This post is part of a series sponsored by AgentSync.
Insurance is a highly regulated industry, and with a generation of retirees and productive workforces becoming iconic in their businesses, reducing time spent on manual data entry for internal and external teams is key to long-term growth.
When I took over as president of Bridger Insurance Services a year ago, one of my first priorities was streamlining operations. As much as I like the industrial manual, I was willing to “manual”.
Appointment is one of the most manual and attention-intensive processes for a company with hundreds of offices across the country. Before working with AgentSync, our process looked like this:
- A producer will email us or call us to make an appointment
- Our team will send you a PDF of our Company Agreement, Electronic Funds Transfer Agreement, W-9, etc.
- The producer will return everything along with copies of their licenses
- Our staff will manually type everything in to put into our client relationship management system and policy admin system.
Although it looks like the process of many insurance companies operating in our space, it is a terribly inefficient process.
Gaining efficiency through process improvements
Before I became president, Bridger already worked with AgentSync and implemented an agent onboarding portal to automate this process. This is a highly regulated industry and we can only maintain appointments and do business with properly licensed producers. Therefore, synchronizing National Manufacturer Numbers (NPNs) and letting agencies know their manufacturers to obtain their continuing education (CE) and licenses is the best way to ensure compliance.
The first step in automating manufacturer onboarding and appointments helped further our reputation as a technology-forward company. Nevertheless, we are seeing change in the insurance industry as long-time agency owners leave the industry and sell their businesses. So, when I saw that we still had 40 or so questions on our portal, I knew we had some room for improvement.
When it comes to online processes, if something is too long or complicated, there is a drop-off in completion. So we reviewed our portal to take a critical look at the data we collect. We tried to experience the process as our users do, and we tried to understand where the bottlenecks or pain points were. And we decided there were many places we could build more capabilities beyond the digital version of our onboarding process.
The Customer Success team leverages partnerships
Taking a manual, paper-based, process and making it electronic is modern or digital. We know our partners don’t have time to spend 45 minutes on an appointment application – digital or paper. So we started a conversation with the AgentSync team about how to further streamline our onboarding and appointment process.
One of the challenges we faced was managing producers and agency partners at hundreds of locations in different states. Rethinking our onboarding process required a lot of learning and, fortunately, the AgentSync Customer Success team proved up to the task.
From field mapping between AgentSync and our e-signature tools to removing required fields and ensuring user experience, the AgentSync team was with us every step of the way. Not only did they do what we asked, but they engaged with us to provide feedback and input on ways to improve our process.
The team at AgentSync saw it as a challenge to make not only the Bridger experience better, but the AgentSync solutions as well. Knowing we had a team behind us that was really committed to delivering something that worked for all of us made the process so much easier. Instead of spending hours typing and retyping information, our platforms automatically fill in fields. Our prospective partners can register online, access the portal and apply for an appointment within minutes. Our administrators will check the applications, make sure all the information is there and then click the button to generate a signature package. I sign, the producer signs, and we’re done. All in all, we know state-specific compliance rules are baked in, so we don’t worry about missing them.
Over time, this efficiency turns into profit. In the last 12 months, we’ve grown our business by more than 450 percent, so an efficient, automated and streamlined onboarding and appointment process has been instrumental.
Leveraging innovation to meet a changing industry for growth
The industry has been aging for a long time. While there are many statistics to back this up, Bridger sees his fair share of people retiring and selling their businesses. Most of these sales end with name changes, company principal changes, and the entire process of transferring information to business entities and manufacturers.
We’re also growing our platform as this industry transitions, as we facilitate this transition with e-signature tools and autofill integrations into our other systems, all of which make it easier to attract new ones. We retain agency franchisees and businesses we already have a contract with. But there are many carriers that use written forms to handle these changes.
Using technology makes us less. Instead of recruiting new offices and making a lengthy case as to why they should spend an hour or more printing, filling out and scanning documents, you can provide prospective partners with a QR code where they can directly apply for an appointment. Telephone.
Partnering with AgentSync is part of this vision – when we see changes we expect the responsive communication needed to implement them, and we know we can get answers or appointments with our AgentSync team within hours. This sets us up for success by better targeting our opportunities in untapped market areas and leveraging market cycles to grow and scale our momentum.
At Bridger, we’ve seen operational efficiency, effective compliance, and the experience of our partners come together in this rapid onboarding process built on a modern insurance infrastructure. As market conditions continue to drive these innovations, we look forward to what comes next.
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