2011 Technology Selling Guide: Optimizing for Success

A variety of vendors have created applications and aids to specifically address the agent’s world. Here’s an overview of some of the best.

Optimizing life and insurance agents’ daily business lives is a goal of all insurance agencies. Just like in any business, today’s modern enterprise seeks tools for both efficiency and productivity and is constantly looking for new and effective ways to boost employee workflow.

The advent of web- and smartphone-related tools has made life much easier for advisors and agents, as a slue of new software and applications are hitting the market every day and creating time- and money saving solutions.

Data retrieving

One of the more frustrating aspect of an agent’s day is having to fill out the same form multiple times because of kicked-back information, typos, missing fields or working on outdated forms that have been updated by carriers. This frustration wastes company time and has significant financial costs associated with it.

A helpful solution is Laser App Software, a technology package that enables advisors to integrate a straight-through processing of forms, leading to better data aggregation, improved processing time and more efficient account on-boarding.

“One of the things most insurance companies in general miss the boat on is the leveraging of existing data. Most solutions out there aren’t built to make the agent’s life easier, but to make the carrier’s life easier,” said Robert Powell, vice president

of sales and marketing at Laser App Software. “From an agent’s perspective, they already have 60-70 percent or more of the data available in their database, but if they want to set up a policy, they need to re-key all that information in to print it on a carrier’s system. That’s where this solution comes in.”

The program pre-fills the forms with the information already available, accounting for a decrease in mistakes and pointing out any glaring missing data.

Remote access

TeamViewer is an all-in-one solution for remote access and online meetings. Insurance agents are on the road very often, and with the TeamViewer app on the notebook, iPhone or Android mobile, they can connect to their desktop machine quickly and easily, whenever, wherever, and easily transfer files to and from the mobile device.

“TeamViewer allows companies to streamline processes and react quickly in the face of any situation, providing access to files and applications,” said Magdalena Brzakala, a representative of TeamViewer. “By hosting online meetings and product demos with TeamViewer, insurance advisors can save travel costs and improve the customer service. On the other side, online meetings are much more effective compared to telephone calls and can be scheduled more flexible than personal meetings.”

Usually when insurance advisors want to explain a product to a customer, they have the choice between calling the customer and explaining the details on the telephone, or setting up a personal appointment. In today’s fast-paced world, finding time is a major hurdle.

“With TeamViewer, the advisor is able to set up an online meeting with a customer very quickly,” Brzakala said. “So he can combine the telephone call with an online presentation over the Internet, which is much more effective.”

The advisor can set up the remote connection, so that the customer can see his or her screen. If he then wants to explain a calculation he can do this easily by sharing his desktop in a live Internet session.

TeamViewer is cross-platform compatible and supports Windows, Linux and Mac from a Windows, Linux or Mac machine or a iOS or Android device. Its pricing is all-inclusive, and there are no add-on components that require licensing.

Backing up

With so many agencies relying on Excel Spreadsheets or generic systems such as ACT, AgencyBloc, Inc., created a solution that could address the specific needs of insurance agents. Its Agency Bloc web-based platform means every policy, document, interaction, etc. is available in the cloud and backed-up to a secure location.

“Our software allows agencies and agents to be more organized with their data and more efficient with their day-to-day operations,” said Adam Lewis, the company’s director of business development. “Our service organizes their book-of-business in a way that is more meaningful — they can easily keep a pulse on customer and prospect interactions in addition to managing policies, managing renewals, discovering cross-sell opportunities, calculating commissions and so on.”

Staying informed

ProspX, Inc. has developed an on-demand search and sales collaboration platform that improves productivity and streamlines communications between agencies, brokers and carriers.

“I really saw a big missing piece between an agency management system and the CRM technology,” said Todd Young, president and CEO of ProspX, and a 12-year vet of the insurance industry. “This allows an opportunity for an agent to connect with experts across a network, whether it be locally, regionally, nationally or globally.”

Its Salesforce product delivers a custom e-newsletter in the Salesforce Cloud, allowing for the information to be easily shared with prospects and clients.

InsiderConnect is the latest product feature of the company’s platform and that offers an electronic marketing solution delivering targeted insurance industry, line-of-business and carrier-specific news and updates to all insurance professionals.

“It helps them do what they are paid to do,” Young said. “An agent needs to stay on top of the industry news, stay on top of carrier options and an agency needs to do what you promise your customer—to collaborate across your team.”

The system is available for all iPad and Android systems and is a per user/per month cost.

With technology changing at lightning-fast speeds, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest web- and smartphone-related tools available to remain ahead of the competition, improve client relations and generally make life easier for all parties involved.

The Best of the Rest

// ClaimAble is Web-based claims management software that lets you keep your claims data organized, stores documents and creates reports to share with your clients.

Athena Life Insurance Broking Solution is a comprehensive solution designed for insurance distributors, agencies, brokers and resellers that act as a CRM, maintain policy lifecycle , calculate and display commission and pay out, calculate and display Incentives for employees/agents or franchisees, reconcile against the calculated commissions and actual commission received and provide a detailed analytics.

There are a number of low-prices apps available for mobile devices that are being used by many in the field.

Bump Technologies Inc., provides “Bump,” a virtual business card that allows insurance agents and advisors to swap contact information, calendars, pictures and social media profiles with others, simply by bumping your phone into theirs. The info is transferred wirelessly and automatically added to your contact list.

Keynote Remote is an Apple-based product that lets one connect to their Mac to give presentations with onscreen cues and gestures. This allows someone to show plans across the room by wirelessly controlling presentations. It’s available for jusy $0.99 for the iPhone and iPad.

Burrotech, LTD has released Scan2PDFMobile, which lets you scan anything to a PDF in a hurry from your phone, save, and even email directly from your mobile device.

Dragon Dictation is a free app that allows you to easily speak and instantly see their text or email messages, up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard.

By Keith Loria

From the December 2011 issue of Agent’s Sales Journal

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