Selecting an Agency Management System (AMS) is a big decision, but for many benefits brokers it’s well worth the effort. There’s no doubt that the insurance industry is in the midst of a digital transformation, and the right technology can help your agency stay ahead of the curve. In the long run, a well-suited AMS can dramatically boost productivity, reduce overhead, and help you thrive in today’s digital world.
What is an Agency Management System?
An AMS is a SaaS (software as a service) technology to help insurance agencies more effectively manage their businesses. And no, they aren’t all created equal.
An AMS can vary greatly in both cost and capabilities, with many platforms only addressing specific stages of the sales cycle. Others, like Benelinx, offer a fully integrated, end-to-end solution to help benefits brokers succeed every step of the way.
Do I need an Agency Management System?
Before you consider purchasing new software, it’s critical to first evaluate where you are.
- Is your client and carrier information well organized, accessible and secure?
- Are you identifying and leveraging opportunities for growth?
- Can you manage your sales and renewals in a single integrated system?
If you answered no to any of these questions, then an AMS may be a good fit for you. The right AMS can significantly boost productivity, reduce overhead costs, improve client service, and reduce turnaround time for the quoting and proposal process.
Next, take some time to look forward and identify where you want to be.
- Is growing your agency a priority?
- Would you like to provide clients with a more seamless experience?
- Do you want to enhance your strategy with data-driven insights?
- Are you interested in working smarter not harder?
Finally, consider what you need to meet your goals. What are your must-haves and what capabilities would be nice bonuses? Create a list to compare your must-haves and would-likes against platform features. That way, you’ll ensure your chosen platform offers the functionality you need to achieve your goals.
Consider the ROI of your Agency Management System. In addition to helping you streamline workflow and retain more business, can it reduce overhead costs? By freeing up your brokers’ time for the tasks that matter, you can accomplish more with less resources.
What can an Agency Management System do for me?
Depending on which AMS you choose, it can do everything from helping you stay more organized to streamlining your workflow to growing your business. Below are some of the benefits you can expect from a fully integrated, end-to-end Agency Management Solution like Benelinx.
- Fast, error-free quoting and proposals
- Secure, organized, accessible data
- Increased new business and renewals
- Stronger relationships with carriers
- Strategy driven by real-time data
- Added cross-sell opportunities
- Happier, more productive employees
- Greater client trust
- Customizable to my agency and client needs
What capabilities can an Agency Management System offer?
Unlike a traditional AMS that only offers a centralized database, commissions tracking and client service management, an end-to-end solution like Benelinx includes everything you need to streamline agency management, client service, quoting and proposal generation in a single platform.
What else should I consider when choosing an AMS?
COST: Many Agency Management Systems are subscription-based services that charge monthly licensing fees. In addition to the cost itself, it’s important to evaluate what you are getting in return for your spend. Will your new AMS cover all the tasks currently managed by your legacy systems, or will you need to buy additional software or services to operate certain parts of your business?
For example, many Agency Management Systems don’t enable you to go from quote to proposal to sold all on the same platform. Only an end-to-end solution like Benelinx provides that added integration.
It’s also key to ask about additional fees up front – do vendors charge for items like migration, training, implementation, data storage and support, or are those services included in the licensing costs?
EXIT STRATEGY: Another item to consider is the cost if you decide to leave the system down the road. How accessible is your data? Are there additional fees for leaving? These questions should all be answered before you sign a contact.
DATA SECURITY: One of the most important factors in selecting an AMS is platform and data security. In today’s world where data is vulnerable, it’s critical to ensure your system is safe, ISO 27018 certified and compliant with HIPAA. Knowing where your data is hosted, how often it’s backed up and what levels of compliance are in place should be top priority.
Data security varies between Agency Management Systems. Benelinx is built on Salesforce infrastructure for proven security, reliability and best-in-class architecture. Salesforce is committed to setting the standard in SaaS customer security. This all means that we promise secure, protected data and greater peace of mind for you.
IMPLEMENTATION: Remember, once you select an AMS, the work has only just begun. Depending on how much data you have and how “clean” (uniformly formatted) it is, data migration can be a small job or a really big one. No matter what your situation is, you want a trusted expert on your side to help guide your agency through this process. It doesn’t have to be painful!
We partner exclusively with Apoorva, a company with decades of experience in data management, to implement all Benelinx installations, data migration, training and ongoing support. Once software is implemented and data access obtained, Apoorva removes duplicate or incomplete data, creates appropriate merging algorithms, and seamlessly migrates data with complete security and integrity. Let us do the heavy lifting to get your data into the system correctly the first time, so you can start using your AMS on day 1.
SUPPORT: When you invest in an AMS, you’re not just choosing a software, you’re choosing a partner. Since you’re likely to be in this relationship for the long haul, it’s important to feel that you’re being supported through implementation and beyond.
Quality support and training is something we take seriously. Our implementation partner Apporva provides a full year of training to ensure that you’re getting the most out of Benelinx and can provide your own clients with exceptional service.
CUSTOM CAPABILITIES: Lastly, it’s critical to evaluate whether an AMS can adapt to your agency’s needs. Your current priorities might be different from those in the future and ideally, your AMS can be optimized to both scenarios.
In the short-term, a customizable AMS can help you improve your workflow out the gate. Can you add your own fields or change page layouts with the click of a button? Or, do you need to submit a “ticket” and request approval to make simple changes?
Looking forward, an AMS should be constantly evolving to keep up with the latest industry trends and standards. A good way to research this is to ask potential vendors how often the software is updated and what releases they plan to launch in the future. By keeping a pulse on what’s coming down the pipeline, you’ll feel confident that your AMS will continue to grow with you.
An Agency Management Solution like Benelinx allows you to easily change the look and feel of your platform and customize it with fields tailored to your agency’s needs. And, we’re always working on new releases to help you stay ahead of the curve.