For small, independent insurance agencies, staying competitive means investing in technology, including CRM systems. It wasn’t forever so but industry pressures are forcing their hand as CRM systems increasingly are being viewed as “must-have” as insurers struggle to cope with narrowing margins, particularly in a retail insurance market that has become more commoditized over the last decade.

Smaller insurance agents, particularly, are in a poor place at the moment due to their lack of leverage to talk with large carriers, yet at the same time they also miss the financial resources to invest in IT upgrades. Tackling inefficiencies within the organization are becoming a priority. Agencies are focusing on their connections with carriers, accounting procedures and the generation of new business. CRM can play a big role in helping to automate this.

Insurance agents finally are waking up to the possibilities obtainable by efficient CRM platforms, especially as they can free up salespeople to focus on clients.

But in the insurance sector, there is a need for considerably further end-to-end integration between the agency and the carrier, especially as carriers are shouldering the risks of the insured. Still missing are higher levels of client-to-carrier reporting and analysis that a number of CRM systems simply are not equipped to provide.

Yet, the vast majority of independent agents still do not use a CRM system, even as CRM is starting to mark the difference between the haves and the have-nots in this market as it can manage internal sales workflows while delivering insights into new opportunities and at the same time providing more efficient management of the overall sales process.

Key Takeaways:

  • Insurance agents and carriers exist in a state of constant tension, particularly as carriers view agents as independent businesses that are both difficult to control and prone to passing on higher costs and commission rates.
  • Smaller agencies still have a vital role to play in providing a critical interface with end clients.
  • This is especially true as end clients continue to prefer a higher level of personal service, and categorically reject replacing their insurance relationship with faceless technology.