Navigating technology: Quoting innovations that assist agency growth
Applied Systems acquired EZ Lynx. Zywave acquired ITC and IBQ Systems. Vertafore announced the launch of Commercial Submissions. The insurtech headlines over the past few years demonstrate the prevalence of quoting solutions. You have likely considered, tested or even deployed one or more solutions in your insurance agency that help provide pricing for personal lines and small business customers. In addition, agency management system (AMS) companies have built, acquired and/or partnered with rating or quoting platforms and developed two-way integrations to pass underwriting information seamlessly. Finally, insurance agency website providers have included do-it-yourself rating for visitors that want to begin the quote process or online forms that capture risk profile information to empower you to pull rates behind the scenes.
With its influence affecting prospecting, renewal, upsell and cross-sell opportunities, the growing capabilities of quoting platforms require a deeper dive to understand what efficiency gains are available for your agency.
Universal intake form
With multiple carrier appointments, your ability to provide choice requires sophisticated solutions that can adapt to the various underwriting requirements from a given carrier. As we witness the evolution of quoting platforms, application programming interface (API) and robotic process automation (RPA) are two ways that technology companies ensure you only need to input information once and receive multiple comparative rates for your customer. In simplified terms, APIs standardize the way your quoting form talks to a carrier’s underwriting platform to generate a rate for the customer. RPA is used when APIs are non-existent. A virtual “robot” fills out the required underwriting fields on your behalf and receives a rate from the carrier allowing you to avoid repeating the data entry process for each carrier. Through both, the end goal is to provide you with a universal intake form where integration with your carrier partners has already been resolved, and you can reduce time while ensuring your customers receive the value of choice that defines your independent status.
- Takeaway: As you consider the right quoting platform for your business, list your priority carrier relationships and use that as a guide to determine which insurance technologies have the API integrations and RPA connections that represent the quotes you want to receive.
Physically typing information is lessening due to the introduction of data partners, which complete the intake process on behalf of you and the customer. Made popular in the personal lines space, the use of optical character recognition (OCR) is able to scan a driver’s license, read the words printed on the ID card and return additional insights on drivers, vehicles and public motor vehicular records. In addition to OCR technology, quoting platforms have begun partnering with solutions that surf the web and catalog and return life event information that goes beyond readily available consumer credit data.
Similarly on the commercial side, business classification information is becoming more readily available and exceeds the discovery of primary NAICS codes to identify additional classifications for secondary products and services. As an assurance to insurance agencies, quoting platforms are not resting on their ability to pass information and leave the brunt of research up to you. They are continually partnering with companies and extracting from customer relationship and agency management systems to enrich client profile information and enhance the quoting experience for all parties.
- Takeaway: During your quoting process, determine where you experience the most gaps in data—whether it is due to customer trepidation, forgetfulness or data entry fatigue—and prioritize data partners that have access and the capability to prefill that data on your behalf.
Quote and bind
Managing general agencies (MGAs) and agency networks have begun to offer quote-to-bind experiences that you can incorporate into your agency offering. Ranging from standard personal lines home and auto to niche commercial product lines like motor truck cargo and builders risk, certain entities offer the ability to quote and bind through a digital experience that appends to an existing website. We are witnessing a rise in straight-through processing of transactional risk that benefits from efficient and predictable tasks and pricing.
As carriers enable agencies with the ability to offer more bindable products online, you will be able to determine which customers require your team’s time and attention and which customers would benefit for a digital-only experience.
- Takeaway: While seeking potential efficiency gains, determine which niche and/or highly transactional product lines are ripe for quote and bind automation and ask your carrier, MGA, wholesale and/or network partners if they offer straight-through processing to enhance the agency and customer experience.
Remarketing and book roll
The motivation to remarket and book roll varies, and the activity associated with the process is no light undertaking. Additional work is required and sometimes at the most inopportune moments for the account manager or the agency as a whole. Luckily, certain quoting platforms recognize remarketing and book rolling as a normal part of doing business and have developed bulk upload capabilities in concert with agency management systems to capture a swath of customers around a particular product line and return multiple quotes by account. As agency mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as well as network memberships continue to occur, the ability for agencies to leverage quoting technology for efficient book migration and placement will remain steady.
- Takeaway: If you are leading or plan to lead activities that require remarketing and/or book rolling as part of the agency strategy, seek advice from your agency management system representative on the best way to leverage customer data and a quoting platform to help you complete your bulk initiatives using automation.
Quoting solutions have surpassed the days of obtaining a simple price indication. With the evolution of insurance technology, quoting solutions are amongst the most mature and diverse. Marked by high demand and consolidation through M&A primarily led by large agency management systems, quoting platforms are creating faster, more efficient means of producing bindable quotes and at scale. Nationwide Express allows you to sell wherever your clients are and simplify the quote, bind and pay experience. As data becomes more accessible and underwriting integrations across all product lines become the norm, you have the opportunity to add or enhance your agency and customer experience using automation and positively impact your growth and retention.
Read more of our navigating technology series
Part 1: How to simplify technology decisions by asking four fundamental questions about your agency
Part 2: Controlling the conversation with providers
Part 3: How to measure agency technology
Part 4: Sales innovation that increases efficiency
The information included in this article was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, including subject matter experts, to help users address their own risk management and insurance needs. It does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the suggestions. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2022 Nationwide.