Every business needs a system to help run day-to-day operations. Managing General Agencies (MGAs) in the insurance industry often select a platform in the software category of Agency Management Systems (AMS). An AMS provides a robust suite of tools to help insurers manage work functions and processes all up and down the policy lifecycle and throughout the enterprise.
Running an insurance organization is of course complicated, and as with most complicated systems, adopting and using an AMS presents its own challenges. There is a significant investment of financial and personnel resources, with so much riding on successful implementation - new sales, renewal of expiring policies, policy maintenance, claims, etc. - that maximizing use of the system becomes almost an all-or-nothing proposition.
Yet, the complexity and volume of the functions that enable companies to operate can mire the system for users. If you notice productivity troughs, process breakdowns or other operational snafus relating to the system, it might be time to audit and better administer your management system. Here are some tips on optimizing use:
- The best software in the world is useless if its operators don't know how to use it. Designate a liaison with the system's provider, if you don't already have one, to keep up with product updates and info. Institute regular training and brush-up sessions. Maintain a pipeline of feedback both ways to resolve issues team members are experiencing.
- Integrate as much as possible with existing internal and external systems and data sources. If the management system doesn't play nicely with what you already use, you've got a problem. Backend workarounds take up much time and create frustration for beleaguered team members. Create automatic/automated connections and shortcuts where possible.
- Harness to your benefit the enormous mass of data generated by today's enterprise-wide systems. The proper handling of data can make or break a business. Strive to improve visibility, transparency, control and usability. If possible, incorporate time-based alerts to guide renewals and the like. Also incorporate Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to help determine what is important, the most promising opportunities, and assignment to your best resource.
For a real-world example: Many of our insurance clients have indicated they need a way within their AMS to gather and collate data in a reliably quick, efficient and accurate fashion. It's typical for them to have people print out and merge several crucial reports from the AMS and other systems to support agency and underwriter production.
This time-intensive process leads to working with data that's stale and potentially erroneous (due to high levels of manual manipulation). Team members don't like to do the tedious legwork and the output does not support timely, informed business decisions - as for instance, can be experienced when using effective support tools like visual analytics dashboards fueled by operational intelligence and processes enhanced by automation. More on that in part 2...
But to round off part 1, if all this sounds like a scenario you're a little too familiar with, it might be time to find a tech partner to help you get out of 'spreadsheet nightmares' and avoid 'Excel-hell.' In the meantime, remember: managing your management system is an important facet of managing your business. Keep at it and come out on top!