If your software is working for you, why would you change it? (Hint, you shouldn’t). Insurance agents have been using technology to gain a competitive advantage since the 1980s. The general agency I started my career at, Multiple Services Inc., used a Radio Shack TRS 80. Yes, the one with eight inch floppy disks. And 64k of memomory. If you’re ever in Boston, check out Science Museum’s computer exhibit. You’ll see one there.
Looking for an Edge
Insurance sales is a competitive business and any edge is a welcome one. Back in the 1990s agents realized that customer relationship management (CRM) software and agency management systems could provide that edge. A lot of those who focused on health insurance gravitated toward Goldmine or ACT. These were all-purpose platforms, but with some customization they worked well for agencies. Over the years insurance specific competitors joined the fray like GBS and Gen4. They all had something to offer and all delivered on their promise: to help brokers organize their business so they could sell and service more effectively and efficiently.
And these were just the more popular ones. There were others. Lots of others. Many failed to gain much of a following, but those who used them were passionate. Some gained prominence only to quickly fade. Many are still around.
If you’re using one of these systems and they’re working for you, there’s little motivation to change. The question is whether software that did the job in 1990 or 2000 is up to the task in 2020 and beyond. If they’ve adapted to changing times that’s great. But ask yourself, is the software accessible from wherever you are? Have they made themselves easier to use? Do they protect your and your clients’ data? Do they integrate with your email system? Do they help you keep your commitments? If not — or if you’re unsure — that should be of concern.
The Times They are a’Changing
Your prospects and clients are more demanding. They expect you to have immediate access to information and forms. You and your colleagues need to collaborate like never before. Your software has to do more and run faster. And it has to be designed well so it can work on your computer, be it Windows or Mac
If you’re using CRM or agency management software, you’re already ahead of the game. If you’re platform of choice looks, acts and behaves like it did five, ten or fifteen years ago, however, maybe it’s time to see what’s new. As you’re reading this post on the NextAgency blog you’re no doubt aware that we’re relatively new. NextAgency is an intuitive, modern agency management system with CRM and commission management tools that saves life and health agencies time, money and clients. It’s just another way we help you add value to the products you sell.
If you’re using an older system there may be no way to know what you’re missing. It’s not like your current vendor will tell you they’ve fallen behind the competition. So see for yourself. NextAgency offers regular demonstrations where you can see what’s new. To register for one, just visit our website at www.NextAgency.com. Then click on the Get Demo button at the top right hand corner of the page. Choose your date for a webinar. You may find your current system has fallen behind the times. Maybe it’s time to catch-up with a modern agency management. You know. Like NextAgency.
You’ve got a lot on your plate: prospecting; service issues; renewals; running your agency; keeping up with the latest legislative and market news; and the list goes on. Then there’s the rest of your life and that needs attention, too. There are only 8,760 hours in a year. Each one is valuable and, once spent, is non-refundable.
Adopting insurance agency software just because it’s there is probably not adequate justification. If that insurance agency technology can save you time, however, well that’s different.
How Much is Your Time Worth?
So just how valuable is each hour? Invaluable and precious beyond measure. However, for the purposes of this post, let’s have some fun with math and put a dollar figure on the value of your work hours.
First, estimate how many hours you work at your insurance agency in a year. Spend 40 hours a week on the job for 50 weeks and your investing 2,000 hours. Adjust this number to reflect your reality — including all that overtime on weekends, evenings and holidays.
Now, calculate how much you earn from all that work. To simplify the math, we’ll assume $100,000 for this example, but check your last pay stub or tax return to get something more accurate. Divide your earnings by the number of hours worked and there’s the value of your work hour. In this case, $50 per hour ($100,000 divided by 2,000 hours). What’s your figure? Take a few minutes and get something close to reality
For purposes of this post, however, we’re going to assume you’re looking at an agency management system. First, because these platforms can save you and your team lots of time. Second, because NextBroker, our agency management software, is at the core of NextAgency. So yes, I’m being self-serving here, but the calculations that follow apply to most any technology you’re considering for your agency.
A Time Journal
Let’s do another exercise. Fair warning, this one is a bit more annoying. For one week, keep a diary of inefficient busy work you do. Don’t count time spent selling or servicing clients. That’s your job. We’re talking wasted time. Spend five minutes chasing down a client file? Write that down. Spend three minutes looking up the phone number of a prospect? Ten minutes tracking down the Post-it with that critical information you need? Write those down.
Work from home only to discover a critical file you need is back at the office? Write down the drive there and back again. Spend hours going back and forth with a prospect to track down the age of the third child of the eighth employee in a thirty-person group you need to wrap up a proposal? Make a note. Spend five minutes trying to recall which client had a billing problem and which had claims issues? Write that down, too.
You get the idea. Any time you’re spending that isn’t directly related to selling or servicing clients is probably wasteful busy-work. Ask your staff to do keep this time journal, too. (Choose a week in which your staff is processing commissions to sub-agents because a) that’s painful; and b) NextBroker greatly simplifies that task so we’re going to look really good in a few paragraphs
Add it Up
Now let’s do the math. Add up all this unproductive minutes you spent in a week and divide by 60. That’s the hours you wasted. Or, put another way, that’s the number of hours you’re investing in being less than efficient.
Multiply this total by your hourly rate and you now have a sense of how much money you’re investing in inefficiency. Spend just an hour a day on this busy work and at our hypothetical rate of $50 per hours and your busy-work is costing you $250 each week. That’s $12,500 per year — if you take two weeks off.
And that’s just what you’re investing. Your staff pays a price for inefficiency, too. Do these calculations for your team and add the result to yours. The time and money adds up fast. Some agencies are wasting tens of thousands of dollars per year.
Is the Investment Worthwhile?
Helping you and your team be more effective and efficient is what agency management systems like NextBroker do. We place client, carrier and agency files are at your fingertips, 24 hours a day wherever you are. The same with contact lists for clients, partners like general agencies and others. Time spent tracking it down, let’s see, carry the zero. Yeah, that’s no time wasted.
What unproductive busy-work NextBroker can’t eliminate gets done quicker. Until carriers and your clients all join the 21st century, some paperwork is inevitable. We help you track that paperwork, which saves even more time.
Let’s say NextBroker reduces your wasted hours by half (we think you’ll save more time, but 50% is an easy number to work with). Applying that savings to your previous assumptions, that’s a savings of $6,250 annually; just for you. Add in the savings your team will experience and the savings rapidly multiply.
On the other hand, your investment in NextAgency is surprisingly affordable. To calculate your agency’s licensing fees just go to www.NextAgency.com/pricing. And when you’re calculating your agency’s cost, remember, support staff use NextBroker for free. And NAHU members save 11 percent.
Do the math. Compare the cost of what you’re spending now on inefficiency and compare it to investing in the efficiency NextBroker’s agency management system delivers. And this only takes into account the value of NextBroker. NextAgency does a lot more, as you’ll see by going to NextAgency.com . While you’re there, please sign up for a webinar to see NextAgency in action. We’re confident that’ll be time well spent.