renewals. That’s why the agency created its own forms in Broker Buddha—a tailored solution that was ideal for McOmie and his team.
“Lots of things in this business can feel like you’re trying to put a round peg in a square hole,” he said. “With Broker Buddha, it was easy to create custom applications instead of trying to make an old-school ACORD form work. That was a real game-changer. As soon as we did that, the time spent on renewals dropped sharply.”
Since they don’t have to input all the data they did in the past, McOmie estimates that brokers save at least 20 minutes on every renewal, and the agency gains about five hours of additional time every week. The errors that creep in when humans are forced to complete high-touch, manual entry tasks have also been eliminated.
It’s no secret the best salespeople would rather be closing business than dealing with paperwork. Reducing the hours spent processing renewals means agents have more time to pursue additional sales and develop new relationships. It also allows McOmie to scale up without being forced to quickly add staff and take on additional expenses.
Automated reminders prompt renewals.
For McOmie, the biggest benefit of the Broker Buddha platform is the automated email notifications. Not only do these reminders prompt action by clients, they also serve as regular status updates for his team.
“Our customers are far more likely to get a renewal done after they receive an email notification. What’s more, we’re able to get a snapshot of our existing business and see what is outstanding. We can quickly see if a client needs a follow-up phone call or a personal email to get them started.”
For now, McOmie has relied on Broker Buddha to speed renewals. Looking forward, McOmie imagines expanding his use of Broker Buddha throughout his agency and sees automating new applications as a logical next step.
“Look, it’s still a people business—agents building strong client relationships remains vital,” McOmie noted. “But I believe Broker Buddha really helps generate that trust and loyalty—customers appreciate an agency that is working to eliminate the most painful aspects of the insurance process.”