Why the insurance technology vendor relationship is important
By Justin R. Brown
If you ever feel like the insurance technology vendor relationship isn't worth your time, then consider for a moment what your day would be like without the use of your computer, network or the Internet. It’s essential to have open communication and a positive relationship with the team who keeps the technological end of the business going.
Every agent knows the importance of establishing good relationships with clients — you do right by them, and they’ll do right by you. As essential as that is, you should also keep in mind that you have business relationships that enable you to keep your customers happy. One of the most important business relationships in today’s insurance industry is the one you have with your insurance technology vendor. This can include storage and security services, email providers, and mobile application developers or integration systems, among others.
Business now lives online. That’s the space where the bulk of communications happen, and in a lot of cases, it’s where transactions between you and your clients happen. Dependence on computers and Web capabilities is at its highest, so you want to do everything you can to ensure that things run smoothly and that you can capitalize on the newest tech developments as fast or faster than your competition.
So what can you do?
Find the right price
While expenditures are always something you want to watch with hawk-like focus, overzealous bargaining with your insurance technology provider can have negative consequences. Putting on the squeeze can make the prospect of doing business with you seem less valuable to the provider. Coming to a mutually beneficial price solution will make you feel good about what you’re getting for your money, and the insurance technology vendor will feel better about going above and beyond to provide the right insurance technology solutions when you need it most.
Get involved as an advisor
You’re in the day-to-day business of insurance — your insurance technology vendor is not. However, that vendor will likely want to know how they can optimize their business for you and other clients like you. Talk to the technology company contacts to find out whether they have a client advisory board. If so, request to be on it. When you encounter problems or possibilities for improvement, being part of the advisory board will allow you to discuss issues directly with the vendor, and you can look for solutions together. This is a great way to enhance your business relationship, but it can also be an opportunity to develop new solutions to serve your clientele. Keep communications open
In a fast-paced business environment, it can be easy to let communications fall by the wayside. However, regular communication will help keep everyone up to speed, which will be helpful in the case of an emergency. Letting your insurance technology vendor know well ahead of time about changes you want to make — for instance, if you want to explore a new lead management system — will help ensure smoother transitions and better service. Your vendor might also come to see you as a resource or an expert that they can come to, which can help strengthen your relationship and offer the benefits of a strong partnership.
Also, don't overlook asking for a specific account manager from your vendors. If your agency is just beginning or is considered a smaller enterprise by your vendor, this may not be possible. However, asking to create a one-on-one relationship with an account manager can offer quicker issue resolution should a problem arise.
Protect our business
Cyber security is not only crucial to the health of your agency, but it is also paramount for making your customers feel at ease. Find out how your vendors protect your information and ask how they manage data in the event of a breach. Passing this information to your clients and insurance prospects will show that you have a vested interest in protecting their personally identifiable information as much as they do and offers another service feature of your agency. As our online presence grows and more financial transactions occur online, cyber security is quickly becoming a necessity and no longer a luxury for agencies.
If you ever feel like the insurance technology vendor relationship isn't worth your time, then consider for a moment what your day would be like without the use of your computer, network or the Internet. For anyone in business today, that’s a reality check that quickly and clearly illustrates why it’s essential to have open communication and a positive relationship with the team who keeps the technological end of the business going.