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.

Going Remote? Actions For Your Insurance Agency to Take Right Now!

The foreseeable future includes social distancing, remote workforces, and grocery stores that feel apocalyptic. But it also provides the chance to build a stable business structure where your team feels prepared for productivity from anywhere.  As an organization who made the “work from home” transition seamless for our entire team, we wanted to reveal the tips and tricks that allowed our company to feel good about remote work. We narrowed down five key activities an agency should implement to be successful during a pandemic. *Note, these tips work anytime and help your business perform better in general! It is just especially important to apply these activities now.

Make sure your internal team can communicate

It’s about efficiency AND effectiveness here. Relying only on email – or worse, thinking text/calls will suffice – isn’t going to cut it. We recommend using a free platform like Slack to communicate across the agency. 

Provide clear project management outlines

Working together while you are miles apart isn’t impossible, it just requires a little more outlining. Using Trello, Asana, or another project management platform makes goals, steps, and accomplishments clear for the entire agency. 

Set up a video conferencing system!

This one stands VITAL because it’s as close as you’re going to get to your coworkers while working remote. Typical, in-person meetings reveal short attention spans, which are worse across a computer screen. Everyone in the agency assembles as present as possible for virtual meetings, and that means turning on your webcams and showing face. Lots of good and affordable options out there!

Provide digital payment options for your clients

Your insureds still need to make payments, and coming into an office of people appears the current worst option. Allowing your clients to make digital payments is as vital as communicating with them online. 

Communicate with your clients online

Speaking of communicating with your clients online, social media recently developed into our primary form of socializing. You MUST use this opportunity to connect, and trust us, it’s easier to expand updates on social platforms than to set up email marketing. These activities demonstrate quick fixes with lasting results, and some exist as free solutions! Don’t settle on just surviving when you could be thriving. Use this time to invest in your organization and build a sustainable business, no matter what comes your way.