| ||Fast Focus|
It’s a widely held notion that technology in the
insurance brokerage industry is behind the times.
Our industry has surprisingly few options for automating our
When you focus your technology on your customers, you can
change entire models of doing business.
Pointing in the Wrong Direction
Here’s what’s wrong with
today’s agency technology. Banking changed while we were
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How does this relate to our industry? Choice doesn’t
mean more vendors but, rather, a choice in innovation. Apple
didn’t just provide a Windows alternative; it provided an
entirely new way to connect. We need more vision, a more
thorough understanding of our needs and a better way to address
them in our industry.
Can our existing vendors address our need to innovate? We
know they can execute on development. The real test is
adjusting the vision. Even the boutique firms tend to follow
the automation course we’ve been riding for decades.
Innovation is a tricky proposition. Agency system vendors
clearly have a grasp on our business needs, but they must
follow the industry’s lead. Are they responsible for
creating new ways for brokers to serve customers? Are they even
What’s the role of the agency principal? In many
agencies, automation is defined by and delegated to the
servicing teams. This is shown true at any user group event.
Yes, agency principals are in attendance, but the bulk of these
events are focused on servicing tasks, workflows and interface.
While this level of detail should be maintained, this
narrow-band focus is the greatest impediment to innovation.
From production to product lines, agency principals provide
a wide-band strategic focus to their organization. This same
focus is required when thinking about automation. At the end of
the day, automation is customer
The idea that a single software vendor can provide a
complete set of tools to cover all needs of all agencies is
unrealistic. In addition to agency management systems, most
brokers have deployed department-specific software and highly
specialized systems covering everything from captive management
to predictive modeling. Simply put, we require multiple
solutions built by multiple firms with deep expertise in many
Integration is complicated. In some cases, lack of
integration is a conscious choice of system vendors. But,
often, challenges are defined by individual engineering
choices. These systems are not intentionally engineered to be
compatible and thus are not. Integration requires joint
development between vendors of both systems. But integration is
expensive, and the cost does not directly translate into
Mind the Gap
Software development standards exist that ease the ability
to integrate unrelated systems. Unfortunately, most software
providers in our industry do not fully embrace them. For system
vendors, the good of the industry is not the primary motivating
factor. While agencies have expressed their displeasure, we
usually acquiesce and accept the burden.
This has to change.
Our industry must pool the combined experiences of our
leaders, define a business model that better serves clients,
and demand systems that provide unified, collaborative
placement ability with customer-focused functionality at the
core of the model.