2020 InsurTech Award Winners

We’re excited to share the results of the 2020 InsurTech Award presented by ePayPolicy. A record-shattering 165 agencies entered, representing a diversity of agency sizes and locations.

Each entrant received an ITA (InsurTech Adoption) score report. ITA scores assess the use of technology in six specific areas: sales, marketing, team collaboration, client experience, customer support, and agency management.

Congratulations to our 2020 top scorers. These agencies truly exemplify the spirit of the award through innovative use of technology across agency functions. 

Meet Our 2020 Runner Ups

Insurance Brokers of Arizona, Gilbert, AZ

Insurance Brokers of Arizona was founded in 2005 by Cameron Brown. After 12 years of operating the agency “traditionally,” Cameron recognized multiple opportunities to modernize. Technology solutions help his team and his clients, making for a better experience for everyone. Cameron’s advice on technology adoption: “Start with your biggest pain point, find a solution that works for you, and implement it. Then move to the next pain point and keep going.”

ElmSure Insurance, New York, NY

ElmSure specializes in serving real estate investors, offering tailored risk mitigation solutions for properties at all stages of construction and occupancy. Spokesperson Lipi Raghunathan commented, “Building technology and processes take time, but as long as the organizational foundation is sound, it’s worth it to create these automated systems.” ElmSure views technology as increasingly essential as agents, staff, and clients balance working remotely and in person.

Portal Insurance, Mobile, AL

Bradley Flowers founded Portal Insurance in 2019 with a mission to make insurance more customer-centric. He suggests there are a lot of ‘shiny objects’ out there, and it’s easy to get distracted. Bradley’s threefold test for new technology:

  1. Does it integrate well with our other tech? Don’t buy systems that add work to your tech stack. 
  2. Who owns this technology? He prefers someone who is “indie all the way.” 
  3. Does this tech make it easier for my end consumer to do business with me? If the answer is not a resounding “yes,” don’t buy it. 

… and Our 2020 Grand Prize Winner:

CalNonprofits Insurance Services, Capitola, CA

This women-led, nonprofit brokerage helps nonprofits throughout California navigate the insurance market. When they hired Colleen Lazanich as CEO four years ago, little did they know they were getting a self-described insurance geek, techie, data lover, and avid benchmarker. In four short years, Colleen has replaced every piece of hardware and software used by her team.

Calnonprofits had been operating like so many nonprofit organizations: way behind the technology curve. They purchased their computers at a recycling center. Virtually everything was done manually. 

Colleen views integration with the AMS as the only way to have “one true source of data, one source of truth.” Replacing their management system was one of her first priorities. Many integrations and automation followed.

  1. As it happens, the new management system provider had just released a sales management application, which has been a boon to CalNonprofits’ agents. 
  2. CalNonprofits was using a tool that digitizes the insurance application and renewal process. Soon, that application provider was bought by the new AMS provider.
  3. Other key technology upgrades include:
    • A new enrollment platform
    • An automated ticketing process (not currently integrated with the AMS)
    • Replacing a well-known email marketing vendor. CalNonprofits recently purchased a new marketing automation system offered by … their AMS provider.
    • Digital payment processing. CalNonprofits was in a beta test through one of their technology vendors. That product never made it to production but led Colleen and her team to ePayPolicy.

Says Colleen, “Being paperless has greatly improved us.” She is proud that her team has embraced so much automation in such a short time. One such change is a team collaboration/project management solution replacement in 2018. The new system is “intuitively organized and really ramped up productivity.” Because of that—and the other internal and client-facing automation—CalNonprofits was able to pivot to remote work in a single day when the COVID pandemic hit.

Colleen Lazanich says she entered the InsurTech Award competition specifically to get the ITA score report. Her team is thrilled to be recognized. But as long as there are new areas to automate, new technology solutions to integrate, CalNonprofits will continue to pursue them—and seek to better their 2020 ITA score in future years.

Once again, thank you to our 165 entrants. Congratulations to CalNonprofits, and to runners-up Portal Insurance, Insurance Brokers of Arizona, and ElmSure.

If you’d like to be notified of our 2021 call for entries, follow us on Facebook and stay up to date on all things InsurTech.

The 2020 InsurTech Award Has Concluded

… And the results are in! The 2020 InsurTech Award, presented by ePayPolicy, closed applications at the end of September. Since the award launched in May of this year, we have been receiving applications from agencies all over the country, reviewing answers and analyzing results. This year’s competition set a new record with 165 applications!

The InsurTech Award’s annual competition advocates for technology adoption in the insurance industry. It recognizes independent agencies that employ InsurTech solutions to advance their business.

We are excited by the 2020 results! Here are some topline statistics and observations from this year’s InsurTech Award.

Who Applied
The majority of agencies who applied are small businesses, employing 10 people or fewer, and writing less than $5M in premiums per year. Most applicants write a mix of business, with a small minority writing commercial policies only.

2020 InsurTech Award Who Applied 

Their Technology Standing
We scored each applicant on specific technologies in use at their agency. Agencies received individual scores for six business categories: sales, marketing, client experience, customer support, team collaboration and agency management, as well as one overall score.

The average of all entrants’ ITA scores was 7.2. Given the predominance of “small” agencies entering this year, this level of technology adoption is inspiring. 

2020 Insutech Award Scores

Some findings of note
Agencies cited marketing automation as the biggest problem they want to address with technology. This makes sense, given the diversity of opportunities (and competitive necessities) in this area. 

Organic social media, meaning free content posted on social platforms, is by far the top marketing method used. Almost universally, respondents create content and interact with prospects and clients on Facebook and LinkedIn. More than half also use Instagram and Twitter, with a sizable number employing YouTube.

2020 InsurTech Award Digital Marketing

Despite these numbers, 40% are not yet using a social planning platform to organize and schedule their posts. Automating this function frees up staff time while ensuring a consistent presence that increases audience engagement.

Team organization stands out as another high area of concern. Whether team members are collaborating within the same office or working remotely, automation tools can greatly enhance agency productivity. Respondents are most interested in ways to improve project management and tracking. As agencies start to grow from 5 employees to 10 or 20, tracking projects in notebooks becomes ineffective. To many applicants, we encouraged implementing task management tools like Trello and Asana to improve in this area.

The applications show an effort by agencies to make the online client experience as seamless as possible. Currently, 90% offer an eSignature solution and an outstanding 95% offer clients the ability to make digital payments. Though most agencies report high use of digital payments, one third say that less than half of their clients are using this capability. This emphasizes the importance of not only having a certain tool or solution in place, but also letting your team and clients know how it works!

Why Technology is Essential for Your Agency
Our industry is modernizing to work smarter, not harder. As these results demonstrate, InsurTech solutions are being embraced by agencies just like yours. Perhaps you identified with some of the applicants in terms of which solutions you’ve implemented and which automations are on your list. 

As you plan your budget for 2021 and beyond, make technology solutions a priority line item. Improvements in one or more areas can yield benefits right now and position you better for the future. Investment in InsurTech makes you more:

  • Competitive—the right tools will help you source, close and nurture more business
  • Attractive—be ready for the next wave of talent and clients, who are digital natives
  • Productive—equip your team to collaborate and track work from anywhere 

But the investment is just the first step. You don’t have to be an IT whiz to take advantage of advanced features and integrations. They are well worth exploring! And finally, encourage widespread adoption by your team and your clients. InsurTech exists to make their lives easier and their interactions with you smoother.

ePayPolicy congratulates all 165 applicants and we look forward to seeing momentum in next year’s scores. 

Want more data? Check out our latest post and download The 2020 Insurtech Award InfoGraphic!