Everything changes: that's one of the reasons we have insurance in the first place. In your insurance agent career, you'll see many changes in the industry. Whether you're working to make your agency better or you're moving into a new area of expertise, you need to know about the best practices in your field.
What Are Best Practices?
What if you could find a tried-and-true process that would make your work as an insurance agent simpler, more effective, and better for your clients? Best practices are methods and processes of insurance practice that make your standards, procedures, and workflow more efficient and effective. They are practices that work well at other agencies and are defined by the insurance market at large. They could be standards that your insurance carrier recommends, such as standards for data security.
Best Practices in the Insurance Industry
Like any workplace, the insurance agency is a combination of field-specific practices and practices that are simply the best way to run an office. For example, according to the Insurance Journal, quality management reports can help you run your agency more efficiently:
"Without proper quality management reports that are run on a regularly scheduled basis and reviewed properly, you have no real idea what is going on in your agency."
A quality management transactional audit examines who is doing what in your agency. That way, you can understand which employees are producing at a high level, who's sending information to clients in a timely manner, and who's struggling to keep up with the workload. This kind of best practice helps you adjust your insurance agency's processes and speak with and train individual employees who may be struggling.
A best practice that's focused on workflow should lead to changes in the way you process your business and can lead to efficiencies that make your agency more profitable by helping your agents process and analyze data more thoroughly. For example, tracking records in a document management system so that the data is available for analysis can integrate your agency data to help you understand everything from your agency's costs to the types of insurance claims that are coming through your agency. This type of best practice helps you understand the products and processes you need to manage your data more effectively.
Best Practices Change
Defining best practices can be a moving target because, as technology changes, best practices change. What used to be acceptable isn't acceptable any more. You used to keep sensitive information locked in a filing cabinet. Today you may be dealing with the logistics of keeping sensitive data in a cloud-based computer system. It's important to keep up with the research and innovations in your field. You'll not only ensure that you're operating within prescribed standards in your field, you'll also learn practices that can make your agency function better.
Learning More About Best Practices
When you're considering best practices in the insurance industry, sometimes your insurance carrier or others you work with will prescribe those practices for you. At other times, the best practices in the field are emergent and changing. For example, how can you best work with customers who'd like to conduct all aspects of their business online? When you're looking at ways to be more efficient and effective in your business practices, share with others. Read articles and blogs, and attend insurance agent networking events and conferences to learn about the products and practices that are transforming your field.
As your agency grows and changes, look to American Agents Alliance. We're a group of independent insurance agents that is committed to helping all insurance agents prosper within the insurance field. As a member of American Agents Alliance, you'll stay up to date on the emerging issues and practices in the insurance industry.
This September, our keynote speaker at the American Agents Alliance conference is Eric Hallinan, Vice President of Marshberry. He'll guide attendees in an examination of what the "best of the best" insurance agencies are doing, focusing on strategies that increase value, profitability, and organic growth. Contact us now to register for our Alliance Convention.