Is your agency optimizing its automation?

Why turning on more capabilities can bring significant benefits

By Jim Rogers | Assistant Vice President, Agency Automation/Transformation Office, The Hartford

Automation offers insurance agents numerous benefits in serving customers and growing their books of business, but not all agents are taking full advantage of this option. That is unfortunate, because agency automation is a powerful tool to improve productivity and meet insureds' rising service expectations.

Here are just a few of the benefits agents can gain when they optimize their use of automation with an insurance carrier partner:

  • Lower operating costs
  • Elimination of need to re-key data
  • Time savings for each producer and customer service representative
  • Real-time access to customer data such as billing and claims

Taken together, these elements add up to big savings of time and expense. They are not trivial items when it comes to an agency's operating expenses or a CSR's time. The Hartford has found, for example, that automating policy downloads can save up to 64 minutes per day for each agency's CSR. Imagine not having to hunt for and chase down policy data to meet an insured's service needs. During the course of a single workday, that simple step can free up CSRs and producers to focus on new business opportunities and build stronger customer relationships.

Turning on automation

We constantly talk with our appointed agents to understand their pain points and the business objectives they're trying to achieve. We recognize the importance of supporting agencies through their existing management systems, and The Hartford's automation capabilities across interact seamlessly with 26 different AMS — and counting.

Our approach to agency automation involves two distinctive areas of focus, which we believe are critical to our agents' success. The first is data quality. We re-certify transactions and check to see which version of AMS our agents are using, and our automation platform dynamically adjusts through version detection as agents upgrade their systems. A focus on ensuring data quality means our agents don't need heroic effort to make sure their systems align with ours. The second focus area is speed. For example, The Hartford can quote and issue policies for small-commercial insureds in a matter of minutes, and we send policy downloads eight times each day. Whenever possible, we try to start and finish transactions within the same day. Speed in transactions helps agents eliminate the need to create diary entries or task assignments, such as following up in a number of days.

To make it easier for agents to turn on automation capabilities with The Hartford, we've digitized the entire experience. When an agent logs into our portal, a dashboard shows a status bar along with the capabilities agents have activated and those they aren't yet using, for each producer. This visualization lets agents quickly see how optimized they are on automation. And we also offer push notifications so that agents can stay informed about their insureds activity.

Transparency strengthens service

Another way The Hartford helps our agents through automation is by providing a greater transparency in our policy audit process. Premium audits are conducted annually on workers compensation policies, but sometimes the correct contact information is missing for the insured to confirm payroll changes and other data for the coverage period. When we can't reach the insured in this situation, we create an estimated audit and notify the agent before the final audit processes.

Our online audit capabilities can tell agents where their insureds are in the audit process. By shifting our communications and adding transparency to policy audits, we can put the agent in a proactive position, which results in a much better experience for both agent and insured.

For more information about The Hartford's agency automation tools and digital service resources, please visit: Small Business Insurance Digital Service Resources | The Hartford.

Jim Rogers[23].png 

Jim Rogers is Assistant Vice President of The Hartford's Agency Automation/Transformation Office. His responsibilities include strategy and execution of The Hartford's agency automation capabilities. During his more than 30-year career, he has worked as a licensed insurance agent, in product development for agency management systems, and held various business and technology leadership roles with insurance companies.

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