Most agencies have realized that today’s consumers are becoming more mobile, but how can agents adapt with the many antiquated, paper-excessive processes that are predominant in most offices? Carriers are working to assist in the mobile evolution by providing agency access on mobile devices, and this is quite helpful.
Agents encounter clients at all hours, and outside of the office, so they need to be able to access customer information on the go. A group of agents, carriers and vendors are working together through the Agents Council for Technology’s (ACT) Mobile Strategies Work Group to develop recommendations for the industry to use to move forward and improve mobile access to client data through the agency management system interfacing to the carrier.
ACT is working to educate agents on available tools such as using tablets for making proposals and reviewing contracts and providing risk management reviews. Other enhancements are coming through the use of voice recognition devices and Web communications for exchange pictures and documents between the agent-carrier partners. Carriers can assist in this effort by providing this type of technology and education for their agents.
Agents are exploring additional methods to provide consumers with easy-to-use interfaces through social media platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube, QR codes and smartphone apps. We need to develop ways for clients to stay in contact with their agent throughout the entire policy lifecycle and not just at the time of a claim. The mobile world enables agents and consumer to interact and has great potential for agent and carrier interactions.
ACT’s wish is that agents and carriers work together to develop applications and interfaces in the mobile device world, so that we avoid an abundance of different platforms being used, that will be incapable of communicating with each other, and then needing yet another system developed to translate all of the various platforms. We should all learn from our past mistakes and work together up front.
It is clearly in our industry’s best interest to provide a united front for consumers so they have mobile access for policy information, payments and servicing, and the ability to download required forms or documentation of coverage. The easier we are to deal with, the more opportunities we will have to make sales and help today’s and tomorrow’s consumer.
The Mobile Strategies Work Group has published an industry White Paper with a framework to capitalize on the important capabilities of mobile devices including internet connectivity, GPS, camera, QR code and social media capabilities. Please check it out here.
Angelyn Treutel is President of Southgroup Insurance and the chair of the IIABA Agents Council for Technology and ASCnet's Industry Solutions Committee.
Readers are encouraged to respond to Angelyn by using the “Add Your Comments” box below. She can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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