EZLynx Roadmap for 2019

2018 was a year of growth for EZLynx and especially for our agencies! Agencies using EZLynx have on average enjoyed substantial year-over-year increases in customers, policies, and premiums. While agents saw growth in all areas, this trend was especially pronounced for commercial lines. We take pride as a partner in your success and want to continue to provide the tools you need to thrive and grow each year.

We all work towards Nag’s vision of a single platform customer lifecycle solution built on the pillars of productivity, serviceability, profitability and scalability for your agency. We believe that scalability is achieved by aligning the right people, processes, and technology to overcome plateaus that inhibit growth. We want to thank our customers who also believe in and support our vision as we strive to improve our industry.

We faced challenges with our own scalability this year, which is why we made the difficult decision to hold off on some important new features while we focused on the system architecture and stability of the platform. For many years, EZLynx was known in the industry for its reliability, so we look forward to earning back your trust in that area. To continue our growth, we’ve put the people, processes, and technology in place to continue delivering innovative solutions to support your business while we grow ours. The way we see it, working as a trusted technology partner with your best interest in mind is the only way we both win.

Looking Back at 2018

EZLynx introduced exciting products and a series of targeted features that significantly impact the amount of time agencies spend on non-revenue generating activities. Features such as bulk document enhancements, updates to EZLynx for Outlook, improved download matching, additional LOB support, eSignature custom fields, MSB residential pre-fill with reconstruction cost valuation, and a completely new commission import workflow are all updates that were aimed at reducing man-hours spent on these necessary activities. The team is testing several other productivity features including an updated forms workflow, which saves time generating the application documents and will be available for general release early 2019!

We officially introduced Automation Center this summer to set the foundation for the future of our platform. Automation Center helps agencies scale by handling many of the repetitive tasks that consume resources and keep you from focusing on high-value activities. This type of automation also encourages everyone to adhere to standard workflows and promotes best practices. It is the foundation for helping you increase productivity and serviceability without adding staff. We will continue to enhance the automation features in 2019 with support for multi-step and conditional workflows.

One of the most exciting products designed to help agencies scale while increasing profitability is our Agency Insights™ for Sales Center. This feature automatically generates potential prospects from your quote data and book of business, giving you the information needed to recapture, win, and cross-sell opportunities before the X-Date. This is the type of feature that pushes the boundaries on what a management system should do for an agency.

Looking Forward in 2019

We want to provide commercial lines sales and service the same innovation and productivity gains that EZLynx brought to personal lines. We’ve set an ambitious roadmap for 2019 with a few surprises along the way! The roadmap focuses on the business problems that commercial agents have faced for years in the areas of submission management, certificate distribution, and ongoing servicing.

At AgentLynx 2018, we showed off a sneak peek of EZLynx 5, the next generation of the EZLynx platform, and we are excited to announce that it will be available later this year! EZLynx 5 is designed to move us toward our vision of a smart Rating Engine and Agency Management System that helps drive an agency through automation and improved consistency, functionality, and usability.

Recently we’ve noticed an increase in the consolidation of independent agencies under MAPs, or Market Access Providers. In late 2018, we started building EZLynx for MAPs, a product designed to help these organizations overcome common plateaus, scale quickly, and increase the efficiency of their operations. Our initial roadmap addresses member management, carrier management, and commissions processing.

As a company, we push ourselves to never settle and look for opportunities to affect positive change in the insurance industry. Even as the leader in personal lines rating, we believe there is room for improvement. This year we are thrilled to show some love for the EZLynx Rating Engine with the goal of improving speed and accuracy to help you accomplish more, faster!

AgentLynx 2019

A special thank you to everyone who joined us for AgentLynx last year in San Diego. We truly enjoyed getting to meet everyone and sharing our passion for new technology. With every AgentLynx we hope to inspire attendees to leverage EZLynx to drive productivity, serviceability, scalability, and profitability in their own agencies.

Our user conference is a unique opportunity for you to learn how to maximize your potential with EZLynx and to influence the direction of the product for the future. Several of the product enhancements of 2018 were a direct result of feedback from the conference! We are already working toward new surprises for AgentLynx 2019. We look forward to seeing you all in Fort Worth, Texas on October 20-23rd.

We are excited for the new year and the opportunities it brings to continue our journey as your technology partner!


Increase the Value of Your Agency, Part 2

Increase the Value of your AgencyThe ability to grow and add value to an agency is only useful in the long run if it is sustainable.  Maintaining value requires taking a deeper look at some of the important KPIs that affect the overall health of an agency. EZLynx Agency Pulse puts these metrics and more at your fingertips each month for a quick agency check-up. We’ll look at three proven indicators that we have seen as most important to sustained stability in an independent insurance agency.

1. Balancing revenue segments – Revenue is vital to any business and diversifying these segments helps provide long-term stability. As we know, personal lines are becoming ever more competitive and frequently see a high level of churn. Balancing this out by increasing the segment of commercial policies and other segments helps provide long-term revenue stability. Most personal lines agencies should aim for a PL/CL ratio around 60:40 for ideal revenue segmentation.

2. Carrier Distribution – The fluctuations of carrier rates are common place. Many producers go with a gut feeling about which carriers are hot at any given time. The truth is that they all will eventually have rate increases and decreases. Like investing in the stock market, the best way to manage risk is to diversify your assets. Managing the percent premium volume with each of your carriers will provide greater long-term revenue sustainability. Try aiming for a distribution with no more than 20 to 25 percent of your premium volume with any one carrier.

3. Revenue Per Customer – This is an interesting metric because, financially speaking, increasing this average is a good thing; however, if you are depending on one or two large accounts to bring it up, it can be fiscally risky. To mitigate these two alternatives, focus on balancing this with the policies per customer indicator mentioned previously. Our current customers average 1.6 policies per customer, and captive agents achieve upwards of 5. In a typical independent agency, it is not unreasonable to aim for a policy per customer number at three or above. Higher numbers correlate to a stable balance of revenue among your customers and an increase in the average customer life-time value to the agency.

Another major factor in keeping these metrics stable is to establish process and routines. According to leading neuroscientists, more than 40 percent of what we do in life and business is based on habits2. Creating specific procedural habits in your agency helps maintain consistency and efficiency. Setting specific processes for managing new business, cross selling mono-line policies, working renewals, handling policy change requests, etc. can make a huge impact in the sustained growth of an agency.  Each customer interaction provides an opportunity to build customer loyalty and reinforce the agency’s unique value proposition. Setting process expectations for producers and CSRs in your agency will help this to become second nature and keep your staff from missing opportunities to reinforce the relationship with each customer.

EZLynx offers turn-key business solutions to help any agency grow reach its goals like the Agency Pulse, which puts agency KPIs at your fingertips.  EZLynx offers products to help make your job easier, so you can get back to what really matters!

(2015). 2014 insurance agency transaction multiples. The Deal Maker’s Dialogue, 6(2).


Increase the Value of Your Agency, Part 1

Increase the Value of your AgencyAn agency’s value can be an ambiguous figure often inflated in the minds of agency owners. It is frequently overlooked as long as book size is growing. Owners who are not planning to sell usually have number in their heads, but many neglect to take the time to delve into the actual valuation. However, its value goes beyond getting a good sale price. The agency valuation can not only be used to secure financing for sudden opportunities, but, more importantly, it provides a roadmap for strategic planning and growth. Understanding an agency’s value can identify potential risks and vulnerabilities that could change its worth over time.

The first step to increasing an agency’s value is understanding its current value. A variety of factors are taken into account for establishing value including growth, profitability, and financial security. MarshBerry, an M&A advisory firm, reported that in 2014 the average Base Purchase Price increased to 7.14 times EBITDA with a range from 5.9 to 7.81. EBITDA is a widely accepted measure of profits which stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. By removing operating expenses from the revenue and excluding the administrative expenses, it provides an accurate picture of how an agency is performing. Whether you utilize retained commissions or agency earnings (EBITDA) as the base, the same principles for increasing value will apply.

Average Value = 7.14 x EBITDA

EBITDA = Revenue – Expenses (excluding interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization)

If you can remember back to your basic algebra, you’ll know that to increase the value you would need to increase the EBITDA base by either increasing revenue or decreasing expenses.

Most companies find it extremely difficult to cut operating expenses, so the only other option is to increase revenue. As we all know, the two biggest factors that contribute to revenue in an insurance agency are growth from new business and reoccurring revenue from retaining customers. Here are 3 proven ways to increase your base and, more importantly, sustain that increase.

  1. New Business Growth – The need for growth in the agency, as well as with each carrier, is well known. Many agencies focus on acquiring new business as a way to drive value, but neglect to account for the cost of acquisition for each new customer. Leveraging cost effective alternatives to traditional marketing, such as email or social media, is one way to reduce expenses without risking additional new business opportunities.
  1. Agency Retention – One of the quickest ways to increase the value of EBITDA is through increasing agency retention. Reoccurring business doesn’t need to take into account acquisition costs, so the revenue drops directly to the bottom line for an agency. Even a one to two point increase across the agency as a whole can have significant ramifications on the overall value. As an independent agency, you provide significant value in the choices of carriers that you represent. Frequently, this value is not fully communicated to the insured who goes shopping at renewal rather than providing you the opportunity to save the business. Communicating with every insured at renewal provides an agency a way to discuss any changes fully manage the renewal conversation.
  1. Policies Per Customer – Adopting a specific agency wide strategy for cross selling monoline customers works to both increase your retention and the value. It is common knowledge that the number of policies per customer directly correlates with the length of time the customer remains with your agency. Utilizing email marketing to educate monoline customers on the benefits of having both home and auto policies written with the same carrier can make a large impact.

1. (2015). 2014 insurance agency transaction multiples. The Deal Maker’s Dialogue, 6(2).
2. Duhigg, Charles. (2012). The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. New York: Random House.


Agency Profile: Phil Klein Insurance Group

Phil Klein Insurance GroupPhil Klein Insurance Group opened in Bloomfield Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, during the 2008 recession. Even in an area hardest hit by the economic downturn and unemployment, Phil Klein has managed to grow his book of business to $3.5 million in six years. He accomplished this feat through hard work, dedication, and utilizing EZLynx technology to improve the customer service and productivity of his agency.

Klein learned the business as a captive agent, but three years later he decided to open Phil Klein Insurance Group as an independent insurance agency. Through a digital strategy, streamlined agency processes, and extensive use of EZLynx, Klein built his agency during a challenging economic time.

“I was using two different systems; EZLynx for rating and another vendor for management, but I was only using 30% of the features available in my management system,” explains Klein. Klein realized he was paying for a costly management system with features his agency never used, and his staff was tied-up in expensive, time-consuming training, which took resources away from new business and customer service.

In 2013, Klein made the switch to EZLynx Management System. “I found that it gave me not only a better management system but also a better value for my agency’s dollar,” he explains. “EZLynx gives us the ability to use one system that is easy to use, performs all functions, and is a true Internet-based system.”

This gave Klein the freedom to focus on growing his business rather than just running the system. “What sets it apart from other management systems is its ability to incorporate cutting edge technology in a management system with an understanding of the direction in which technology is taking the 21st century agency,” Klein adds.

He uses the integrated bulk messaging tool to promote new products and for cross-sell campaigns. His staff can quickly run the day-to-day activities and be proactive in helping current customers, especially during renewals.

The integrated management system frees Klein to focus more of his time on growing and retaining business. Knowing that social media is a popular method of communication, Klein utilizes a digital marketing strategy focused on Facebook to target leads in his area. “We have seen a dramatic rise in the amount of quotes being submitted through the Consumer Quoting Facebook App and it has led to numerous sales,” says Klein.

To increase customer service and retention, Klein uses the consumer facing EZLynx Client Center. “Many of my clients have already been using it and the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Klein. “Clients love the fact that they have 24/7 access to their insurance information.” He had used a similar product through his previous management system, but found that it was challenging for the customers to use.

For Klein, the move to a digital focus did not just apply to communicating with his consumers, but pertained to his staff, too. “Since it is a truly Internet-based system, you can be anywhere in the world and on any type of device and have complete access to your virtual agency. All you need is an Internet connection,” Klein explained.

With about 70 percent of his business in personal lines, Klein and his staff interact with many customers in the local community. Having access to the agency’s full information in the cloud from anywhere with an Internet connection is just another way Klein offers his customers that personal touch that only an independent agent can provide.

At a challenging time, Klein laid a solid foundation for his agency, streamlined his processes, and provides online customer service for the modern insurance consumer. “EZLynx gives my agency the ability to interact with my clients through multiple lines of communication; phone, email, text message, or social media. It gives me the ability to stay in contact with my clients and promote new products and features through bulk campaigns. It also serves as an invaluable tool for my agents; it makes their job easier and allows them to be more organized which in turn increases productivity and gives me a great recruiting tool. EZLynx is the most highly-advanced management system on the market.” – Phil Klein (Personal Interview, 2014)

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