The insurance market requires a new customer-centric and digitally-driven approach. Prices keep going up as the volume of inquiries grows, and customer expectations rise by the hour. Millennials no longer trust traditional sales strategies and demand a more personalized approach. That’s why the importance of Customer Relationship Management and, in particular, insurance CRM software is rising greatly nowadays.
The mentioned applications reshape the industry. By the term «insurance brokerage CRM», we mean various web/desktop/mobile applications which boost the customers’ experience and help insurance companies to interact with their clients in more streamlined ways. For instance, CRM stores essential data related to already insured people or those who are looking for a new policy. Underwriters can easily check this info and deliver individual offers.
Today’s CRM for insurance companies can bring significant positive changes in the enterprises’ processes. As of 2014, the average ROI for companies that spend on CRM was $8.71 for every single dollar invested (and this number is increasing, as it was $5.60 in 2011). To find out more facts about software benefits, check this guide!
Before you start redesigning workflows, you need to discover existing challenges, valuable features, and must-have benefits of insurance client management software. We have prepared a detailed guide focused on understanding and selecting the best CRM for insurance agents. Feel free to navigate through this page and choose the section that most interests you.
CRM for insurance agents: Challenges and obstacles
First things first – we want to begin with the current state of the insurance market. This highly competitive environment features several noteworthy challenges which are important both for new business and experienced underwriters. Without knowing these pitfalls, you have little chance of becoming a successful brand with loyal customers.
Powerful tools integrated into paid or free CRM for insurance agents can change the game, however. If you are aware of issues and know solutions for them, you will be able to deliver exactly what clients want. Further, we want to focus on four the most threatening obstacles that stand in the way of any modern insurance company.
Constantly changing clients
With the maturing of Gen Y people, the marketing and investment climate is reshaping quickly. The current target audience of insurance brokers (youngsters and middle-aged persons with relatively stable health) doesn’t want to receive cold calls or in-person notifications from couriers. Instead, they actively use gadgets and the Internet to buy goods/services, including policies. Hence, vendors have to find new ways to process leads and turn them into customers.
The solution: even the simplest insurance broker database boosts sales if applied properly. Using CRM, underwriters are able to find clients online, design informative yet not-overloaded promo campaigns, and insert native offers unique to each user.
Earlier on, when the market was younger and there were a few insurance corporations, the entry barrier for new businesses was minor. Nowadays, more and more brands deliver their own insurance packages. Even banks list this service as an extra feature for customers! For fresh startups, it could be difficult to promote their offers because of the many competitors around, so it’s better to find a strategy or a tool that will distinguish you from the crowd.
The solution: reviews of insurance selling systems reveal that people are more likely to get a product or service from companies recommended by friends. As well, people tend to suggest brands with personalized approaches. Thus, CRM definitely can facilitate your entry.
Routine administrative tasks
Due to the nature of the insurance industry, underwriters have to handle a lot of paperwork, accounting processes, and administration. Employees must control regulative requirements, data protection, and money transactions, so they have less time and resources for interactions with clients. Things are even worse in large enterprises where staff from different branches has to cooperate and exchange data.
The solution: proper CRM for life insurance agents or applications for the P&C sector kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, software automates plain tasks like reporting and payroll. On the other hand, it facilitates “underwriter-client” communication.
The rise of AI
This last point isn’t an issue at all because it’s combined with great perspectives for the insurance industry. Imagine that you have two choices: to order a policy from a human operator who has a 50% chance of mistyping your personal info, or to get a service from a robotic system that is literally flawless when it comes to data processing. That’s it. Artificial intelligence handles routine tasks better than humans can.
The solution: companies that refuse to conduct research on machine learning are unlikely to become successful now. The most innovative insurance sales software utilizes AI to speed up processes and provide demanded services more efficiently.
CRM for life insurance agents: Major functionalities and benefits
Surely it’s impossible to choose a suitable CRM app without knowing how it works. This section uncovers the primary features of customer-centric models and tools which you get from the CRM package. As well, we list the key advantages of insurance client management software. It doesn’t matter whether you have a P&C business or L&H company – since both of the sectors rely on customers, CRM systems will be useful. Let’s discover exactly how you can benefit from implementing such programs.
Features of the best CRM for insurance agents
To start with, here are detailed functions of traditional insurance apps. Look through them, remember the most interesting ones, and compare these to your current needs:
- Organize databases. CRM unifies and stores all customer-related information: contacts, orders, transactions, previous interactions, etc. Policies are kept there, too.
- Manage leads. From first promo campaigns to the final conversion, CRM tracks incoming leads to make sure that your company will not lose any.
- Set tasks. Automated insurance CRM software organizes the whole sales process and manages it through dashboards. In real time, software sets tasks and updates them.
- Issue reports. Continuing the idea of automation, apps generate accurate reports without any human errors. Thus, you can get needful info on time.
- Track emails. Usually delivered as an add-on, this module combines tasking, reporting, and analyzing features related to your email campaigns.
- Handle SMM. Also provided as an extra tool, this one manages social media company’s profiles. It gathers data about likes, comments, reactions, and orders.
- Go mobile. Being the second layer for modern insurance commission software, mobile apps expand the employees’ and users’ experience to smartphones and tablets.
Remember about unobvious catch which a lot of ready-made CRM vendors use. While the insurance industry has its time-proven best practices – a set of methods and strategies widely popular among related companies. For instance, you can find multiple systems with tasking and reporting modules, comprehensive dashboards, and SMM tools. The thing is, these elements are static and irreplaceable so you have to pay for them even if you don’t need them.
In this case, it would be better to look at bespoke CRM examples. Development teams like ours can build a system from scratch and include only the required features.
Learn about 6 steps to build a custom CRM app
Key CRM benefits you can get
Frankly speaking, core CRM advantages are similar for every industry. Software boosts sales, simplifies paperwork, automates minor duties, and generally makes the connection between vendors and clients more stable.
However, there are a few industry-specific benefits that are unique for health insurance CRM. Here they are:
The personalized policy offers. Basing their design on gathered data about leads and existing insured customers, underwriters are able to develop tailored offers. Plus, they can target ads more efficiently to generate more leads.
Better client’ engagement. When people gain control over their insurance packages, they tend to become more loyal. The best CRM apps for life insurance agents create profiles open for customers, so they can easily manage your offers.
Comprehensive insured persons’ profiles. Simultaneously, thanks to high-end data management, CRM apps create profiles visible for staff only. Through them, your workers can design lifestyle portraits with regularly updated data.
Advanced predictions. Finally, the mentioned databases and profiles allow AI to predict what clients will need in the future. Hence, you can build mailing campaigns and ads with these forecasts in mind.
It’s clear that you should look for these strengths when choosing the development team for your company. Be sure that you understand the current business goals, so later you will not be disappointed by the results. Often, entrepreneurs waste tons of money on costly insurance client management software when they even don’t really need CRM. So, if you think that the described benefits are not extremely valuable for the brand at this moment, wait and conduct the extra analysis.
Otherwise, if you are sure that this software will boost core processes, choose developers wisely. Start with free insurance CRM to learn how it works. Later, gather info about leading developers, compare them, and select the best one. As a rule, teams which create bespoke products are more flexible, while out-of-the-box platforms rarely meet the unique needs of their clients. Let’s dive into this topic more.
Insurance brokerage CRM: Choose and integrate
To get the most from the implemented software, it’s highly suggested that the user plan everything well. Some newcomers decide to buy the most popular prepackaged CRM without extra research; often these projects fail to achieve set goals. To be precise, the portion of failure is from 18% to 69% for the CRM market, according to CIO. The upper number is extremely high because a lot of companies neglect the importance of a comprehensive analysis of business needs, integration plans, and providers of solutions.
There are six major factors of successful deployment. The most valuable one is related to employees involved in the implementation stage, while external support and tech quality are important too. Further, we will look at superheroes that can turn the installation of CRM for insurance companies into a simple and enjoyable journey. But now, let’s start with another essential point – a step-by-step guide on CRM software development life cycle (SDLC).
The six-step process to follow when developing an insurance CRM software
The following scheme isn’t universally beneficial, as insurance teams are different. For one thing, it’s unnecessary to look for external IT experts because they have their own tech departments. Others don’t plan to train employees who are already qualified in using the chosen CRM. Nevertheless, this structure is nice for understanding the basic stages and challenges with which the majority of underwriters have to deal.
Step 1 – Goals setting
Any elaborate work begins with an understanding of your company’s tasks and goals; this will influence further steps and choices. CRM implementation is a complicated project, so you want to organize a brainstorming meeting with representatives of core departments: accountants, HRs, salesmen, etc. Ask them to define one or two the most essential objectives of their branch, then collect ideas and create an overall list of goals. Otherwise, this step can be conducted by leading managers who develop the brand’s market strategy.
By basing your decision on these objectives, you will be able to choose the best insurance broker database and add more necessary modules during the next stages.
Step 2 – Signing contracts and agreeing to terms
Once you have identified desires, appointed responsible managers, and found the development team of your dreams, don’t forget to approve working terms and conditions. They provide for the parties’ obligations, costs, additional support, modifications, etc. For example, a lot of free CRM for insurance agents are open source, so in-house IT staff can upgrade them independently. The majority of ready-made solutions from top-rated providers are fully proprietary. This means you must pay extra fees to get updates.
On the other hand, bespoke systems often come with highly flexible contracts. Developers are open to discussion and ready to change best practices to meet unique demands. In cooperation with custom teams, you can clearly define different expenses, include them in the final contract, and then be at peace with the results.
Step 3 – Project management
As we have mentioned, CRM deployment is quite difficult. This fact increases the importance of managerial teams that handle organizational tasks. Commonly, leading managers are responsible for:
- Creating working plans, including exact terms and conditions of cooperation with developers, timelines, costs, rights and obligations.
- Tracking schedules, both minor and global ones. This point includes daily gatherings and milestones of the entire implementation.
- Maintaining budgets, which consist of multiple costs: the initial price of software, extra modules and services, fees (if any), operating and expenses.
- Tasks estimations, which are crucial for budgets. Managers have to consider both time and money aspects to estimate tasks properly.
- Productivity measurement based on statistics and metrics, which show how the process is going. This evaluation will help teams to estimate projects similar to the ongoing one, i.e. to schedule the delivery time and costs more accurately.
Good CRM vendors either provide their own managers for the transition period or closely cooperate with in-house specialists. It’s crucial to solve issues quickly to avoid productivity dumps. You can discuss the ongoing process online or in-person on weekly meetings.
Step 4 – Data migration
Data is the essence of all CRM platforms. Normally, when companies decide to deploy such an application they have to transfer data from legacy systems. During the migration stage, you should identify core data packages, cleanse them, use appropriate transfer tools, and test systems to find and fix issues.
As for insurance commission software, the most valuable information is built around policies and the personal details of clients. Find this data primarily, validate it, and move to new storages. Ideally, CRM vendors provide automated migration tools so your employees aren’t overloaded with manual checking and transferring.
Step 5 – Deploying MVP
It seems that after all preparation measures are finished, it’s time to launch the final version of CRM. However, in our company we prefer the Agile strategy, which provides for MVP creation and deployment first and foremost.
Put simply, MVP is a very basic version of the final product, it comes with only the most necessary features . Such an application is cheaper than the fully-functional alternative, so our clients can install it without huge expenses. By testing MVP in real market conditions, insurance agents can check how the software works – which features are also required and which are not as efficient as they should be.
Once customers are happy with MVP, we start the next iteration. The overall amount is literally unlimited as we can upgrade CRM regularly.
Step 6 – Updating and maintenance
Last, don’t forget about post-launch challenges. Constantly changing markets require businesses to evolve their approaches and software quickly. Health insurance CRM is a part of this evolution, too. You should foresee directions in which the company will develop itself so authors of software will be able to update it optimally. Here are a few brief insights on how support teams maintain apps:
- Add new functions
- Remove legacy modules
- Upgrade the structure
- Expand the clients’ databases
- Provide support for employees
- Fix bugs
If you are planning to face serious tech challenges or want to have a lifelong help, you’d better partner with outsourcers which deliver custom CRM systems. Simply specify that you will need a dedicated support team.
Members of the CRM development team
Staff is everything. Qualified employees can lift the company up to heaven, while not-as-skilled workers can destroy even the most elaborate plan. By hiring in-house experts or outsourcing managerial tasks to external teams, you can simplify the integration of CRM and reduce potential expenses. It’s recommended to have six superheroes:
- A leader. Oversees core processes and utilizes MVP to show his/her personal commitment to the project. Possible roles: CEO or managing director.
- A fan. Knows a lot about CRM advantages and tries to convince everybody that these applications are great. Possible role: project manager.
- A skeptic. Hates unnecessary changes and focuses on the implementation plan’s weaknesses or CRM drawbacks. Possible role: sales manager.
- A hater. Unlike a skeptic, he or she focuses on the overall fallacy of the idea to find the least noticeable pitfalls. Possible role: sales manager.
- An IT geek. Loves tech stuff and can help in the case of software issues, maintenance challenges, and questions. Possible role: a member of the IT department.
- A tester. Works with CRM, sets various tasks, tests stability and functionality, pushes all buttons and clicks all links. Possible role: QA engineer.
It’s OK if you share responsibilities between in-company specialists and the vendor’s representatives. For example, CRM providers can appoint IT managers and testers while you find fans and skeptics in your own team. More importantly, they have to work together and understand each other perfectly.
Good health insurance CRM and where to find it
Basically, CRM for insurance agents falls into one of two categories:
These applications are based on basic modules such as interaction trackers, contacts’ catalogs, reporting tools, etc. Usually, they come as packages with unchangeable functions, so you can find that some features are excessive while others are missing.
This software is fully customizable. Developers create each CRM for insurance agents from scratch by inserting only desired modules, including enterprise-grade tools, marketing and engagement solutions, and so on. By ordering a bespoke system, clients save time and money.
In the next section, we will look at custom interfaces in detail. For now, remember that both software types are viable if they meet the business objectives. Buy a ready-made product, and you will get access to best practices with the most popular modules. However, reviews of insurance selling systems claim that custom solutions are more profitable in the long run. Thus, we are going to focus on them now.
Custom insurance CRM software
Let’s begin with an analogy. Creating software is like building a house. Some companies prefer to design a fancy country house while others think high and project a skyscraper. It’s the same thing with CRM systems because some insurers order generic applications and others contact developers to launch comprehensive systems. Even if you don’t need a huge all-in-one solution right now, it’s easier to design the inner structure for further expansion. Similarly, builders project two or three floors even when they begin with the first one only.
Ready-made systems lack these global plans. But with bespoke analogs, you can focus both on current and future business goals. Tailor-made insurance client management software has several undeniable strengths:
- Total customization with any desired feature.
- Options for further growth with data structures like ACORD schemes.
- Lifelong support for employees and applications.
- Personalized prices without hidden fees.
Our company develops fully tailored CRM applications for various businesses, including those involved in the insurance sector. We handle the entire process, which begins with discussions about your wishes and initial business analysis. Then, we develop MVP to highlight basic functions, continue with several iterations, deploy the final version of the product, and provide for further support. For our clients, we offer full-service packages that include implementation/data migration, staff training, upgrading, customer support, and tech maintenance.
To check out experience in the insurance industry, look at InsuBiz – the advanced solution designed for streamlining business processes of the given underwriter. As a result, we have launched the system with tools for managing claims, policies, and secondary documents, controlling budgets, as well as storing, editing, and searching for clients’ info. Using various tech environments from Visual Studio to Bootstrap to WebStorm, a team of 10 experts handled the full-stack development.
Questions & answers
To highlight the most important insights of this rather comprehensive guide, we have gathered them together and formed a FAQ section. Feel free to check it, bookmark key points, and ask us about any unclear parts.
What does CRM for insurance companies mean?
This term covers software applications that are designed for the needs of insurers. They provide for policy management, customer databases, tasking, and reporting modules.
Which insurance sales software types exist?
There are several categories. These systems can be custom or ready-made, hosted or cloud-based, proprietary or open source. There are also free insurance CRM apps and paid ones.
Are free insurance CRM solutions better than paid?
They are good because you pay nothing for a potentially useful product. However, considering operating and training expenses, sometimes it’s more profitable to get a customized app with full maintenance.
What are the differences between prepackaged and bespoke CRM?
Apps of the first type come with predefined modules, while with the second category examples can be changed according to your business goals.
Why do businesses need insurance client database apps?
Overall, you want to implement such a system to enhance interaction with clients, optimize policies-related data processing, and get rid of boring manual tasks.
Find the best CRM for insurance agents
We have left the final subject to dedicate it to the very process of choosing developers and products. Let’s sum it up. There are dozens of software vendors that sell various packages with predefined features, preferences, and prices. Each company may choose its own best CRM for insurance agents based on the business’s needs, goals, and specifications. However, all of the leading providers have certain disadvantages like redundant or insufficient functionality, high cost, hidden losses, etc.
This means it’s better to order a custom insurance CRM software if you have even a few unusual tasks in your core processes. For underwriters, these objectives relate to processing personal data, picking up the best set of services for each person or group, protecting the information, and handling transactions. In our company, we create only completely-tailored CRM applications for different industries, including the insurance sector. Take a look at the finished projects, read about the team, and understand our vision. We will be happy to work with you.