When forming a start-up insurance agency, every penny counts, and, often times, corners are cut for the sake of lowering expenses. Even in today’s digital age, many start-up agencies choose to save money by skipping technology when establishing the business. Becky Schroeder, vice president of marketing at Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC
), says this can be the Achilles heel for agencies, ultimately resulting in more time and money being spent in the long-term.
“[Some start-up agencies] choose to use paper files and spreadsheets to manage clients while they manually rate whatever carriers they have at the time,” she says. “I think that is a huge mistake because you are starting off with a habit that is not efficient or productive. So, if the time comes when you want to move to an agency management system or comparative rater, you then have to break yourself from those habits and create a new workflow.”
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For Schroeder, starting off with at least one system can greatly benefit an agency as it moves forward, and choosing which system to implement can come down to an agency’s carrier appointments.
“If you have just a handful of carriers, it wouldn’t make sense to start with a comparative rater,” she explains. “However, if you have several carriers, the time you would save when placing a policy using a comparative rater is well worth the investment.”
In addition to technological systems, Schroeder emphasizes the importance of establishing a website – another oversight made by many new agencies.
“You don’t need to have a robust website that needs you to put a whole lot of money into it,” she says. “But, you do need something out there because when a consumer searches for you, and they will, you need a website to show that you are a legitimate business.”
With several cost-effective options available, such as ITC
’s management system, InsurancePro, and comparative rater, TurboRater, both of which offer various plans and packages to fit any agency’s needs, start-up insurance agencies have more options than ever when it comes to choosing the right technology for their new business.
“Don’t make the mistake of not starting with any systems,” says Schroeder. “Once you go down that path, it can be a hard habit to break and a tough transition to work through. Whichever system you choose, start with good habits and good technology. Your agency will be more efficient and more productive.”
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