Accounting software is a wide category of various applications which stand for the one and only purpose: recording and processing accounting tasks. Such software for insurance agent focuses on more specialized functions and turns agencies into paperless offices.
Probably, an insurance policy is not a thing you remember about every day but it is undeniably important. With proper insurance, you are protected from road accidents or sudden traumas, from plane delays or luggage loss, and so on. That’s why underwriters are pretty successful teams as they have solid revenue and a wide number of customers (check the chart below for more info). However, with insurance agency automation systems, these companies can boost their efficiency even more.
In this guide, we would like to uncover the real benefits of accounting software for insurance agencies. Read on to find out how to order, develop, and deploy your own custom application to automate accounting tasks, facilitate reporting and maintenance, and unify data. As well, we will check the difference between P&C (e.g. car) and L&H (e.g. life) brokers. The final thing to look at is our FAQ with popular questions. But we will start with basic information for 2019, so you can dive into the topic, little by little.
Insurance accounting software 101
To understand why customizable solutions for accounting functions are great and how they can benefit underwriters, it’s obligatory to get simpler things: what is accounting software for insurance brokers, how it works, and what types are available for clients. Let’s move through these questions briefly.
Key terms and concepts
First and foremost, we should define the idea of insurance software solutions UK (and other countries). Such applications digitize the entire workflow with all documents and policies. With modern accounting systems, insurance teams can handle multiple customers, contracts, currencies, and partners, gather related information and store it in a single database, target audience, and provide personalized promo campaigns.
Long story short, it means that the best accounting software for insurance agencies should be both simple and powerful to provide all the necessary functions for moderate costs. In this case, we suggest creating or ordering a custom product development from a dedicated team. Custom software for insurance agent includes only modules your agency need, so small businesses can cut costs on redundant things from prepackaged apps while enterprises can order unique insurance software solutions.
Types of software
Moving further, let’s check which apps’ categories fill the modern insurance agency software market. Here they are:
- Spreadsheets. The simplest applications which are, well, tables. Systems like Excel or Google Spreadsheets allow you to combine data, visualize, and analyze it. While these apps are great for basic tasks, they are too plain, so we will not review them.
- Commercial apps. They come with more features including already mentioned tables, tools for reporting and auditing, separate general ledgers, and dedicated solutions for policies. This type is perfect for small and middle-sized teams.
- Enterprise ERP software. The most comprehensive and powerful products support also automation features and interlinking tools for connection between different branches. Usually, this software refers to ERP and ECM apps.
Apart from this classification, you can choose between cloud-based and stand-alone insurance software solutions. The first option provides for systems hosted by developers in clouds, so you, as a customer, can save on servers’ resources. Unlike, stand-alone apps are fully yours which means that your team must host them, support, fix, and update. While cloud insurance agency management software costs more when it comes to regular fees, they cut expenses related to emergency cases and general maintenance.
Finally, there is another difference as software for insurance agent can be ready-made or custom. As we have mentioned before (and will mention later, more detailed), custom applications are much more flexible. During conversations between your employees and software developers, you can define the most required features and balance them with final costs together. Our company delivers all-inclusive BA services and creates MVP initially. With this, you are able to understand yours and competitors’ businesses and integrate cost-efficiency starting program.
Outsourcing can be highly valuabe. Reveal the benefits of outsourced development.
Agent & broker software (ABS)
Apart from other types, there is more specialized software for insurance agent and broker. Different companies use different definitions and can ignore this category of applications but we decided to provide some info on it, so you will be able to distinguish developers’ offers better.
Put simply, agent & broker software (ABS) stands for user-friendly yet powerful scalable solutions created for insurance companies of all sizes. Such programs deliver end-to-end capabilities for wholesome accounting in the insurance sphere exclusively. Thanks to the modular system and high level of customization, ABS soft suits small, medium, and large companies and MGAs. As providers allow different options, clients can choose from cloud-based, stand-alone, mobile, desktop or web insurance software solutions.
Generally, ABS programs occupy an intermediate spot between prepackaged apps and fully tailored ones. Hence, you can modify the chosen system but there are still some boundaries. With custom software, you have no limits at all, remember this fact.
Features and benefits of insurance agency automation systems
Let’s move further. If you consider purchasing an application for insurance accounting, it’s better to know which functions it can handle. Prepackaged programs usually include most of them but with custom apps you can add, remove or replace elements freely:
- Basic accounting. It’s all the stuff important for different businesses, not only for underwriters: general ledger, payables, receivables etc.
- Document flow. Everything you need to work with important papers: create, edit, store, view, translate, and distribute them.
- Policy management. One of the primary modules for insurance teams covers the whole process of signing a contract and further supporting.
- Claims handling. The simple and partially-automated workflow related to claims includes support tools, fraud detection, payments securing, and so on.
- Auditing. Software integrates electronic records, requests, and reports to facilitate audit tasks and free up your staff from manual work.
- Extensions and integrations. Enterprise-grade ERP software also delivers next-gen connections with outer providers and apps to boost global cooperation.
Keeping in mind functional areas covered by accounting software for insurance companies, let’s look at the key benefits of these solutions. Simply put, applications enhance productivity, transparency, and accuracy of insurance-related departments. For instance, automated fees or entries save time and resources, so you can focus on personal interaction with clients. Simultaneously, automation prevents human errors and eliminates the need for manual oversight. As well, user-oriented modules like CRM with customers’ interfaces highly boost engagement because your clients can get access to essential info in a few clicks.
Overall, accounting apps for insurance brands are pretty simple but cover all key areas of data processing and client communication. To convince you that such applications are useful, we have prepared some examples.
Accounting software for car insurance brokers
The automotive industry experiences stable annual growth from the years of the Great Recession. From 2010 to 2017, the number of cars built was increased from 58.24 million to 73.46 million, according to Statista. Respectively, insurance companies have enough clients to work with but can boost their performance with dedicated applications.
On a par with life insurance agent software, car apps are highly demanded. We have chosen this sector as the brightest example of the P&C market which deciphers as property & casualty. Accounting software for insurance agent from this market must include a few industry-related functions, to note:
- Various rules and tariffs: for 4-wheel or 2-wheel machines, private cars, commercial vehicles, and passengers.
- Different policies: issuances, renewals, remittances, and so on.
- Real-time validation: VIN numbers, engines, and other parts of vehicles.
Other traditional features are also necessary for this industry but you should look for more bespoke stuff designed for your needs only.
Accounting software for life insurance brokers
On the other side, we have the L&H insurance sector which stands for life & health. In 2018, the Insurance Information Institute published its study with intriguing results. According to it, about 1 in 5 surveyed people claim that they need more policies. Simultaneously, 50% of respondents answered that they searched for insurance information online while near 33% even tried to purchase it. Thus, underwriters have enough work to do.
Similarly to the previous industry, life insurance agent software features certain unique requirements. Ideally, insurance agency automation systems for L&H businesses should include the following functional areas and features:
- Different insurance options: for individuals, for groups, and even for corporations.
- 360-degree support: quotations, applications, policies, issuances, and endorsements.
- High security: personal data and health records must be protected perfectly.
Besides these points, you should always choose providers who are ready to modify their systems, at least.
Primary things to know about insurance broker software solutions UK
So far as you have learned about general differences of accounting software for an insurance agency and exact industry examples, we are ready to check important stuff related to creating, deploying, and upgrading insurance software. In the next sections, we will guide you through the development process, markets, vendors, and, surely, prices. The following info is typical for the United Kingdom but other states also have a similar current situation.
Step-by-step software deployment process
Most likely, here is the most crucial part of our guide. When you choose software and developers who will create it, be sure that you remember all the main steps of the development. Frankly speaking, various apps’ types feature quite similar stages but we will list them in accordance with more specific agent & broker software (ABS) features. We want to focus on creating custom products because prepackaged ones are sold quickly, without some core steps.
The very first challenge which you will face relates to business analysis or product research. It’s simple to understand. As you want to get the best possible software, it’s obligatory to know what you need. Discuss wishes and ideas together with developers and internal teams which will work with the final version of the software for insurance agent, so programmers will be able to spot the strengths and weaknesses of your plan.
Solid companies like our development team provide not only product research but also market study. This means, we investigate both your ideas and the current trends and competitors to find out the best solution to create the most efficient application. For the insurance agency software market, such an approach is even more valuable because there are dozens of brokers who fight for customers. With our custom apps, businesses easily outperform their adversaries.
The next step is all about calculations and prototyping. Once you and the chosen development team reach an agreement, partners start their work. During this stage, the outsourcing company will conduct additional research and conclude the desired features of accunting software for insurance agency. Some teams prefer charging hourly rates as freelancers do while other companies work as real tech partners and send you one price for everything.
Insurance agency management software cost depends on various factors but the definitive one is a set of modules integrated. The more complex is your app the more you will pay for it. By the way, advanced outsourcers provide ROI estimations, as well. It means that you can look at potential profits and add or remove some tools to get the best payback.
Accepting the budget leads to the next core element of the development process when the chosen team starts working on prototypes or an MVP aka Minimum Viable Product. Simply put, it’s a very plain but functional system which features only essential modules and can be integrated into your business process. Using an MVP, brokers can evaluate performances and results to reveal which functions are redundant and which ones are required to add. Such software skeletons are useful for checking potential benefits without paying too much.
Needless to say that the most important tech part of the entire process is development itself. Accounting software for insurance companies requires a lot of time if you want to get a really high-quality product. Creation starts with designing an MVP and continues with next iterations which can be deployed one by one or all together at the end of the process. Companies which follow the Agile path smoothly integrate new versions and upgrades, so your team gets new features without stopping business processes.
Last but not least, the support stage is necessary for insurance companies which don’t have enough resources to maintain the launched system. Unless you work with in-house IT department, we highly suggest ordering support services from developers. It’s obvious as the team which created software can fix and upgrade it much easier than third-party companies. For insurance-related accounting apps, it’s required to work stable 24/7/365 to not fail with sensitive data processing or financial operations.
Insurance agency software market
The worldwide market of software for insurance agent is pretty large as it features different providers who cooperate with even more different brokers. To start with, you can check two charts which represent the largest insurance teams by revenue and by total assets. All data is provided by Statista.
Despite the presented info dates back in 2017, it lets us do some interesting conclusions in 2019 and 2020. For instance, 10 leaders by revenue are located in two countries: the USA and the UK. Moreover, the most profitable companies (4 out of 10 brands which have more than $4 billion revenue) divide equally as there are 2 American and 2 British corporations. By assets’ amount, three of the largest enterprises are originated in Germany, France, and China while the most successful US-based business sits on 4th position. Totally, there are 4 names from America and 3 ones from the United Kingdom.
As for the best accounting software for insurance agencies, you can find offers on various online aggregators. But the majority of current market leaders develop out-of-the-box insurance software solutions with poor customization degrees. If your company demands unique tools or you simply don’t want to overpay for too complicated platforms, look at developers of custom applications.
Insurance software vendors
Usually, it’s difficult for businesses to choose the most fitting application because they don’t know how to define their own needs. Without an exact understanding of requirements, it’s impossible to choose tech partners to launch applications.
Here, you can check the list of key questions to ask yourself before ordering a software package:
- Which policies your employees provide?
- Which payroll parts you want to be calculated?
- Should the application track internal tasks?
- How many bank accounts and partners you have to handle?
- How many currencies and countries you work with?
- Are there any API integrations in your existing software?
- Do you want to track customer interactions (e.g. integrate CRM)?
Just answer the aforementioned questions, write down your insights, and then look through vendors. Most likely, you will find that no one of them suits your wishes fully, so switch from traditional companies with prepackaged systems to custom teams. In this case, you can contact a company, send the list of your ideas, and relax because analysts and programmers will care about integrating the desired features.
Insurance agency management systems cost
As a small conclusion, we present the most anticipated part of the article related to prices! You should be wondered how much insurance accounting apps cost and how to balance desired features with moderate price. Let’s look is it possible at all.
Firstly, remember that there are two types of development pricings: hourly-based and quote-based. The first one is typical for freelancers who, obviously, want to earn money and don’t hurry to launch your project. The second model works fine for mature companies who guarantee the best time-to-market and care about quality, not about a few extra hundreds.
Further, there are two pricing approaches which depend on tech basement. Usually, stand-alone solutions come with one single payment while SaaS located in clouds feature monthly or annual fees. However, most of all quote-based projects require one-time payment even if the final product will be located outside your servers.
Finally, there are some key things which form the final cost of accounting software for insurance companies:
- Technologies used.
- Features integrated.
- Implementation complexity.
- Business size.
- Further maintenance.
As a result, there are several prices and you have to consider all of them to calculate the final budget properly. The simplest prepackaged spreadsheets cost less than $10 per month per user as they come on a subscription basis while advanced enterprise-grade ERP software tops at $200+ per month per user. Quote-based prices vary greatly from a few thousand to several million.
Best accounting software for insurance brokers
Let’s say, after this massive array of information, you start thinking about ordering an insurance software solution. If you have a fresh startup with unique approach to delivering policies via blockchain or manage a giant reputable enterprise with transcontinental interactions, it makes sense to get a custom application which will be tailored to your needs.
Our team of \developers and industry experts specialize in various spheres including finance and insurance. Precisely, we’ve successfully launched the project called BenefitFlex which represents the most innovative insurance strategy based on automated flexible features
BenefitFlex is a cloud-based wizard suitable for individual employees, departments, and even whole enterprises. It allows people to choose exact insurance features, add, replace or remove them freely, upgrade or downgrade packages, and expand the chosen plans for colleagues. Accounting software for insurance agency also provides for informative charts which are helpful for checking payroll and insurance efficiency.
As a result, the bespoke solution with unique features unavailable from traditional developers have cut expenses greatly. According to Salary.com, the average yearly salary of tax accountants varies from $55K to $100K. The similar range is typical for medium and large-sized insurance accounting solutions but, in this case, you will have to pay once.
Questions & answers
As a final part of the guide, we provide a small wrap-up of the most important info described above. Check six key questions and answers to them, so you will remember the major points and will be able to get the most suitable solution for your team.
What is a car insurance broker software?
It’s an application or applications for insurance companies which work in the P&C industry and issue policies for vehicles and their owners.
What is a life insurance broker software?
Similarly, it’s software for insurance agent from the L&H sector who provide policies for individuals or groups.
Which features are the most useful?
For agent & broker software (ABS), you want to get high protection of customers’ sensitive data, a certain level of automation to hand over minor tasks, policy and claims management, and all-inclusive data gathering which can nullify human errors. As well, don’t forget about basic accounting features.
How to start creating software?
On the one hand, you can learn programming languages and tools to develop applications independently. Otherwise, it’s possible to build an internal IT team which will create software for your company only. Finally, there are dozens of outsourcing companies.
Are custom solutions better than ready-made ones?
If you have decided to cooperate with the outer team, choose custom products. Surely, packaged solutions are good but they often come with unnecessary costly features and also often don’t suit your needs perfectly. Tailored projects are designed in accordance with each client’s wished, instead.
What is the best insurance broker software?
It’s the most difficult question as each company answers it differently. We are sure that our company can handle even the most exotic tasks and deliver the best accounting apps for insurance agents.
A final word
We hope that the listed info will be useful for you during the long process of choosing the best accounting software for insurance agency in 2020. Remember the key differences between various types of insurance software solutions and consider contacting our company to build mutually beneficial cooperation. Thus, our skilled researchers and developers will be able to analyze your business, design the most suitable insurance ERP software or other apps, launch an MVP, deploy the final version in time, and provide lifelong support. Look no more if you need professional creators of insurance software. Contact us now and we will deliver the first consultation for free!