Justin is the Manager of ReSource Pro’s Digital Insurance Lab
As more insurance agencies warm to the idea of implementing automation—acknowledging that it is a powerful tool to create more value for clients and employees—their next priority should be understanding how to make automation work successfully. To achieve the greatest return on investment, insurance agencies should consider four key steps.
- Standardize processes and tasks across the organization
Not every activity performed within an agency can, or should be, automated. Processes and tasks that are rule-based, repetitive, and do not change often are generally the best to automate. Because of this, working to increase standardization across your agency can open up a host of opportunities. And don’t forget about data! Ensuring the data your agency gathers is digitalized and structured not only benefits human employees but also enables the data to be better leveraged by automation tools.
- Optimize workflows through process design
Before an automation initiative begins, agencies should ensure their processes are already efficient. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking of automation as a magic bullet that will solve all the cost, accuracy, or turnaround issues associated with a particular task; in reality, it may serve as little more than a band-aid fix. Often times, the best application of automation is when it is used to make an already good process even better.
- Automate groups of tasks and integrate with people
Another key to making automation work effectively is to use it for groups of tasks, rather than individual ones. Think about automating sets of tasks to shift agency staff involvement to higher-value activities, such as account reviews, new business development, or advising clients on coverage endorsements. Integrating automation with people is also important. By inserting a human in the loop, you can ensure automation operates as intended and remains aligned with the most up to date procedures.
- Stabilize automation through audits, monitoring, and bug fixes
Agency automation is not a matter of “set-it-and-forget-it.” Process changes are inevitable, so it’s vital to conduct regular audits of automated tasks, monitor automation to ensure consistent performance, and fix bugs and glitches that arise. The bots that perform tasks in automated systems excel at following specific directions but are unable to adjust themselves to new processes. For example, a new carrier appointment or adding another insurance product can bring with it different tasks and administrative processes to integrate with existing automation, requiring new instructions for bots—and agency staff.
Automation in a people business
Insurance has long been considered a people-oriented business. As technology evolves, some agency staff may be skeptical or even fearful about the impact of automation on their roles. Agency leaders should put those misgivings to rest through clear communication of the strategy and training to use automation properly.
Manual processes are inherently time-consuming. When a portion of those can be consolidated through automation, agency employees gain time for other activities where their judgment and experience can deliver greater value.
To learn more about how automation can make a difference for your agency and your staff, visit our Digital page.