Adding Value to the Agent Experience
Published on September 20, 2019
We talk a lot about the customer experience, or “CX”, in the modern-day vernacular. And we should because it’s incredibly important. However, another very important stakeholder for many insurance companies and MGAs is the retail agent. The agent experience (AX) is critically important to any carrier that distributes its products through an agency force. Without a great AX, your agents aren’t strongly incentivized to sell your policies instead of those issued by another company.
Agents spend significant resources to earn customer confidence. It's understandable then that agents need confidence in your company, and access to intuitive technology that helps them sell and service your product, in order to put their hard-won customer in your hands.
So, how do you create a great AX and earn the trust and the business of your agents?
How much time and resources have been invested in your agent portal? Successful insurance companies and managing general agents maximize technology to address the needs of their agents. Portals through which agents can quote, bind and issue all online in a single session represent a strong value proposition.
But it goes further than this….as the most frequent touch-points in an insurance transaction, both billing and payments play a significant role in how your agents feel about your company, your products, and your services.
Once purchased, have you provided every possible means to pay for the policy? Have you incorporated (1) pay in full; (2) direct bill; (3) agency bill and (4) premium financing ALL simultaneously into your point of sale purchasing system? Are these options fully digital, requiring no paper?
Can your agents assist by providing customized and flexible payment plans that work for the policyholder?
Is the payment collection process digital and fully integrated into the purchase portal?
Any missing component here creates friction and a reason for an agent to make an alternative recommendation or for a policyholder not to buy.
The agent is tied to the transaction for the policy term – to help serve the needs of the policyholder. To make sure the insurance continues to provide the necessary coverage as the policyholder’s needs evolve. To help the policyholder through a claim if something should occur.
Reminding the policyholder of an upcoming payment to avoid cancellation is also critical. Here are some helpful ways to help your agents keep your policyholders insured:
- Send digital cancellation reminders (emails and texts) to your agents so that they can facilitate the payment from the policyholder
- Allow agents to make online payments for the policyholder
- Allow the agent to grant an extra day to a policyholder in order to make a payment if they forget
- Allow agents to pay for multiple customer policies with one transaction
- Give agents the ability to easily retrieve an electronic copy of an invoice and send to the policyholder in case it was overlooked
Helping agents prevent customer cancellation provides tremendous AX benefits.
■ Increasing retention by 5% | Increases profits by 25-95%
■ Repeat customers spend 33% more than new ones
- Bain & Company
Provide all of these features digitally and completely integrated within your policy portal and you will have created an extremely compelling product that your agents won’t be able to live without.
Clear and readable commission reports are very important. If you really want to impress them, allow your agents to tailor the reports they get from you. Some information is always on the report, but how about configuring reports for agents so that they can get the data they need rather than just the data you choose to provide?
Once they become accustomed to receiving readable, reconcilable, useful and reliable reporting from your company, in a format they prefer, agents will not want to leave - and you will see a whole new level of appreciation and enthusiasm about your service.
Think about everything you depend on your agent to do during a policy term. How much additional value could your agents add to your portfolio if they have the right tools? Think about what would happen to your premium volume if agents absolutely loved the experience you delivered.
Create an outstanding AX and your agents will reward you with their business and their loyalty.