Whether it’s quoting insurance policies, issuing certificates of insurance, managing customer interactions or email marketing to leads, independent insurance agencies are increasingly turning to modern digital solutions to run their operations more efficiently and provide quality services their customers want and expect.
As an agency’s revenue grows, so does its need to store, process and protect large amounts of data. By standardizing client recordkeeping and minimizing outdated data storage techniques through the use of technology, adopting agency management system (AMS) software can be a game changer for agencies and their staff. That’s why this software is one of four technology solutions to consider to foster agency success. Read on to learn what AMS software is, understand how it works, review key benefits this technology can offer and receive answers to related FAQs.
What is an Agency Management System?
Acting as a central information hub for an agency, AMS software is a digital tool that stores and organizes contact and policy information in a single location. Using AMS software creates customer and operational efficiencies by enabling agency staff to access client or commercial account records, automate routine tasks and gain data-driven insight to support sales and revenue management—all from one convenient place.
AMS software was created for high-revenue agencies in the early 1980s to simplify client recordkeeping and improve efficiencies for managing vast amounts of data traditionally stored on paper. Early systems were hosted on agencies’ in-house computer hardware and required software downloads as system upgrades were rolled out. Along with advances in insurance technology came advances in AMS software functionality. Today’s modern solutions can be cloud-based or hosted in the cloud by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers. Both options give users secure online access, with minimal computer hardware investment for SaaS-based systems. Considered a foundational tool for managing customer interactions and day-to-day operations over the long run, AMS technology is often adopted by independent insurance agencies.
How does Agency Management Systems work?
As the primary hub for storing client records and managing routine tasks, AMS software is the digital tool that agencies, customer service representatives (CSRs), account managers, salespeople and accounting staff use to accomplish daily duties, maintain customer relationships and automate various back-office activities. While features vary between vendors and levels of automation desired, basic AMS software typically enables agencies to:
● Systemize personal and commercial account contact recordkeeping
● Access client or account records and policy information, such as account statuses, policies written, renewal dates, policy notes and claim details to effectively manage client interactions
● Automate routine agency tasks and track progress, such as managing renewals, processing invoices and payments, and email marketing to prospects
● Run reporting for sales and revenue management, such as tracking proposals in the pipeline, outlining commissions by producers, reviewing policies written by carriers and monitoring policy renewal activity
Setting up and using AMS software can be simple or more complex, depending on an agency’s wants and needs. Features differ among vendors and can be highly customizable with third-party integration processes. If an agency plans to use AMS software solely for client recordkeeping and policy management, adoption and use of an out-of-the-box, basic system is typically fast. If an agency’s goal is back-office efficiency through additional automation, such as conducting real-time quoting, assigning routine tasks, processing payments and/or targeting prospects with email marketing automation, then a more extensive setup, third-party integration process and training plan is required. Once an agency’s system is up and running, AMS software serves as the central place for entering client records and running day-to-day business for licensed users.
Benefits of Agency Management Systems
Using AMS technology for client servicing, automating routine tasks and business reporting can benefit independent insurance agencies in numerous ways. In particular, this software can:
● Provide organized and efficient recordkeeping—As an agency grows, the customer information it needs to store becomes increasingly complex and challenging to manage. AMS software tackles this challenge head-on, keeping customer records and information organized and accessible in one place. With a clear view of a person or account’s application status, policies, renewal dates and coverage information, agency staff can work and service customers more efficiently.
● Automate manual tasks—With functionality that can automate routine tasks, such as managing renewals, generating quotes and proposals, invoicing and processing payments, tracking commissions and sending email marketing campaigns, AMS software frees up staff to focus on more value-adding activities.
● Provide operational insight—Through data consolidation, an agency can get a clear, real-time view of its operations with live reporting. With the ability to track tasks and business metrics, an agency is better equipped to manage daily operations and make data-based business decisions.
● Automate client touches—Behind every great independent insurance agency is solid customer relationships. AMS software can generate staff reminders to connect with customers on specific touchpoints, such as life events, birthdays, anniversaries, policy renewals and claim follow-ups, delivering automated interactions customers enjoy.
● Enable remote work—Whether it’s busy producers on the go or employees who need to work remotely, access to AMS software from PCs with internet connection can enable staff to work when and where they need to with no hassle, security issues or unexpected downtime.
It should be noted different forms of AMS technology possess unique features. What’s more, certain benefits of this software may require additional integration processes with other technology systems.
Agency Management Systems FAQs
● What should agencies consider when deciding whether to purchase insurance technology solutions? When evaluating any new insurance tools, it’s helpful for agencies to use a vetting checklist to successfully navigate potential conversations with technology providers.
● How can agencies choose the best AMS software for their particular operations? When selecting AMS software, it’s important for agencies to define what they want and need from this technology and adopt the functionalities that best support those goals. To help take the guesswork out of the buying process, agencies should request referrals from vendors or connect with carrier consultants to get their insight on ease of use and determine how well different functionalities can meet their specific needs.
● How much does AMS software cost? AMS software vendors charge either monthly or annual subscription fees per user. These costs vary depending on the features agencies choose, number of licenses needed and training required. Annual charges typically start at $1,000 and up, while monthly fees start at $60 and up.
● What’s the difference between AMS and customer relationship management (CRM) software? While both systems keep customer records, CRM software is used primarily for lead tracking and sales pipeline management. For a quick overview, agencies can check out this video on the similarities and differences between AMS and CRM software.
● Do agencies need to be tech-savvy to implement AMS software? Modern AMS technology solutions are designed to be easy-to-use. As such, software expertise isn’t required. However, it may be useful for agencies to be familiar with their workflows and desired outcomes to choose software features and design automations that will suit their operations and help them and meet their goals over the next three to five years.