How Adopting Mobile Will Revolutionize Your Business
Insurance | Emily Drake, Connections Editor | Feb 25 2020
This article originally ran in the December 2019 print issue of Connections, “Embracing the Digital Agency.” View the case study that accompanied this story.
Insurance Age claims the pace of change in insurance is speeding up. And, Applied Systems CEO, Taylor Rhodes, stated during Applied Net 2019 that "the benefits of technology will start to permeate both on the agency and the insurer side.”
According to the 2019 Applied Digital Agency Annual Report, 90% of consumers expect an online portal for customer service, yet only 18–24% of agencies and brokerages offer clients both a desktop and mobile solution. It does not take a super genius to surmise that a significant competitive advantage exists for those agencies and brokerages that take the leap and make mobile part of their customer experience.
What’s more, the annual report further details that 47% of agencies and brokerages offer mobile access for staff to manage system information. So, what might it take for those same businesses (and beyond) to adopt mobile?
We sat down with two agency leaders who’ve helped their teams go from zero to hero where mobile adoption is concerned.
The Veteran: Ansay & Associates, LLC
Deb Alt, quality assurance and systems advisor at Ansay & Associates, LLC in Wisconsin, began our conversation by noting that, “It’s all about training and taking the implementation in phases. The mobile feature is not going to be a solution for every client. But, the majority of clients are looking for self-service options and will embrace this feature.”
From Alt’s perspective, one of the biggest hurdles for agencies and brokerages when it comes to mobile adoption is gaining support and buy-in from senior management. Fortunately, for Ansay & Associates, the team had support from senior management immediately and the resources to provide a strong training regimen for both employees and clients. They began adopting Applied CSR24 while still on Applied TAM, focusing first on certificates and internal use before launching a client portal. When they transitioned to Applied Epic in 2013, the plans were set in motion for a full mobile launch by 2015.
As you might imagine, the two-year buildup for the client portal and mobile app was met with concerns from staff. For example, Alt was often approached by service associates who were worried that it might replace their role on the account. Ansay was able to quickly combat those concerns by sharing that the tool is not meant to replace but to elevate account leadership in order to achieve a higher level of client service. Through training and supporting documentation, staff confidence increased and the team was ready to go.
"Make sure that you release different features in phases. For instance, it was so helpful to launch the client portal and app together,” noted Alt. “And one more thing: Don’t give up! You will get there, and it will be glorious.”
To launch its version of a full mobile suite, it was important for the Ansay team to set realistic expectations and build awareness both internally and externally, over-communicating updates regularly and openly.
In marketing the tool, they took advantage of the renewal cycle to promote a no-frills signup period that they supported with feature-rich whiteboard videos, client webinars and more. They even built an FAQ resource as well as a live “test client” within the portal to help employees quickly reference and share example scenarios with curious clients, whether existing or prospective. Since launching, they’re
continuously coming up with creative ways to move even more clients over, such as a “Go Green” campaign this summer to encourage paperless processing.
The results? Ansay & Associates has since transitioned about half of their clients to the client portal, and mobile app utilization continues to increase. The team has received positive feedback from their clients and they really enjoy the auto ID cards and claims reporting features within the app.
In a final comment, Alt shared that it was important for her team to look at Applied MobileInsured as a supplement to its client portal. That way, they could view MobileInsured as a supportive tool within the overall mobile initiative.
The Newbie: Morris & Reynolds Insurance
They may have just completed rollout, but new-to-market mobile adopter Morris & Reynolds Insurance out of Florida is no stranger to change. After moving from Applied TAM to Applied Epic in 2017, General Manager Dianna L. Philipp began to push her team to pick up the mobile pace by expanding use of CSR24 and going truly mobile before the end of the decade.
For background, Morris & Reynolds started using CSR24 while still on TAM, but only for commercial lines. With the switch to Epic, it was time to adopt the tool for personal lines, too. Though they had been eyeing the mobile app solution since its introduction into the product line, the team was cautious and determined to do their due diligence. With the prospect of an in-app chat function on the way, this is something
they feel will prove especially useful during natural disasters. 2019 became the official launch year.
"It's all about training and taking the implementation in phases. [...] The majority of clients are looking for self-service options and will embrace this feature."
Fortunately for Philipp, her team had done some initial work a few years earlier, giving them solid ground to stand on when kickstarting a new app project. With rollout closely timed after its Epic transition, Morris & Reynolds was able to capitalize on training efforts that had so recently helped employees gain proficiency quickly.
“It was very important that higher management engage managers. That way, announcements and training could trickle down to junior employees,” shared Philipp.
Though complex, Morris & Reynolds found the process and configuration simple… as long as they followed Applied Systems’ resources “to a T”. Philipp’s greatest advice if you’re looking to launch a mobile app for your agency or brokerage is to do your research and have a plan. It may sound trite but she emphasizes that you should, “manage to the plan and don’t deviate.”
No data is yet available in terms of usage; after all, they’re still educating clients, but the Morris & Reynolds team cannot wait to watch how the business evolves.
If your agency or brokerage is teetering on the edge, unsure whether to move to mobile, now is the time to turn thought into action. After all, customers are getting smarter and are demanding convenience. The rise of insurance disruptor Lemonade is proof of this.
With a still-small percentage of fellow agencies and brokerages having adopted mobile, adding mobile to your service suite will give you a sweet competitive advantage.
Tags: Insurance , Applied TAM , Mobile , Applied Epic , Connections Magazine , CSR24 , Case Study