The rapid technology changes required to deal with an evolving
marketplace remind insurers and agents how far they’ve come,
and how far they have to go in order to make better decisions
about how they do business.
The age-old dilemma of what agents want vs. what hey get from carriers isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, of late, the argument has taken several turns. With organic growth an imperative, carriers of all sizes and lines of business are keeping several balls in the air at once: understanding the nuances of their existing customer set, using analytics to realize
new opportunities, developing appropriate products that play to
those opportunities, and bringing those opportunities to fruition
by keeping their channel happy.
Providing the technology that makes that possible is seen by
most insurers as essential, creating a competitive advantage when
done properly. But how do carriers fare when responding to a
channel that faces increased business demands of its own, such as
cost reduction, technology efficiencies and faster quote/bind capabilities?
Insurance specialist Haylor, Freyer & Coon Inc. (HFC), may epitomize those channel demands, explains Cyndy Smith,
VP at the Syracuse, N. Y.-based agency that claims 200
employee owners in 10 offices. By Pat Speer
“Because of this long, extended soft market, agents are con-
stantly focused on driving expenses out of the operating side of the
business,” she says. “New business aside, we all closely monitor
revenue because premiums are down based on sales in this econo-
my. So agents need to find ways to improve expense management
on our operational side.”
When Frank Petersmark served as CIO at Amerisure, a provider
of commercial lines property/casualty and health insurance, he
tried, over his 13-plus-year tenure, to help his agent and broker net-
work keep costs down. Working with agents using Vertafore’s myr-
iad products such as Sagitta, AMS 360 and AIM, as well as Applied
Systems’ EPIC and TAM agency management systems, Petersmark
came up with a solution: an Amerisure portal “with the dream of
straight-through processing,” says Petersmark.
Now as head of Tabula Rasa Consulting, LLC, and CIO Advocate
for enterprise and application services provider X by 2 Inc., Petersmark says that the reasons carriers such as Amerisure upgrade their
systems is obvious. “They want to save agents and brokers time and money with technologies that will improve the agent/broker’s ability to deliver business.”