Comparative raters have been in the industry for more than 30 years. They are well known for finding your client the right coverage for the right price.
But, there is more to this crucial piece of insurance agency software.
Like how the standardized workflows in a comparative rater reduce costs and training. And, how they also help to lessen an agency’s exposure to E&O liability claims.
In the years since the creation of comparative raters, these benefits are still true. But, while much has stayed the same, things have also changed.
The importance of comparative rating systems has increased. This technology has always played an important role in any growing insurance agency. With changes in the industry and consumers, the comparative rater role is different from what it used to be.
It’s no longer “just a rater.” Comparative raters have transformed into complete sales systems.
Yes, they still help you identify the best markets for your clients. But, they can do so much more. Like help you close prospects and manage your agency’s sales process.
Typically, agencies use their agency management system to manage client and policy information. Rarely do agencies use it to manage prospects.
Consider this. If you don’t have the data in your management system, you can’t run reports on it. This is where your comparative rating system comes in.
When you use the same workflow for every quote, you can get more than close ratio reports. A comparative rater can provide you reports on producer, carrier and overall agency sales performance.
In addition to close ratios by producer, you can look at data quality reports by producer. With this report you can identify whether each producer is collecting the data points you want. Data like lead source, contact method, bound/not bound reasons and email addresses.
Carrier reports, like quoted versus bound reporting, can show you how well your carriers are performing for you.
Overall agency reports can include a look at producers, carriers and sales factors.
Reporting from your comparative rater can have an impact on your agency. They can help you find a direction and focus for your sales and marketing.
A comparative rating system is the main place where you rate and quote policies. So, it is critical your rater can also do marketing.
After completing a quote, if the prospect didn’t immediately buy the policy, there’s more work to do. And, your rater should do it.
A rater needs to provide your prospect with the information necessary to make a buying decision. That can include quote information, your value proposition, and follow up requests. The good news is you can automate all of this.
But, just because you closed the sale doesn’t mean marketing isn’t finished. Your new client should automatically get their policy information. You can also send agency news, renewal notifications, and offers for policy review when appropriate.
You can automate this marketing and use different channels. Like email, text, direct mail and phone. All these marketing and channel options can be available to you just by entering a quote one time, in one place.
Anywhere and Anytime
Of course a lot has changed in the last 30 years. Even in the last 10 years, we’ve seen so much transformation. Ten years ago, the iPhone just came out. Getting insurance on the internet was still pretty new.
Since 2007 consumer expectations have exploded. They expect and want an agency that can quote, sell and service policies anywhere and anytime.
Office hours aren’t as important as they used to be. Consumers are researching their insurance day or night via the method that is most convenient to them. For a lot of consumers, that is online.
Your comparative rater needs to let consumers get a quote and bind a policy from your website.
If you aren’t providing quotes on your website, you’re definitely missing an opportunity.
The Next 10 Years
Over the next 10 years, the changes will continue, and customer expectations will continue to expand. Your expectations of rating systems should as well.
Your rater should provide access to carriers and customer data on the technology platforms of your choice. If it doesn’t, it’s time to start asking questions.
Whatever technology you use, data is essential to your agency. Your technology needs to share your data so you can maximize your agency’s performance.
In the coming years, data will become an even larger part of the insurance process. Data like court records, vehicle and driver monitoring, and pre-fill data services. It will improve quote quality and entry.
Remember, how consumers contact agents has changed. Referral and walk-in traffic is still important to many agencies. But, there are consumers who would prefer text or email instead of over the phone or in person. Technology has changed how agencies sell insurance.
Leads used to come from good locations and store fronts and ads in yellow pages. Now, you can use the web and social media to generate state and nationwide leads.
Due to this reach, you need a variety of carrier options, including preferred, standard and non-standard. Your comparative rater should provide access to all these markets in one place. If it doesn’t, are you using the right technology?
It is an exciting time to be in the insurance industry. There is opportunity for those who choose to embrace it.
Technology and the consumers who use it is helping drive this opportunity. It is only fitting that technology is how you reach those consumers and provide them what they’re looking for. Is your comparative rating system ready?
About the Author:
Becky Schroeder joined Insurance Technologies Corporation, a company that provides software solutions to independent insurance agencies, as marketing director in 2011. In that capacity’s she’s responsible for driving the overall marketing direction of the company. In 2015, Schroeder was promoted to Vice President for Marketing. Though she did not plan on working in the insurance industry, Schroeder believes she was always meant for a career in the field. At ITC, she has been central to internal projects geared toward improving and advancing the company.