Improving the Insurance Producer Experience: A Vital Business Differentiator

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This post is part of a series sponsored by AgentSync.

Do you know if your top producers are happy and fulfilled? These important people help boost sales and are key players for successful carriers. For example, they might upsell an umbrella policy to a client, resulting in more carrier revenue. Or they might do some property risk work in order to save a carrier from unnecessary underwriting peril. So, it’s imperative that you treat your producers well.

However, outdated tech stacks, cumbersome onboarding, and an overall subpar producer experience work against your other efforts to retain talented producers.

We’ll observe a day in the life of a successful producer named Mary, to demonstrate how her experience with a carrier impacts her daily job efficiency and satisfaction. Keeping these producers happy and content is as important as keeping your customers happy.

We’ll also discuss the elephant in the room: an aging insurance industry workforce, and who might replace them. What will make the Amazon One-Click generation want to replace their seasoned insurance predecessors? The on-demand generation requires 21st-century tools of the trade, and the insurance industry will need to provide them to attract the best talent. The insurance business is changing, but it’s not going away – as Dean Winters portrays on round-the-clock Allstate television commercials, “Mayhem” is always just around the corner.

A captive producer vs. an independent producer

Whether you’re a captive producer or an independent producer, you generally have the same goals, but your carrier relationship is very different.

A captive insurance producer works for one insurance carrier, and that’s the only carrier they work for. In some instances, producers receive leads and a salary on top of their commissions. In addition, some receive administrative support, and an office to boot. In exchange for taking on these administrative duties, carriers pay much smaller commissions.

An independent producer is able to offer policies from multiple insurance companies. These professionals have more freedom, but also retain all of the risk involved in running a business. They need to be able to cover overhead, administrative support, and marketing. These professionals are very busy writing up business for multiple carriers.

Independent producers are under significant pressure because they’re running their own show. Being as efficient as possible is important, as getting trapped in the minutiae takes them away from selling and servicing their clients. When a carrier needs 30 days on average to onboard producers, it can be frustrating, as time is money and producers know they need to spend as much time with clients and prospects as possible. AgentSync can speed this process up exponentially with producer onboarding taking as little as a few minutes.

A day in the life of Mary, an independent insurance producer

Mary started as a captive agent in the industry several decades ago before branching out to run her own agency. At various points she’s had a few staff members to help her, but the buck stops with Mary, and she works hard to maintain her reputation and lifestyle. Many of Mary’s clients are now also friends, and, at 58, with her kids grown, she’s got her eye on retirement. Let’s look at what a typical day might look like for her.

Monday:

6 a.m.

Mary ties up her tennis shoes and hits the running path with her beloved bulldog, James (yup, he runs). Health and wellness are a top priority for Mary and it assists her with navigating the busy and sometimes stressful world of an independent producer.

7:30 a.m.

Mary logs onto her laptop and begins to check emails from clients, prospects, and carriers. Mary attempts to adhere to good email hygiene by checking emails only three times a day so she can focus on what pays her bills: serving her existing clients and finding new prospects. In addition to her impeccable time-management skills, she also pays special attention to carriers that invest in technology so her mornings aren’t eaten up by a paperchase.

AgentSync Moment: Automation can help her save an enormous amount of time with less data re-entry and the hassle of going back and forth between licensing administrators.

9 a.m.

The golden hours begin. This is the most crucial block of time, as these are the sales-generating hours. Mary has been a producer for decades and has always set aside this time for revenue generation. She uses these hours to assess any new client needs that may have arisen. She also discusses various policies with customers while providing the absolute best service she can. Video meetings and phone calls consume her during these important hours. If she has particularly successful client services, she can also generate more business from referrals, which keeps her marketing spend low and productivity high. The more time Mary can spend focused on customers in these golden hours, the better her business is.

AgentSync Moment: To help make producers like Mary’s lives easier, AgentSync partnered with Varicent to create a powerful end-to-end producer management solution. Varicent is a leader in Incentive Compensation Management (ICM), and between the two programs, Mary knows her carrier is validating that she’s licensed for every commission it pays her, making payouts faster and lessening the risk that she’ll have money pulled back if she makes a mistake in a client meeting. Commission dollars anyone?

Noon

A quick walk with James and off to a client lunch where she is hoping to sell an umbrella policy to a longtime client and get a nice referral to the clients’ son.

2 p.m.

Mary checks emails and voicemails. Because she’s an independent producer, she also needs to spend considerable time marketing her business. After writing numerous emails, she crafts a quick blog post about life insurance for her website. This is one of the many marketing activities that keep Mary busy beyond insurance sales.

AgentSync Moment: Less time chasing paperwork for manual carrier compliance verification means more time for Mary to spend both in her business and on her business.

3 p.m.

Like many professionals, Mary is also required to complete continuing education (CE) credits to stay current with her insurance licensing requirements. At 3 p.m., she takes a few hours to study insurance ethics.

AgentSync Moment: Mary is also quite enamored with carriers that use AgentSync Manage, which offers a producer portal that allows her to spend less time providing CE compliance information to the state and various carrier partners, and more time on actually studying.

5 p.m.

Mary composes and replies to more emails (her last round!) and invites an old friend to an early dinner. She squeezes in a client call on the way home.

AgentSync Moment: A day in the life of an independent producer, like Mary, is rather hectic and this is exactly why efficiency is absolutely critical.

7 p.m.

Settling down with James in front of the TV before winding down for the day, Mary takes a peek at her own retirement strategy. She’s nearing the end of her career, after all.. She has a lot of industry knowledge and this experience isn’t easily replaceable. What can a carrier do?

The Great Resignation and the insurance industry

“The Great Resignation” or the “Big Quit” are recent buzz phrases in popular culture to describe seismic shifts in the labor market over the past few years. The reasons behind these moves are up for debate, but there has been an inordinate amount of job hopping in addition to workers retiring.

The insurance industry is no different. If we take a closer look, there is a large migration out of the insurance industry and onto the golf course or picnics with the grandkids. According to Richard Lavey, President of Hanover Agency Markets at The Hanover Group, around 400,000 insurance professionals are expected to retire soon. These departures could pose a problem if the industry can’t attract the necessary talent to fill the shoes of these highly experienced insurance professionals.

The insurance business has the reputation of being slow to change. Uncle Jim had a nice career working for a carrier but younger generations are a harder sell. Why is that? Well…. because they’re different. Millennials value different things than baby boomers, who value different things than Gen-Xers, who value different things than Gen-Zers.

Whether it’s the producer or compliance employee experience, the technology you use can be a great recruiting tool (or not). Your tech stack does more than just create efficiencies and higher revenue, it also speaks volumes about you as a carrier.

Carriers that offer Mary and the next generation of producers a wonderful producer experience will thrive as the industry and those working in it continue to evolve. Less hassle creates a better day for the people who write business for you and help you hit your revenue targets.

Customer satisfaction ranks high on the carrier list of importance, but producer satisfaction should always be top-of-mind, as well. Find out more about how AgentSync can help you land the best talent and keep your existing high performers happy by offering a seamless and automated onboarding process and compliance platform.

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