AgencyPort leads the way with effective transaction portals for property & casualty insurance.
We start with product definitions and layer in business rules and portal behaviors that are tied to the product definition, all of which is easy to build and maintain. The ToolKit enables quick add / edit / remove of portal pages and every element therein. Every transaction can be integrated with back-office systems such as security, rating or policy administration, content management, e-mail, CRM, etc.
The next solution we are building leverages this mature architecture to deliver portals for carriers to interface with consumers. Today’s consumer grew up in the digital age – are you ready to serve them online 24×7?
With direct writers eating away at market share (see slide below), with the insurance buyer being more and more tech-savvy and used to working online and through their iPhones without human intermediaries, carriers have to invest in consumer portals to keep marketshare.
Attendees at this session at AgencyPort User Conference 2009 all related that it’s not a matter of “if”, but “when” they had to offer consumer quoting and self-service.
Some carriers like Liberty Mutual want to close the consumer lead through their in-house sales force and then hand off the client to a local agent for servicing.
Another facet of AgencyPort’s strategy is to enable carrier interaction with consumers not just on the web but through mobile phones such as the First Notice of Loss application on iPhones:
From customer research this summer we identified a set of features desired by most carriers. See the table below for a list and while you consider your needs (have we missed any? Let us know), keep in mind that you need to have the consumer self-register on your site. The question is when? If they are going to check billing or submit a claim, you need to know who they are. If they are going to get a Quick Quote, you don’t.
During the User Conference session there were concerns about offering Quick Quotes to all visitors. Some attendees worried about competitors checking your rates; others worried about the cost of pre-filling data when that data comes from ChoicePoint who charges for every data call.
Attendees at this session also spoke about the chance to use consumer portals to support proactive customer service. If you know who’s late on their bills and you send them e-mail reminders do you have a URL or just phone support? Consumer portals can be used for secure and configurable landing pages for support or for marketing (e.g. up-selling auto policyholders into homeowners).
We can launch quote screens right from your home page (imagine your logo instead of the fictional Best Choice carrier logo):
Or if you have an agency that is looking for quoting capabilities but doesn’t have the resources to provide it:
Use AgencyPort to configure your portal to adapt to the look and feel of your agencies’ sites and launch your quote engine from there. It can be attributed to you or not, that’s a business call to make.
Either way, the workflow your agents are used to doesn’t have to change. You can integrate leads generated or sales closed on your site to their CRMs, agency management or lead management systems, and into your agent portal Work in Progress such as the example below:
The important element is the bridging of the lead to the agent. For auto insurance the carrier may be best off closing the sale themselves but for other products with more complex questions and rating scenarios, carriers are best-served when they quote the consumer and then hand it off to an agent to close it.
Several attendees expressed concern about the accuracy of carrier-generated quotes when not enough questions had been asked. If a consumer lead is handled by an agent and the consumer then discloses a history of losses or other exposure data, the agent would have to tell the consumer that they are going to get a higher premium quote. Agents have told carriers they don’t want to be the bearer of bad news.
Clearly the balance of getting the quote quickly and making it accurate will play out differently by product and by carrier, or perhaps even within one product / one carrier, it will be different by agent. AgencyPort can handle this wide variety of requirements – we’ve done it in AgencyPortal implementations for 7 years.
Many carriers have already put in agreements with agencies to handle consumer quoting and self-service on carrier sites. In play are the service level agreements (e.g. will agents respond promptly) and commission (e.g. if the carrier sources and closes the sale it will hand the policy holder to an agent for servicing but at a reduced commission).
A hurdle identified by a customer in the audience:
One attendee said that he felt web traffic wasn’t high enough to generate a return on the investment. Others felt the business case is based more on “survival” than on revenue growth. We talked a lot during the session about search engine optimization as web traffic comes mostly from Google, etc. and how the “search engine ninjas” were the lead generators or aggregators like InsureMe and NetQuote, who invest massively in being atop the native and paid results in Google and claim in excess of 80% market share between them.
Lead generators sell each lead up to 8 times over and mostly to agencies. Carriers who have dabbled in buying leads have found mixed results at best. Our research and analysis says that technology has not been there to support this and at AgencyPort we will offer solutions that integrate leads through carrier workflow to get a quote and bridge it over to the agent as before.
Wrapping up a lengthy post is the “aha moment” most often experienced by attendees at our User Conference including at this session on AgencyPort’s Consumer Portal: that your existing investment in defining products, transactions, rules, behaviors, data choices, data validation rules, etc. with AgencyPort is all reusable in consumer interaction. As one carrier in the audience said “the product’s the same, it’s just a slightly different user experience that needs to be defined.” Once defined in any AgencyPort solution, your definitions are usable in all AgencyPort solutions.