Is your commercial insurance agency like a doctor’s office?
Remember the last time you went to see your doctor for your annual physical? (You do get an annual physical, right? If you don’t, start.) Let’s assume it wasn’t your first visit—you have been a patient of this doctor for years. But when you announced your arrival to the receptionist, you received a clipboard with layers of paper forms filled with lots of tiny boxes, and instructions to complete all of it before your appointment. You fumble for your glasses and begin to work your way through them. You’re surrounded by other patients, some coughing or not looking well. And like you do every year, you wonder why you need to provide the same information again and again, instead of completing a simple update online before you even arrived.
Guess what? If you don’t like this process, there’s no reason to expect your clients to enjoy the annual slog they endure at insurance policy renewal time. Leading agencies understand it's not a customer experience that will drive higher retention rates. Forms that need to be completely filled out, even though most of the information is unchanged. Documents that need to be signed, scanned, and returned. Back-and-forth with the agent because a couple of fields were left blank. It’s safe to say it’s about as enjoyable as, well, a trip to the doctor’s office.
Commercial insurance doesn’t have to be painful.
Fact is, even some physicians are doing their best to modernize how their practices collect and retain information. These practitioners are smart enough to know that, in addition to an expert diagnosis, their patients expect some reasonable level of service.
How about your agency? Is it still operating like a doctor’s office stuck in the 1980s? Unless you somehow have a book of customers who really look forward to their annual physical, enjoying the opportunity to tackle a stack of forms, it’s time to update your operations.
How are you handling the renewal and application process? How much friction comes between the insured and their coverage? Do they have to scan documents or sign an actual piece of paper with a pen? Are they being forced to add the same information they provided the last time they renewed? And are your agents forced to spend time on tedious administrative tasks instead of gaining the kind of trust that is created through expert diagnosis of the insurance needs of their customers?
It’s time to make insurance renewals and applications less like a trip to the doctor’s office.
Let’s face it. For most companies, renewing or securing insurance coverage is a bit like that annual physical. Nobody loves it, but most realize it’s important and something they have to get done.
How would they like it to be different? For starters, they want it to be a whole lot faster. And they definitely don’t want to spend hours supplying information that is unchanged and they have provided previously.
That’s exactly what it feels like for your customers when you send them a clunky PDF they need to print, complete, sign, scan, and return. In fact, it may be even worse than a trip to the doctor’s office, since at least the patient knows their physical will be done in about half an hour and they won’t have to do it again for another year.
With an outdated renewal or application process, the insured just finds the whole thing painful. Your agents and producers look forward to the outcome—a new policy—but loathe the endless amount of time it takes to arrive at it. What’s more, the rest of their lives are digital. Heck, they may even have a physician who has embraced technology and has replaced that clipboard of forms with an online registration process.
Intuitive online smart forms transform the outdated application and renewal process from an administrative nightmare to a seamless journey to coverage. Your customers will stress less, your brokers and producers won’t need to curse that jammed printer, and carriers will be able to bind coverage in less time.
It’s a prescription for change that is long overdue. And it may even help you get that blood pressure down.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020