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Benefits of cloud-based and SaaS technology for insurance agents

March 20, 2024

Picture an insurance agency where agents seamlessly navigate through their daily tasks using a sophisticated cloud computing system. Cloud-based and software as a service (SaaS) technology grants them access to a digital landscape of storage, files, software and servers, not tethered to a physical location but woven seamlessly into the fabric of their internet-connected devices — be it their computers, smartphones, tablets or even wearables.

The shift to cloud computing is more than just a technological upgrade; it empowers insurance agencies of all sizes. This article delves into the benefits of embracing cloud-based and SaaS technology for insurance agents, exploring how these advancements not only propel them into the digital age but also position them as formidable contenders against larger counterparts.

What is cloud technology?

Cloud-based technology provides on-demand access to computing resources through the internet, eliminating the need for physical infrastructure. Key providers like Applied, Vertafore, Zywave, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure offering tailored solutions for secure storage and analytics, providing a more agile and cost-effective landscape for insurance professionals.

What is SaaS?

SaaS delivers applications over the internet, eliminating the need for software installation and maintenance. SaaS applications run on servers managed by providers, handling security and performance. In insurance, brands like Applied, Vertafore, Zywave, Hawksoft, Salesforce, HubSpot and Zendesk offer ready-to-use solutions.

Cloud computing and SaaS share similarities but differ in customization and management control. Cloud computing allows customization, while SaaS provides pre-developed software with a subscription model, emphasizing scale as the primary difference.

What distinguishes a SaaS platform from regular software applications?

Suitable for remote work, SaaS differs from regular software by being accessible online. Managed by providers, SaaS ensures security, utilizing advanced measures like encryption and multifactor authentication to safeguard user data, and software updates, while regular software demands user or IT maintenance. SaaS’s subscription model offers cost-effective access, with flexible pricing plans for scalable usage. Built-in collaboration tools, analytics and integrations enhance efficiency and set SaaS apart from traditional software.

Benefits of cloud technology and SaaS technology for insurance agents

Cloud-based and SaaS technology offer many benefits, including:

  • Improved data security and privacy: These technologies use advanced security protocols, encryption and continuous monitoring. They include reliable backup and disaster recovery mechanisms. They also ensure compliance with industry regulations for customer data protection.
  • Scalability: Both technologies can handle fluctuations as needed.
  • Cost optimization and increased profitability: Both technologies can streamline operations without investing in expensive servers and hardware. The scalability and flexibility also allows companies to optimize resource allocation.
  • Enhanced customer experience: Both technologies allow for personalized experiences through self-service capabilities, allowing companies to understand their customers better and tailor products to them. SaaS in particular offers online portals and mobile apps for convenient policy management.
  • Enhanced efficiency and operational speed: Both technologies provide seamless access and policy processing from anywhere, eliminating paperwork. They also allow for real-time collaboration and faster claim settlements.

While many benefits overlap between cloud and SaaS, some are more specific to each.

  • SaaS solutions provide access to cutting-edge technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which insurance companies may find challenging to develop in-house. These innovations can accelerate processes like underwriting, fraud detection and claims processing.
  • SaaS solutions can improve individualized care, claims handling efficiency and provide prompt responses to client inquiries. Insights generated by the platform contribute to discovering new commercial prospects and making well-considered policy choices.
  • Cloud computing improves disaster recovery for insurance companies by quickly switching to backup environments hosted in the cloud. This minimizes downtime and ensures business continuity in the event of server failures.
  • SaaS insurance solutions offer more flexibility than conventional software, allowing team members to contribute from various locations.

Cloud technology solutions for insurance agents

Though cloud-based technology in the insurance sector continues evolving, there are solutions already available for agents:

  • Data storage and backup: Secure, reliable and scalable cloud storage for backing up critical insurance data. Brands include Dropbox Business and AWS Backup.
  • Marketing campaigns: Cloud-based solutions optimize marketing strategies, leveraging data analytics for targeted campaigns and improved conversion rates. Brands include Adobe Marketing Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Applied Marketing Automation and Zywave’s Sales and Content Cloud.
  • Claims management: Cloud-based solutions centralize and digitize claim documents, enhancing efficiency and customer experience. Brands include Guidewire, ClaimVantage and Sapiens ClaimsPro.
  • API integration: The cloud facilitates API integration with third-party providers for accessing new functionality and data. Brands include MuleSoft, Dell Boomi and Apigee (Google Cloud), Applied, Zywave and Vertafore.
  • Risk assessment and mitigation: Cloud-based AI and analytics identify, assess and mitigate risks, offering valuable insights and adaptability. Brands include IBM Cloud for Insurance, Oracle Fusion Cloud Risk Management and Compliance and SAS Risk Management for Insurance.
  • Underwriting: Cloud-based solutions streamline underwriting processes by accessing extensive data for informed decision-making. Brands include Salesforce Insurance Cloud, Microsoft Azure for Insurance and Amazon Web Services.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM): Cloud-based CRM platforms centralize customer data, enabling personalized interactions and improved retention. Brands include Salesforce, Applied, Zywave, Vertafore, HubSpot CRM for insurance and Zoho CRM for insurance.
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP): The cloud is ideal for running ERP systems, ensuring secure and scalable day-to-day operations. Brands include SAP Business ByDesign and Oracle Cloud ERP.
  • Platform hosting: The cloud hosts insurance platforms for quick deployment of new applications and services. Brands include Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

How secure is cloud-based technology?

Cloud-based technologies offer secure data storage that surpasses traditional methods. Cloud storage prevents attacks like ransomware, as data isn’t limited to a single device. Access requires a digital key, and cloud providers ensure constant monitoring and end-to-end encryption.

Despite these measures, cloud platforms face security challenges. Malicious actors may use social engineering to bypass encryption, and human errors can create vulnerabilities. With over 60% of corporate data in the cloud, it remains a significant target for cybercriminals.1 Insurance agents can enhance security by implementing strong authentication, educating employees and staying vigilant against evolving threats.

Advance your insurance agency with cloud technology

Cloud technology is reshaping the insurance sector, driving innovation and operational efficiency. Insurers should prioritize training, integration tools and change management for seamless adoption.

Despite regulatory considerations, leading providers view cloud capabilities as essential for future success. The incorporation of AI, the Internet of Things and blockchain in the cloud offers promising breakthroughs. Insurance agents adopting cloud technology strategically gain a competitive advantage in a changing landscape.