24 years ago the World Wide Web arrived along with America Online & Netscape (remember those guys?).
Somewhere around 90% of Young Agents today had access to Internet in their childhood. The older end of Young Agents negotiated reports and term papers with the use of the Internet in college or high school. The younger end of the Young Agent spectrum have had a smart phone since 7th grade!
And here we are in 2015, and many of our agency management systems still remain offline. The youth of today is trained at the youngest of ages to negotiate the newest of technology.
But not in the insurance industry. Many college graduates today, who have been nurtured by technology and all of its benefits, are forced to step back into an era not even the roots of their youth can comprehend.
As agency owners/principals I believe we have an obligation to arm our producers with the most productive technology available.
Not High Tech, but Productive Tech
It isn’t all about high tech, advanced, innovative.
These words can be used incorrectly when talking about the bottom line- “production.”
Isn’t that the word that turns heads? In the end – does it produce PRODUCTION?!
You see, no one has an obligation to provide their agents or staff a fancy keyboard or wireless mouse- these are perks.
But what about necessities?
What about tools that give my agent a competitive advantage, save me gas money, save me the expense of paper, save me time, save me headache, save me MONEY, and make me or my agent/staff more sharp?
Most agency principals think, if it isn’t broke- why should I fix it?
Do you attend product meetings with your carriers?
Why shouldn’t you with your agency management system?
Do you attend meetings about your agency management system – or do you send a CSR?
Your agency management system is your most valued asset.
It’s working when you are asleep. It knows where potential E&O claims exist. If you can agree with this, why then send another employee to learn about your “most valued asset?”
Why would you want someone in your office to know more about your most valued asset than yourself?
Most agency management system user groups have become heavily CSR attended. Crazy! Nothing wrong with sending a CSR- but why not yourself?
We have quit caring about what we need and want out of agency management systems.
Who Makes Agency Management System Decisions?
The people with buying power predominately in charge at most independent agencies are over the growth chapter in their career. Most of the principals/owners took the leap of faith and got automated in the mid 1980’s.
That was a huge effort.
Very few have changed systems since then. But the technology so many agencies are using has become painfully outdated (circa 1985).
This is not abnormal.
Most baby boomers look to their children’s generation when purchasing a TV, a phone, Netflix, or Amazon prime, and not only that- they want their children’s generation to come set it up once it has been purchased.
The boomers are vastly influenced by Generation Y when it comes to technology.
But that’s not where it ends.
What about Generation Y? Who influences them? Commercials? Their parents? The radio? Advertising Emails?
No! Generation Y is influenced by their own peers.
They don’t even care if they know the person in the physical world. Ever bought a device online and a couple weeks later they ask you to do a review? Ever seen a Generation Y person on Facebook say, “traveling to Washington DC- where do I eat and where do I stay?”
As I said before, “Something’s happening!”
Let’s come full circle now. The Young Agents are now in a position to make, or at the very least influence their principals on technology decisions.
Young Agents are constantly talking at conferences, email groups, Facebook groups, and webinars about what they want and need in agency management systems. It’s happening all over the country.
Young agents are getting stir crazy.
They want more.
They NEED more.
Because they know that the capability is out there.
The Technology Exists
Let’s put our industry into an example. Take an agent today around the age of 26. He or she has probably had a smart phone their whole life.
They arrive at their agency to work, and begin working in a system – that to them- appears to be ancient.
That morning they were awakened by their smart phone.
They checked all their emails before they got out of bed, they programmed their K cup coffee machine to be ready by the time they ate breakfast, watched the news on their iPad, and then went to work.
Then they stepped back into a time warp and frustration set in.
They compare their software device at home to that of a modern day flat screen TV – it can be compatible with multiple devices, can hook up multiple devices to it, and can be upgradeable without purchasing a new one.
They compare their software at work to be like grandma’s old wooden cabinet TV. Nothing can hook up to it, nothing can go out of it, and it can’t be upgraded when a new feature arrives.
Houston, do we see the problem?
And so here we are 24 years after America Online showed up in our homes. Direct access to the Internet. Websites. And we are still off line. Away far away from the cloud as we could ever be.
Sure, you can keep on keeping on. Nothing is wrong right? No problems? It’s been good to us so far? Right?
But the question is – do you know what you are missing? Do you know what is out there? Do you know that you can get more?
It’s time you really look at what is out there.
What could be out there. What needs to be out there.
Here are just a few cloud based agency management system solutions:
So what kind of technology would be nice to have?
What questions need to be asked if you make a switch?