Digital sales platforms and operational outsourcing has been trending in the life insurance space for the last two years. I have touched on these topics in previous articles, however today I want to dive deeper. I also have been slowly introducing in the Broker World Tech-Tock column technology related to selling Medicare products because these have become the hot cross-sell products for life agents.
BGAs Reducing Operation Costs While Focusing on Sales and Marketing
Firms seeking scalability and growth are turning to an operations model that right-sources business processes to offshore firms with industry-wide experience and expertise. This shift catapults the trajectory of company growth by optimizing efficiencies and freeing essential staff to focus on sales and customer experience while reallocating expenses towards sales and recruiting efforts. Right-sourcing reduces operational costs and creates stability and continuity during seasonal ebbs and flows of business, providing a solid foundation for growth.
Employee Pooling (EP), a third-party financial services processing firm headquartered in Nashville with services delivered out of New Delhi, has numerous success stories with large and small firms that often start in the baby pool. It begins by establishing a trusted working relationship and steadily adding more services over time. The scenarios for seeking external support vary greatly: A firm has suddenly lost a key staff member, a BGA wants to focus on sales and doesn’t have the time or resources to manage essential administrative positions, there is too much unpredictability in hiring, training, and retaining skilled personnel within budget and scaling to meet service standards depending on work volume, or simply desiring to keep salaries and expenses to a minimum. No matter the “why” the results are impressive.
A BGA with three agency principals out of Seattle decided to completely reimagine the way they do business: They changed from a brokerage agency to a marketing organization focusing on sales and increasing profits while adding more resources to their general agency—they committed to eliminating everything that got in the way of sales and customer experience. Over a two-year period, starting with six full-time employees to manage agent appointments, new business application processing, case management, commissions, and policy management, this firm transitioned five of their employees out of the company, reducing annual payroll by $312,000 ($62,400 per employee). They moved all administrative tasks to EP, who appointed an equal number of experienced department specialists and their team leaders to deliver and manage the agency’s business. The payoff was dramatic. The firm added $265,200 to their bottom line. EP allows a variable pricing model and only charges for services delivered. With a huge, low-cost, young, educated labor market in New Delhi, EP can afford to add scale and stability and back up staff to meet strict service standards in an industry with wide swings in the flow of business. The total annual cost for this BGA’s services totaled $46,800—25 percent less than the cost of one in-house employee.
An eBGA is Changing the Game for Life Insurance (Sales + Technology)
My definition of an eBGA is a life distributor that uses technology for recruiting agents. This technology attracts agents because it is designed specifically for agents to use for client prospecting. It could be a mobile app, web app, and/or micro-site that can be marketed for example in social media giving the consumer the ability to do their own education for life insurance, perform a needs analysis, run a quote, and apply for insurance while the agent is available at any time during the process for assistance.
An eBGA that is re-framing the entire life insurance sales ecosystem is BackNine Insurance and Financial Services. You can also classify BackNine as an insurtech company with two proprietary platforms designed to streamline the way in which life insurance agents, agencies, and consumers engage with their product and clients. Whether you own an agency or are an individual producer, their platforms can help agents turn their business into a fully digital solution to increase sales and improve client retention.
BackNine’s Quote & Apply platform is the first multi-carrier, consumer-facing e-application platform for life insurance. Agents can white label the software and use it on their own website or platforms, optimize their client onboarding processes, and ultimately monitor and scale their business 24/7. Users can also access quotes, compare rates, and file e-applications virtually and digitally. With Quote & Apply, anyone can apply for life insurance in under five minutes with their computer, tablet or smartphone, and be quoted with several policy options by answering only six questions (age, gender, height/weight, smoking history, and rating the person’s health on a scale of one to five). The agent can also send direct links to customers and they can shop multiple carriers and apply on their own time with ease.
Instead of the typical BGA website with multiple disparate tools, BackNine has created an agent platform called BOSS, which is a life insurance CRM empowering agents to monitor and manage their life insurance business across the board. The platform keeps agents updated on cases, and access to their commission statements. The dashboard is configurable for each agent’s preferences. BOSS allows agents to stay up-to-date on all of client activity and manage their data in real time. BOSS can also be utilized as an agency management system for outreach to new and existing clients and helps agents grow their life insurance book. The internal sales desk offers agents assistance in finding the appropriate products and carrier options for clients’ specific needs. Agents can also avoid client data dual-entry by integrating an existing AMS or CRM for all future life insurance transactions. These platforms are for both new agents and seasoned advisors who want to digitize their agency. The end result is maximized efficiency and more life insurance sales. You can learn more about BackNine by visiting http://www.back9ins.com.
Medicare Sales: An Upgraded Solution
These days, most Medicare consumers expect online access to carrier plan information, quoting, and even enrollment. For this to happen, insurers and agents must present digital access that better uses data, forms, and communication—or risk losing customers. Consumers aren’t the only ones asking for updates either. The old way of requiring agents to navigate legacy systems requiring paper applications, physical signatures, and clunky data transfers slows sales down and has agents looking elsewhere.
Many Medicare agents rate back-office and customer-facing digital tools as the top supports carriers should provide. Comparing the two, you can see why.
- Poor integration with agents and consumer data complicates workflows
- Relies on a semi-digital toolset, with extensive human intervention
- Outdated and slow processes frustrate
- Agent licensing compliance headaches
- Seamless digital connections with agents and consumers
- Easy access to data from multiple sources
- Efficient distribution and support for products
- Agent licensing compliance integration
The Benefits of Reshaping Operations
Research shows that carriers and agents who use digital technology are able to automate 50 to 60 percent of administrative operations and have expense ratios that are close to 40 percent less. Time saved reduces time to market, lowers prices, and improves profitability. Early adopters of better online tools are positioned for growth by meeting the digital demands of today and planning for tomorrow.
Knowing When It’s Time for an Upgrade
When any system starts to experience productivity issues, it may be a sign it’s time for an upgrade.
Other signs to look for include:
- Loss of sales year over year
- Increasing security concerns from customers and employees
- New products or services don’t easily fit into current systems
- Operations experience slow responses or even downtime
- Legacy systems not technically compatible with outside data sources
Updating current technology could mean the difference between keeping up or falling behind.
Trusty.care provided the information on Medicare platforms. They are a New York based InsurTech company working to improve efficiencies in distributing senior, individual, and ancillary products. By connecting the point of sale to the consumer’s needs, Trusty.care can radically improve consumers’ financial stability related to healthcare costs and decrease rapid disenrollment. Today they have over 50,000 agents and top FMOs using their platform.