Companies rely on agents to drive growth, but the onboarding process typically moves slowly due to corporate, regulatory and verification requirements.
Executive SummaryInsurance organizations that can find ways to streamline the process of onboarding agents can gain material advantages over competitors, writes Dean Hodge of CallidusCloud. In this article, he provides tips for finding the right technology solution.
The delay in bringing agents on board directly affects an insurance company’s ability to generate revenue. It also causes frustration for agents, who would rather focus on maximizing their productivity than assembling paperwork for credentialing.
Organizations that can find ways to streamline the onboarding process with technology can gain material advantages over competitors by getting to revenue faster and improving agent satisfaction.
A flexible technology solution that consolidates the credentialing process and supports multiple functions can improve insurance company and agency operations while offering a competitive edge. An ideal solution would support customer requirements, enable license and appointment expiration tracking or alerts, and allow users to streamline document management.
But what else should insurance company and agency technology purchasers look for in a solution? Here’s a checklist that can help you think through your requirements, assess available features and make the right decision:
1. Define your use cases. The onboarding technology you choose will typically support multiple territories, states, product lines and agent classifications, so it’s important to identify a framework that meets other requirements or business needs. The questions below must be answered:
- Can the solution be customized to address unique situations?
For example, if you want to introduce additional checks and balances to the onboarding process beyond the standard checks most companies use, your solution should allow you to add them.
- Does it integrate with background check systems and with learning and development systems?
- Are there integrations with outside sources to leverage at every stage of the workflow?
- How much effort and time does it take to put a typical regulatory change into place?
2. Look for minimal IT support requirements.Most insurance companies and agencies already struggle to access adequate IT support. So, preferred onboarding solutions are those that won’t strain already-stretched IT resources.
Consider an onboarding solution that is easy to configure, set up and maintain, with technology that allows non-technical staff to manage routine updates and make changes in response to new business needs. Other features to look for include the ability to manage regulatory and contract term changes, and correspondence features that make it easy to send out legal notices, advisories and contract term updates.
3. Ensure ease of use for agents.Look for a solution that features a simple, intuitive interface instead of a complex website that requires agents to fill out multiple forms. A system that allows agents to verify rather than manually enter data can minimize data entry errors, and a holistic onboarding approach can eliminate multiple agent ID numbers.
4.Look for a cloud-based solution.Onboarding solutions are either cloud-based or self-hosted. Advantages of cloud-based systems include the ability to instantly access feature enhancements, integrate with vertically aligned products and take advantage of built-in support resources. With a cloud-based solution, you may be able to access other useful functions, such as data management and reporting features, which can enhance core processes.
Delays in bringing agents on board directly impede a carrier’s ability to generate revenue, so a technology solution that can streamline the process makes sense from a business standpoint. It also makes sense from a relationship management point of view, since building and maintaining strong ties with the best agents can be a competitive edge. With the right onboarding technology, your insurance company can compete for the best agents—and get to revenue faster.