5 LinkedIn Advertising Mistakes to Avoid

Why You Should Advertise on LinkedIn

LinkedIn advertising is an exceptional opportunity that many agency owners overlook. Independent agents, like yourself, often use LinkedIn to showcase their expertise. The thing is, the platform can do so much more.

By embracing LinkedIn advertising tools, you can connect with a broad audience brimming with all kinds of professionals and companies. It’s a marketing dream.

If you are wondering why you should advertise on LinkedIn, and want to avoid LinkedIn advertising mistakes that can derail your campaign, here’s what you need to know.

Unique Opportunities

LinkedIn gives you the ability to target audiences that you don’t necessarily find elsewhere. You can choose to focus on certain industries, job functions, interests, member skills, and a ton more. This gives you the ability to tap the specific kinds of professionals, increasing the odds that your ads will reach the right audience.

Lower Competition

In comparison to social media behemoths like Facebook, competition among advertisers on LinkedIn is ridiculously low. Not only can this make LinkedIn more affordable, but it also means your campaign isn’t as likely to get overrun (or outbid) by a competitor.

Ease-of-Use

LinkedIn’s advertising program is a breeze. With a few clicks, you can get a campaign going, even if you aren’t a marketing expert.

Less Clutter

While LinkedIn is increasingly displaying ads, most users’ feeds aren’t as cluttered here as they may be on other social platforms. That means there’s a better shot your ad will actually catch their eye, and that can boost engagement.

5 LinkedIn Advertising Mistakes to Avoid

1. Ineffective Targeting

The whole point of social media advertising for independent agents is to reach the right audience. If you don’t choose the right targets, you’re throwing your advertising dollars into a black hole.

Ideally, you want to strike a balance. If your audience is too broad, many of the people who see your ad might not be interested. If it’s too narrow, you may miss out on potential customers.

Additionally, you don’t have to settle for just one audience. Instead, create several. That way, you can use different messaging in your ads, with each one focusing on what resonates with that specific group.

2. Overwhelming Visual Elements

Many entrepreneurs who are new to the social media advertising game put too much in their ads. If you have a ton of text, buttons, graphics, and other elements, looking at your ad might be visually painful.

Keep your ads simple. Make sure any images are clear, and that text remains readable. Limit the number of elements to just a few. That way, your ads aren’t a confusing mess.

3. Only Creating One or Two Ads

When it comes to LinkedIn advertising success, every independent agent or agency owner needs to embrace A/B testing. That process involves producing and publishing two ads, allowing you to see which one wins out when it comes to engagement.

Then, you can use that information to create two more ads. Do an A/B test with those. See what happens over the month. After that, refine again.

This approach creates an opportunity for continuous improvement. You just keep tweaking away, ensuring you achieve the best results possible.

4. Ignoring Performance Analytics

Performance analytics is a must-use tool. It lets you see what is and isn’t working. When an ad is doing great, you can direct more of your ad-spend to it. If one’s floundering, scrap it and try something new.

5. Overlooking Mobile Compatibility

Most people visit LinkedIn on their mobile devices. If your ad goes to a landing page that isn’t mobile compatible, it won’t look good if the viewer is using a smartphone.

Before you publish a campaign, see if the page looks good on different devices. If it does, great! If not, adjust it until it does.

 

Looking for More Digital Marketing Tips For Your Independent Insurance Agency?

LinkedIn advertising is an amazing tool for any business, including insurance agencies and independent agents. Take advantage of what it offers, ensuring you can reach your ideal audience with ease.

If you’d like more tips about independent insurance agency advertising, we’ve got you covered. Follow up on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

5 Tips for Attending Your Next Big I Virtual Conference and Tradeshow

Virtual events in the insurance industry are popping up everywhere. They provide insurance agents, like yourself, the opportunity to receive timely advice, network with peers, and stay up to date with the industry’s newest trends and technologies, all with one added benefit: you can attend from anywhere. This means it’s easier than ever to access the resources these events are offering. However, in order to make the most of this new environment, you have to switch up your strategy — that’s why we’ve put together this list of 5 things to do to make the most out of your experience.

1. Be Proactive and Get on Social

Unlike in-person events, you have to get in on all of the event’s action early. The best way to do this is on social media. Prior to the start of the event, see what all the buzz is about, find the event hashtags, and follow people that are going to keep you updated on the event’s happenings — the organizers, keynote speakers and sponsors. You can stay in the know on the most important sessions to tune into, the prizes and giveaways, and join in on conversations with other attendees. 

2. Review the Sponsors

Event sponsors are there specifically to talk to you and give you key information on how to improve your agency, workflow, and tech stack. And, they’ll incentivize you to stop by their booth — even if it is only a virtual one. At an in-person event, you might just wander around the exhibit hall and stumble upon (or be approached by) an interesting sponsor. However, it’s a different story online. You have to do your research on the sponsors, their offerings, key benefits, etc. and then seek them out.

3. Check Out the Speakers

Virtual events can be just as hectic as in-person conferences. There may be a broad selection of sessions occurring simultaneously, and some may limit the number of attendees. That’s why it’s important to do your research on the sessions and speakers ahead of time. Find the topics that interest you — what’s going to help you streamline your operations and keep you engaged, take the opportunities to ask questions during live events, and give feedback!

4. Prioritize Your Time

If you want to make the most of the virtual conference, formalize your schedule just as you would for an in-person event. Choose the sessions you’d prefer to attend in advance, block out the time on your calendar, schedule reminders with the direct link to the session in a note, and take any other steps that help you stay organized and focus. And don’t forget to set aside some time to check out the vendors and sponsors!

5. Collaborate and Network Outside the Platform

While virtual conferences typically provide attendees with access to communication tools, they usually don’t remain available for long once the event draws to a close. If you enjoy a speaker’s presentation, are intrigued by a vendor’s product, or cross paths with a fellow independent insurance agent that you want to connect with, reach out. Schedule one-on-one meetings, either during the event or after, ensuring you have a chance to converse.

If you’re attending with a team, set up a Microsoft Teams or Slack channel to discuss your conference experience. Share information, divide up sessions, and strategize how to approach the event and make the most out of it for everyone.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

Virtual events may be the norm for some time, so it’s wise to take advantage of what they have to offer. If you’re looking for more tips for attendees or guidance that can help you navigate the post-COVID-19 landscape, we have you covered. For more tips, tricks, and tidbits, follow us on Facebook.

When Your Agency Goes Digital It’s Not Just Your Clients Who Will Be Thanking You.

The term “payment environment” is used a lot these days. It describes consumer preferences and trends in paying for goods and services. Notice that the phrase contains the word “environment.” It’s not by accident: paper-based billing and payments seriously impact the physical and natural environment!

We touched on these environmental drawbacks in our blog post on the hidden costs of paper checks. We understand your primary goal is to sell insurance and keep your clients happy⁠—saving the planet may not be a top, or even mid-tier, priority. However, it’s good business to think about reducing your agency’s carbon footprint. You might want to care because…

Your Clients Care
Environmental responsibility is expected from more than just larger companies. Even small business owners are becoming more aware and incorporating sustainability practices

Your Employees Care
 Who among us doesn’t know about “reduce, reuse, recycle,” which now includes a fourth “r”: rot (compost). As consumers themselves, employees want to support environmentally friendly businesses. Working for one can be a source of pride.

It Can Save You Money
As discussed in the “hidden costs” blog, paper checks are more expensive to process than other payment methods. If you can cut costs without cutting corners on the environment, it’s a win-win.

Let’s do a quick comparison of payment methods and their impact on the environment.

Payments by Check

  • The process of making paper checks includes excess energy, water and chemicals (not to mention the trees themselves).
  • Transportation (mainly driving) of the check itself creates air pollution.
  • As discussed in our companion blog on security, the process of mailing (or hand-delivering) and taking the check in for deposit enlarges your carbon footprint.
  • Envelopes and stamps are added paper waste (and expensive).

If your agency has a paper recycling program in place, that’s great, but this cannot help in the other various ways paper checks have a negative effect on the environment. 

Digital Payments

  • There is no “production” involved (no use of natural resources or chemicals).
  • There is no transportation involved (zero carbon footprint).
  • There is no paper waste, because there is no paper, postage, or printed receipts (receipts are generated automatically and transmitted electronically)

From an environmental responsibility standpoint, the choice is clear, clean and sustainable. Digital payments are the way to go, and ePayPolicy makes those payments even more secure and sustainable.

Choosing the Green Option
Our payment environment is rapidly shifting to a digital payment environment. You might want to conduct a quick sustainability audit and show your business clients (and employees) you’re doing your part to support their efforts.

Switching from paper payments to electronic payments is easy with ePayPolicy, because we integrate with your AMS. It’s faster, simpler, and more convenient for your insureds. Additionally, it’s a positive green-business practice that will bring more literal “green” to your agency.  

Are Paper Checks Putting Your Insureds and Agency At Risk?

Why do people buy insurance? For protection. It’s ironic, then, that paying for insurance could leave them—as well as your agency—exposed. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t have to.)

We’re referring to the security risks of paper checks. The insured writes a premium check and drops it in the mail. If everything goes right, the check takes a few days to reach your agency. If it doesn’t, the check could end up… who knows where. Once inside the agency, the check has more opportunities to get stuck in a file folder, under a pile of mail, or accidentally picked up off someone’s desk. It may turn up weeks or even months later. At that point, the check may no longer be cashable. In fact, you could get charged a “deposit item returned” fee from the bank.

Risks to the Insured
The main problem is not the amount of the check; it’s the information on the check. All someone needs to raid your client’s bank account is the routing and account number. Often enough, they don’t even need the name to write an electronic check from the account. But checks also contain other personally identifying information (PII) that thieves steal to wreak havoc with someone’s finances and credit. 

Name and address, both printed on a check, are PII. Some people have even been known to include their driver’s license number or Social Security number on their checks (although that’s highly unlikely for a business account). All of this PII is an open invitation for bad actors. Any enterprising imposter can simply copy the information off your client’s check, and they’re off and running. 

Risks to the Agency and the Insured
The insured is putting their PII, along with a large amount of money, at risk when they write you a check. Every pair of hands that touches the check could fraudulently cash it and/or steal the insured’s identity. This might not be likely to happen within your agency, we know you manage a  top-notch, respectable workforce. But the risk of really anyone (e.g., technicians, sales reps or other visitors) taking a paper check is there. 

As the payee, you assume some risk for that payment as well. If something happens to the check along the way, the insured could hold your agency responsible. It costs them money to put a stop payment on the check, and if you do find the check and deposit it at the wrong time for the client, it can bounce. Nobody wants those extra bank fees.

The Better, Safer Payment Option
Of course we’re not going to leave you without a solution to these security risks! You can eliminate them by accepting digital payments with ePayPolicy. On top of being faster, simpler and more convenient for the client, digital payments are incredibly more secure than checks. 

ePayPolicy is also PCI compliant. That means we take full responsibility for the data security of your insureds’ digital  payments. We don’t store payment information unless they ask to set up an account. Even then, it’s all encrypted. We never see it, and cyber thieves never could

Here’s a link, in case you missed our blog on the importance of PCI compliance for your agency.

In Summary
Whereas checks are inherently risky, we make digital payments safe. The ePayPolicy platform is hack-proof, and we’re constantly testing it to ensure the highest level of security. If you’re ready to provide the safest payment option to your insureds, sign up or schedule a demo here.

Sell Smarter with Insurance Agency Buyer Personas

What are personas and why would my insurance agency need them? The fact is, buyer personas help you sell smarter by focusing your resources and messaging on attracting the clients you want. Buyer personas for your Insurance Agency are easy and inexpensive to create and require only your internal staff.

Buyer Personas, Defined
A buyer persona is an archetype of a business’ ideal client, customer, or visitor in a specific market segment. It’s an amalgam of details about the buyer’s background, motivations, interests, preferences and habits. Marketers have been using them for years to target (or micro target) potential buyers with tailored, personalized engagements. And you don’t have to be a huge global brand to leverage this marketing tool. Buyer personas become essential as you engage prospects via multiple digital channels like your website, social media, and email. 

Think about your sales pitch to the founder/CEO of a successful, multi-generational construction company (Owner Owen). Now, imagine you’re addressing a young entrepreneur starting a tech consulting business (Startup Shauna). Even if they’re buying the same policy, there are major demographic and psychographic differences between the two prospects. One-size marketing does NOT fit all.

But you know this! No doubt you have a vivid image of each buyer in your head right now, because you’ve been at this long enough to know the pain points and sweet spots of pretty much everyone in your sales funnel. 

A buyer persona just takes this mental image a step further. It formalizes what you already know about your clients/prospects, and adds other important insights to distill it into identifiable “types” (known as personas) so that everyone in the agency is working from the same model and script. 

Meet Owner Owen and Startup Shauna
Owner Owen is the patriarch of a family business. He’s likely in his 60s or 70s. His business is well established, with annual revenues of $12 million. Owen’s getting ready to retire and pass the reins to his son. Owen has purchased numerous insurance policies over the years–he’s a savvy consumer. Where would you likely reach Owner Owen? (Hint: Not on social media!) And how would you talk to him about the coverage he needs, given his goals? 

Startup Shauna is also a business owner. But she’s in her 20s. She is borrowing money from her parents to fund the business. She rents an apartment and will be working from there (at least to start). This is Shauna’s first experience buying any insurance beyond auto. She needs lots of education. Where would you expect Shauna to research business insurance? What concerns might Startup Shauna have that Owner Owen would not? 

Research, the Foundation of Buyer Personas
A good buyer persona is based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. You already have demographics: age, income level, occupation, geographic location, etc. in your AMS, CRM or files. This is an opportunity to round out what you have with valuable insights about the person behind the purchase.  

Here are three typical methods of gathering additional information for buyer personas: 

1. Your agents. They have a wealth of details about who is and is not buying and why.

2. Interviews and reviews. Connect one-on-one with clients and prospects who are happy with your service. Their perspective is invaluable in crafting marketing messages aimed at similar prospects.

3. Analytics. Powerful free tools like Google Analytics show you who’s visiting/engaging with your website and social media pages.

The persona development process itself provides insight into where buyers prefer to access information about insurance and your agency. One might go to social media whereas another might prefer traditional media. Probe to understand how they think, what they like, their hobbies, where they travel, etc. This will likely uncover cross-selling or upselling opportunities. And don’t forget to ask what they look for in an insurance agent!

How Many Personas Should You Have?
There is no magic number. You could have two or you could ten. It depends on your agency’s book of business and how you segment your markets. You can create personas by product line, by industry type or company size, by location, generation, and/or any combination—whatever makes sense for your agency.

Where Do I Start?
There are tons of free templates available online that can help you determine what information to include and how to get started. Not only will you uncover a goldmine of actionable information about where/how to reach out and what content to direct toward each buyer persona, but your team will love contributing to the project. In short, buyer personas help you appeal efficiently to the right people and increase insurance sales.

For more insurance marketing tips be sure to follow ePayPolicy on Facebook

Why You Should Hire an Independent Insurance Agency Consultant

Someone asks you what you do for a living. You answer:
(a) I sell insurance. OR
(b) I advise business owners on managing risk and protecting their assets.

True, your agency does “sell” insurance, but behind every policy recommendation is your valuable knowledge and experience. Your clients rely on you for insurance advice because they know they need insurance, and insurance is not their core competency. This is why you need an independent insurance agency consultant. 

Any responsible independent agent is constantly looking for ways to improve and grow their agency. It’s a given that you’re going to need specialized knowledge to guide you. Since such expertise is not likely to be found within the agency, you need a consultant. Your accountant and attorney are excellent examples of this because they are trusted business advisors (a.k.a. consultants).

How Else do Independent Insurance Agencies Use Outside Business Consultants?
Consultants can offer you advice in any number of areas including:

— Operations
— Strategic planning
— Sales
— Marketing
— InsurTech
— Efficiency
— Leadership
— Staff motivation
— Executive coaching/life coaching

Just to name a few!

When you’re seeking expertise in a particular area, it pays to contract the best you can find. The main benefits of using a top-notch insurance agency consultant include:

1. You don’t know what you don’t know, but consultants do. They offer an objective, insightful view of where you are now, logical next steps, and how to measure improvement.

2. Consultants are specialists in their field, bringing you a depth of knowledge as well as the latest trends and tools your agency can use for specific areas of improvement.

3. They can draw from what’s worked for clients similar to your agency, but they can also draw from clients outside of your industry. 

In short, business consultants make your business better.

Experience with Insurance Consultants
We say this from the vantage point of being part of the insurance industry’s ecosphere. ePayPolicy’s niche is IndieTech. As such, we get to rub elbows with and learn from experts across the spectrum of industry vendors and consultants.

One of our all-time favorite coaches/consultants is Mike Stromsoe at unstoppableprofitproducer.com.  Mike’s goal is to help independent insurance agencies become (wait for it …) “unstoppable.”

Things we love about Mike Stromsoe: 

1. He’s been there/done that when it comes to insurance and is still doing it. Mike joined his father’s agency in 1986 and then started his own agency from scratch. It grew from $0 to $1M in revenue in just nine years. He still runs this agency, along with two other businesses. 

2. Mike is the real deal. He delivers results based on practical, proven methods developed over decades in business. For example, Mike’s most recent book The Unstoppable Profit Producer offers “a proven 3-step blueprint to grow your business and live your life on your terms.”

3. Mike states that “millionaire agents and entrepreneurs think and act differently than others.” Do you think and act like a millionaire entrepreneur yet

4. Mike Stromsoe has graciously offered his services for the 2020 InsurTech Award, presented by ePayPolicy.

That’s right.The 2020 InsurTech Award grand prize winner will get cash, products and services valued at $7,500, including a full year of consulting with Mike Stromsoe. From niche marketing to client nurturing and goal setting, Mike can help you tackle any business challenge you’re facing, or any goal you’re looking to reach.

Want to Score Some Quality Time with Mike Stromsoe?
Start by going to the 2020 InsurTech Award website and applying for free—it only takes 15 minutes! Regardless of your score or if you win the Grand prize, every agency applicant will get a customized Insurance Technology Adoption (ITA) Score, with valuable tips to help you become more competitive. 

Read up on the award’s purpose and judging criteria. When you’re ready, apply here.

P.S You may also want to check out “Money Follows Trust,” a Mike Stromsoe podcast featuring our own Todd Sorrel.

7 Ways to Speed Up Your Agency’s Receivables

We’ve all had them. Chronic late payers. Clients who violate your payment terms can wreak havoc with your agency’s cash flow.  

Add to that the reality of COVID-19. It’s anything but business as usual. This makes it more important than ever to rev up your payment collection and make sure you get paid timely.  

You may know businesses that protect themselves against accounts receivable losses with A/R insurance/trade credit insurance. You may even be one of the specialty brokers that sell it. We hope you will never need such coverage. 

Yet you should not need to shield yourself from late- and non-paying policyholders. The key is to speed up the payment process and minimize the chance of non-payment. We’ve put together 7 tips to help with just that and speed up your agency’s receivables.

#1 Go Digital 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: consumers (including businesses) have long since embraced digital payments. They live in a 24/7 digital world and they expect to pay instantaneously for purchases. The keyword here is “instantaneously.” It’s 2020. It’s time. 

#2 Offer Payment Options 

The trends in payment choice are clear. Debit cards, credit cards, and ACH (direct payment) are on the rise. The move away from checks (and cash) was already accelerating before “touchless” payments became a public safety essential. Choice means clients are not tied to any one payment method. They can earn points on their Visa card this month or use their AmEx or a debit card next month.

#3 Make it Easy to Pay

Don’t stress about having to layer an e-commerce platform onto your website. You don’t need this in order to make online payments a breeze for your policyholders. First, be upfront about it. Don’t make people have to search for your payment page. They’ll get frustrated.  A link from your invoice template and a “pay now” button on your website will do the trick. Check out our PayNow page for an example. Once clients are aware you offer Credit Card/ACH payment, they’ll quickly convert into delighted digital payers.

#4 Deliver Help on Demand 

Sometimes even tech-savvy clients have questions or need help making their payment. They expect instant support (because they’re used to it from the other vendors). Be prepared to answer their questions, whether it is through chat, in an email, or over the phone, and have resources in hand that can help them solve problems on their own.

#5 Enable Automatic Payments

Many policies require multiple payments, either monthly, quarterly, or semiannually. This creates multiple opportunities for clients to put off making payments. And you can never predict which client or which payment will be late! Offering recurring payments is a “set it and forget it” convenience for them. Equally important, it makes your receivables timely and predictable.

#6 Automate the Dunning Process

Imagine freeing your staff from sending out hundreds of invoice reminders and late payment notices each month. It’s a necessary task but consumes a lot of staff time. Switching to automated emails makes sure these notices go out on schedule. At ePayPolicy, our invoice reminders feature makes it even easier by creating automated emails for your team.

#7 Integrate with your AMS

If you’re already using a management system, you know the power of automating business functions across your agency. While there are a number of industry-agnostic payment processors out there (e.g., PayPal, Square, etc.) you’ll be better served with one that is designed specifically for independent insurance agents/brokers and that integrates with your management system. We’re proud to partner with many of today’s most popular providers

The Bottom Line

We know it’s cliche, but time really is money. Your time, and your client’s time, is valuable. When it comes to paying insurance premiums, you both have a “need for speed.” If your goal is to turbocharge your receivables, you need to minimize slow-pay opportunities. The best way to do that is with client-pleasing digital payments.

ePayPolicy is here to help. Feel free to wander around our website. When you’re ready,  get started.

How Generation X Affects Your Insurance Agency

Generation X. You know them, even if you can’t picture them as easy as a ‘Baby Boomer’ or ‘Millennial.’ They are squeezed between those generations at home and in the workforce, and they are a massive market composed of business-owning, tech-using, money-making people with little time and careful trust. 

The bottom line is, Generation X affects your insurance agency as an independent agent’s largest target market. They need to be able to work with you authentically and efficiently in order to earn and keep their business.

What we Know About Generation X

They are sometimes referred to as the ‘Sandwich Generation’ because they’re squeezed between two generations at home. Gen X are the ones making life and healthcare decisions for elderly parents, while also raising their own families. Oh, and likely owning and running a business.

Not to be overshadowed by Baby Boomers and Millennials, they deserve notice in their own right. Marketers of all kinds of products, from financial planning to makeup, see them as a hot market segment. And as business owners, they’re prime candidates for commercial insurance.

How Generation X Could Affect Your Agency

There are plenty of reasons for independent insurance agencies to appeal to Generation X.

Size
There are 82 million of them in the U.S. That’s more than the aging Boomers (76 million).

Longevity
At 40-55 (in 2020), Gen X-ers have plenty of business-owning years ahead of them. They are also seeking long-term solutions and partnerships when it comes to business.

Financial status

— Gen Xers outspend all other generations.
— They earn 31 percent of all US income.
— They’re projected to hold 31 percent of US net wealth by the end of this decade.

Business
These are America’s small business owners and entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for decision-makers in the construction industry, financial services or real estate (among other entrepreneurial niches), you’ll find them in Generation X. 

In short, these previously “invisible” go-getters have buying power and are decision-makers for their businesses. They have insurance needs that you can fill and they want to work with agents who will provide them resources that last years in the future. 

How to Engage with Generation X

If you think these middle-aged business owners are tech-averse, you couldn’t be more wrong. This generation are heavy tech users and early adopters. Remember, they’re the ones who first used personal computers and invented and shaped crucial technologies (e.g., the internet).

At the same time, they grew up in a pre-digital world, and they have not turned away from these roots. You can expect them to move fluidly between traditional media, digital devices, and apps. 

Here are some marketing insights to keep in mind as you plan your Gen X client outreach and retention strategies.

Where to Reach Them?

Online: They live online, on their mobile phones and handheld devices.

Social media: They’re obsessed with it—especially Facebook.

Videos: Not surprisingly, the ‘MTV’ generation watch a lot of videos. Primarily using YouTube and Facebook but increasingly watch TV shows and movies on their mobile devices.

Traditional Media: Members of this generation still consume non-digital media. They read newspapers and magazines, and listen to the radio. 

What’s Important to Them?

Information: They demand it, and do research both offline and online. If your website doesn’t deliver, they’ll click away and never look back.

Values: They’re all about work/life balance and family, family, family.

Authenticity: It’s the number one thing they respond to. They have enough business experience to know when something doesn’t ring true. So keep things real—and personal!

Personal Focus: See Values and Authenticity, above. Also, Gen Xers love stories.  Show them how your service will improve their life and business. Real-world narratives/case studies work well. 

Loyalty: They’ll reward you with it. Unlike their more skeptical and brand-agnostic kids, Generation X does not flit from brand to brand. They do research up front, including review reading and writing. Once you sign them and deliver value, they’re not likely to stray.

Maintaining humanity in a tech-driven world: The word humanity bubbles up in many articles about Generation X. They’re seen as the keepers of what was (and still is) good about connecting non-digitally and keeping tech-driven communication genuine and caring.

The world reminds us that even when tech-enhanced, insurance is by nature a relationship business. Remember that personal touch, and know that success today means meeting your clients where they live (online) and making it easy and convenient for them to do business with you. Generation X expects and deserves no less.

Are You Ready for Their Business?

As you can see, doing business with these busy, big-spenders requires a solid InsurTech foundation. It also requires sensitivity to their reality and their unique values. Gen X-ers are juggling high-pressure work, multi-generational families and financial demands.

Be sure you have a simple tech solution for your Gen X clients to bind their policy and make payments. Our online payment page makes this easy for you and your customers, with the added benefit of integrating with a majority of Agency Management Systems.

Check out your options for collecting digital payments, and give Gen X another reason to love your agency.

Optimizing Your Agency Tech Stack For Your New Remote Workforce

There’s one lesson we’ll all take away from the coronavirus pandemic: remote work is here to stay. It’s a viable and even preferable way of conducting business. Why? Because it expands our productivity outside the physical office. Even with your agents and staff engaging from home during this time, your operations didn’t grind to a halt. 

Going forward, it makes smart business sense to plan for more, not less remote work. With or without social distancing, there are many good reasons to enable remote work. For example, team members inevitably get stuck at home with a sick child or spouse. Rather than lose those work days (or weeks), why not let them access their office files and bind policies using auto-sign? Why shouldn’t agents Zoom into meetings or launch an email campaign from their hotel room or backyard? 

Tools for Remote Success

The key to a successful remote agency is having the right tools that let your team work from anywhere. Note these same tools improve team productivity inside the agency, too.

When we say the “right tools” we mean InsurTech solutions because remote work is by nature technology-driven.You simply can’t support a remote staff with manual procedures or low-tech half measures. In fact, you could end up causing more harm than good. 

Ramping Up to Remote: Where does your agency stand?
We’re here to help you plan your strategy and move into full remote agency mode. Let’s start by looking at what technologies your peers are using now by analyzing data from the InsurTech Award. We’ve extracted some key findings from the application survey related to “remote work readiness.” 

 

Using Technology to Improve Organizational Efficiency

Almost one-quarter of agencies identified team/company organization as the top problem they want to address with technology. Specifically, respondents cited project and task management as the top concern in this area, followed by team communication. 

Task and Project Management
We found mixed adoption rates for keeping track of company tasks and projects. Almost three-quarters of respondents are using calendar tools (Google Calendar, Outlook). Yet only 22% use task management tools like Trello or Asana. Not everyone is good at prioritizing or managing their to-dos, and the potential for missed meetings, deadlines and business increases with remote work. We can tell you from our own experience: project management software makes a huge difference. ePayPolicy was already using Trello when the pandemic hit, and our team members were grateful as they began to work from home.

Instant Messaging
Instant messaging is another “must-have” to keep remote workers connected. Our survey found mixed results in this area. The majority (63%) are using instant messaging. However, 17% said it “doesn’t work” or “it’s not used often.” What’s the point of having a tool that you can’t or don’t use? If you are not already one of the 63%, you owe it to your team (and your business) to migrate to instant messaging. Trust us, it’s faster and more accurate than searching through email threads.

Virtual Meetings
The ability to meet with team members virtually is a pillar of today’s remote agencies. 

And now that we’re all pro “Zoomers,” it’s hard to imagine going back to all in-person meetings or conference calls without video. We found that only 12% of agencies polled are not using virtual meeting tools like GoToMeeting, Zoom or Google Hangouts. Over half said they use virtual meetings often, and 22% said they started using them due to the coronavirus situation. During this time, personal use has skyrocketed, as people seek to connect safely with family and friends. So there should be little to no learning curve for using virtual meetings for agency business. 

Next Steps for Your Independent Agency

We share this information for only one reason: to help you focus, prioritize and equip your team for ongoing remote work—or to take your agency to the next level of virtual teamwork.

Which technologies are you using now, and which areas offer the biggest opportunities for a seamless remote team? Note that 75% of respondents told us they’ve increased their budget for technology solutions since the beginning of 2020. Technology is an investment that helps teams work smarter—wherever they’re working!

The  2020 InsurTech Award is still accepting entries. Check out the judging criteria, submit your application and get a customized report of your agency’s tech adoption progress. You may even win a grand prize worth over $7,500!