In the dynamic insurance landscape, top-performing agents are the key to success. And nurturing those vital relationships demands a strategic touch. The key? Simplifying every interaction.

As an insurance carrier who distributes coverage through the independent agent channel, you know that attracting, motivating, and retaining agents is vital to achieving your business objectives. The easier you are to do business with, and the more positive the agent’s experience is, the more they will want to do business with you. The best way to maintain a positive agent experience is by simplifying the process of onboarding, licensing, and compliance.

Independent agents work with clients to find the best solutions for their coverage needs, but they are often frustrated by complicated and cumbersome procedures that distract them from serving their customers. Understanding this, you have an opportunity to attract agents by streamlining your processes and reducing unnecessary administrative red tape. Doing so will enable your agents to better serve your shared customers, the end-insured.

How to improve agent experience

1. Evaluate contracts and simplify your process.

Many carriers have accumulated large numbers of agent contracts over the years. These contracts have steadily grown through acquisitions, changes to distribution channels and products, or shifts in business operations. Many have been carried forward without re-evaluation or consolidation, resulting in complex onboarding questions and steps for agents of various lines of business. If you haven’t reviewed your contracts with your legal team recently, you’re missing a huge opportunity to simplify your contracting process.

By evaluating the intent of each contract, your organization can outline a new (or consolidated) set of contracts that meet your needs. In addition, using standardized language can significantly reduce the number of contracts to issue and complexity within them. This further reduces the effort required by your staff to maintain contracts and makes it easier to onboard new agents quickly, enabling them to begin operating sooner.

2. Keep agency operations managers in the loop. They want to help!

Like you, agency operations managers want to reduce the administrative burden on agents so they can focus on sales and service to clients. That makes these individuals your most valuable resource to coordinate with and resolve issues that may arise. Establishing relationships with these key players and sharing information about your processes will go a long way toward resolving any onboarding or ongoing issues before they arise.

3. Self-service options enable faster access to information while reducing costly call volume.

Digital transformation has raised agent expectations for integrated self-service operational capabilities. Providing self-service options helps your independent agents help themselves by providing direct access to key information, resulting in more efficient and expedient workflow. Simple changes, such as implementing status notifications, can enable agents to focus more on reaching new and serving existing clients—and not get tied up on phone calls with your staff.

4. Digitize and automate standard processes.

Having digital processes is foundational to maintaining a positive agent experience and strong working relationship. If your processes are not fully digital, or if there’s a disjointed experience between systems, it will be difficult to establish harmonious working relationships with independent agents. This will become increasingly problematic as the agents accustomed to legacy processes retire from the workforce and are replaced by younger digital natives (otherwise known as digital dependents). This segment of the workforce that grew up fully supported by technology and digital devices has higher expectations and lower tolerance for the inconvenience of navigating difficulties with organization-specific processes.

Proprietary producer information and appointment forms (PIFs) are a classic example of a manual process that can be standardized by leveraging ACORD forms, digitized to reduce friction with your agents and improve efficiency within your operations.

The takeaway

In the digital age, your agents expect a simple and smooth experience, fueled by automation and self-service options. Offering anything less means risking losing them to the competition. An automated distribution management system will enable you to offer the intuitive experience your agents expect while maintaining the compliance you need. Simplify and automate your distribution management to establish yourself as a carrier of choice among independent agents.

Distribution management solutions empower carriers to manage the complexities of distribution management while providing an optimal experience for their agents.

The Vertafore advantage: your trusted partner in improving agent experience

At Vertafore, we understand the unique challenges faced by carriers in the independent agent channel. Our comprehensive suite of carrier-focused solutions is designed to empower you to make data-driven decisions, streamline workflows, and strengthen your partnerships with agents. As your trusted partner, we provide the tools and insights you need to navigate challenges and achieve success.

Let’s start a conversation. Contact Vertafore today to learn how we can help your agent connections thrive.