By R. Christopher Haines, Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer

On the Inside Looking Out

Things have really changed in insurance technology over the years. Not all that long ago, insurance systems were almost completely internal-facing. They were used only by company personnel. There were no portals, no apps, and no third-party integrations. Policies, payments, and claims weren’t processed in real time. If there were systems issues, those outside of the organization rarely knew. Those days are gone.

Portals and mobile apps face out, making it apparent to agents and policyholders when your systems are acting up. They add to the complexity and the footprint of your systems. They require specifications to be written before they’re implemented. They have to work as intended when they’re delivered. And they have to continue to work through every release and upgrade.

It’s naïve to think these portals and apps will just continue to work, even as your systems evolve and are reconfigured and integrated with other systems and data sources. Your prospects can quote their own policies, which requires a call out to another system to verify their addresses, a call out to another system to verify their driving records, their loss histories, their credit scores, their VINs, and on and on. If any of those integrations fail, the quote blows up and your prospects walk away. Would you knowingly risk that?

In contemporary marketing, content is king. In contemporary insurance selling, the consumer is king — and queen. One failure to look beyond your four walls to read your prospects’ needs, and you lose opportunity. One wrong rate, and you lose money. One wrong qualifying question on your portal, and you lose profitability. One errant comma or one extra zero on a coverage limit, and you lose credibility, along with opportunity, money, and profitability. That’s a tough situation and a tough set of problems to overcome.

What should you do? Look out. No. Really. Face outward. Many of today’s senior insurance executives came up through the ranks during times in which systems could afford to face inward, to be entirely self-serving. No one can afford that anymore. If you’re not looking out to your consumers, you’re not looking out for your business.

To make it easier, let a trusted service partner handle the integrations and configurations on which your outward-facing business will depend. Your policyholders will thank you, especially the new ones.