Introducing EZLynx Retention Center

A New Era in Policy Renewal Management

In the EZLynx Roadmap for 2015, I dropped a hint about a big new product announcement coming later this year. Well, here it is…

I would like to announce the release of a ground breaking product called EZLynx Retention Center for personal lines renewal management, available as an add-on to EZLynx Management System customers only. We are extremely proud of this product because it has taken nearly 24 months of hard work to get from conception to release, and it’s as revolutionary as our original real-time rating tool!

EZLynx strongly believes that personal lines is under direct attack from other industries. One way for small agencies to combat this challenge is to be smart about how you service policies and manage renewals. EZLynx Retention Center addresses the daunting task of renewal management. With Retention Center, you no longer wait for your customer to call and complain about rate hikes at renewal. Instead, our system will identify on a daily basis those customers that you are most at risk of losing so that you can focus your efforts in the right place. As part of our twelve month beta program, several agencies used EZLynx Retention Center and, not surprisingly, noticed a huge increase in retention!

I want to spend some time impressing upon you the importance of retention. I have always been surprised during any one-on-one conversation with agents on the question of what their agency retention rate is. Agents are never sure of what their exact agency retention numbers are, but they always think it’s good. We have identified a solid and obtainable agency retention rate as being in the 90-95% range. However, you may be surprised to hear that the average retention rate across all EZLynx agencies was only around 75%.

Three years ago we made it one of our goals to attack this problem head-on for our customers. As a first step, we started delivering a monthly email report called EZLynx Agency Pulse for all EZLynx Management System customers. In addition to agency retention numbers, Agency Pulse has several key agency performance metrics that we believe every agency owner should be using as a guide to manage their business. As our second step, EZLynx Retention Center removes the drudgery of trying to manually manage your renewals.

During our beta testing, we worked with 5 large agencies to gauge just what kind of results we could see with this tool. To our delight, and to that of our beta agencies, we found that with very little effort agents were able to hit our 90-95% retention target within 3 months! Think about that…

For a book size of $10M, that’s at least $100,000 in additional annual revenue!

We believe that EZLynx Retention Center is a powerful tool that can help your business become more profitable. We have several exciting tools in development that continue our trend of finding innovative ways to help independent agents manage their top and bottom line.

Please remember that in order to enjoy the benefits of our complete customer lifecycle solution, the first step is to switch to EZLynx Management System!


Supercharge Your Digital Marketing With New Designs and Sample Content in EZLynx Marketing Campaigns

This year will see several major enhancements to our bulk and drip email marketing campaign tools as we address some of the feedback we have received on how to make these tools more useful for your agency.  We are excited to announce that the first of these enhancements is now available, making the creating of new bulk email templates easier than ever!

One of the concerns we frequently heard from agents is that they don’t have the time or expertise to design professional email campaigns, as well as come up with engaging content that their customers and prospects would want to read.

We have started to solve this challenge by building a design and content library that can be inserted into any bulk email campaign template. To get started, navigate to the Campaigns tab in EZLynx, then make your way to your template library. This is the list of all the templates you have created at your agency. From here you can create a new template for use in future bulk campaigns.

Template List

Now that you are in the Bulk Campaigns template editor, you can insert your own content (or HTML, for you advanced users out there) like always, but there are now two new buttons at the top – Select Design and Select Content.

Template Editor

Choosing either of these options will bring up the new Design and Content library, which you’ll find populated with over 40 new designs and over 80 content samples.

Design List

Browse the list of options by category to find an option that works for your needs, select it, then choose Insert. Magically, your selection is inserted into the template editor, ready for your customizations!

Design Selected

Best of all, you can insert pre-written content samples completely independent from your design selection. This makes it easy to mix and match designs and content.  Simply place your cursor in the spot where you want to insert the content, then choose ‘Select Content’ from the top.

Content List

Once you have inserted sample content into your template, you can easily edit the content to meet your specific needs.  For example, you may want to add a link to your website, or you may want to include some additional content that is specific to your local community.

Complete Email

Once you are happy with your template, give it a name and click Save. The new template will be added to your Template List and available to use on any future Bulk Email Campaign.

While this first enhancement is limited to our Bulk Email Campaign Tool, rest assured that we will make these features available to the Drip Campaign tool in the coming months.

Communication is essential to running a successful business, which is why we have more exciting enhancements to our suite of communication tools planned for this year, so stay tuned!


Servicing Commercial Customers Just Got Easier

Many of the agencies that we work with write commercial business, which can be a time-intensive line to service.  We’ve taken feedback from many commercial lines agencies about what they need most to manage commercial lines tasks more efficiently, and we’re pleased to say: we’re making it happen.

Bulk Emailing of Certificates

Creating, emailing, and printing certificates is an important and tedious task related to commercial business.  Finding solutions for certificate headaches was in the front of our minds when putting together the 4.2 release.  In order to address this, we’ve added the ability to generate and email any number of certificates – all at once, with a single click.  This feature can be utilized right when a policy is bound, and also throughout the policy term when it’s necessary to add more interest holders to existing certificates. Boom!

Share Certificates in the Client Center

Customer self-servicing is the name of the game, and with EZLynx 4.2, everyone is a winner.  Customers are happy to be able to access and print their own documents 24/7, and agents love spending less time servicing (and having more time for sales).  So now, when a certificate is created, it can be shared on the Client Center with one click.  We couldn’t make it any easier than that!

Agency Form Templates

Many agencies have forms that are specific to their agency that they use over and over.  These forms can now be uploaded as a template to the agency’s EZLynx account, then accessed by everyone from an applicant’s Documents tab.  You asked for it and we delivered!

Commercial Policy Entry

Rolling out this week, Commercial Policy Entry is a fully integrated commercial lines workflow for managing your most common commercial policy information based on ACORD standards. We have broken down the ACORD forms everyone uses into basic workflows to help commercial lines agents manage the complex data of commercial policies.

How does Commercial Policy Entry work?

You no longer have to remember which ACORD forms you need to complete for each line of business, because Commercial Policy Entry does it for you! Simply select a line of business and enter the required data in one streamlined workflow.

What are some advantages of Commercial Policy Entry?

  • Fully integrated within EZLynx
  • Everything created & stored in one location
  • Pre-fill multiple ACORD forms with single entry
  • No retraining necessary with Industry standard forms

How will your agency benefit from Commercial Policy Entry?

  • Gives Producers more time for selling
  • Increases productivity
  • Reduces E&O exposure
  • Better servicing of commercial accounts
  • Improves retention of commercial accounts

Ready to see more?

Let’s walk through a commercial auto policy. Start by adding a new policy just like you always have! However, if you select a covered line of business, you will have an “Add & Edit Policy” option. The new workflow starts with Insured Information.

CPE - Edit Policy

The Insured Information tab gathers information that typically appears on the ACORD 125. It allows you to input Business Information, Insureds, Policy Contacts, and Premises Information.

CPE - Insured Info

On the Coverages tab, input the high-level policy coverage information to pre-fill for vehicles on the next workflow step.

CPE - Coverages

The workflow is aimed at the ACORD 127 form for the vehicle and driver schedules. First, the Vehicles tab simplifies the process by allowing you to copy/edit/remove vehicles throughout the lifecycle of the policy.

CPE - Vehicles

Second, the Drivers tab is used to quickly manage the policy’s drivers, and associate them with specific vehicles on your vehicle schedule.

CPE - Drivers

The Underwriting tab focuses on Prior Carrier Info, Loss History, and General Info questions. At General Info questions, you can “select all” to speed up the process by only answering the necessary questions.

CPE - Underwriting

The final tab in the workflow is your Additional Interests. Easily input any additional interest that applies to the policy so you can quickly create Certificates of Insurance.

CPE - Additional Interest


Resolutions for Your Agency’s Success in 2015

Resolutions for Your Agency’s Success in 2015

When ringing in a new year, it is tradition to set resolutions; a catalyst for personal growth in the year ahead. Business goals can also get a renewed momentum by taking advantage of this time of fresh starts. So, here we present four communications resolutions for your agency’s success in 2015.


Resolve to Sell More Business

Resolve to sell more business

This may seem as though it doesn’t require a resolution, it being an ever-present main objective, but we’re talking about having a clear plan of action to make it happen. EZLynx Bulk and Drip Marketing Campaigns give your agency tools that are well proven to increase new sales, brand awareness and customer loyalty. With a high return-on-investment, these email communications not only increase revenue, but cost less while doing so. Be bold and successful.

EZLynx Marketing Campaigns

Resolve to provide customers with better service

Resolve to provide customers with better service

Another “no brainer” you’re thinking, but again, you need a concrete plan. With EZLynx Text Messaging, you’ll use today’s consumers’ favorite form of communication, but with a new twist. Your two-way text conversations are automatically saved in the applicant’s account, and accessible to everyone in the office instead of stuck on a personal cell. Using innovative technology not only facilitates better service, but also builds customers’ confidence in your agency. Be modern with cutting-edge technology.

EZLynx Text Messaging

Resolve to build a great reputation

Resolve to build a great reputation

An organized agency works more effectively and ultimately creates a positive image.   With EZLynx for Outlook, agents can quickly save relevant emails and their attachments to an applicant’s account, and create tasks and reminders simultaneously. The daily barrage of emails becomes manageable and organized, and tasks related to these emails won’t “fall through the cracks”. Be efficient and reliable.

EZLynx for Outlook

Resolve to simplify

Resolve to simplify

Sometimes a seemingly small change can reduce a lot stress. The post office is well known for being a stressful, wait-in-a-long-line kind of place. Avoid trips to buy stamps and drop off mail, as well as jaunts to the local paper/toner/envelope supply store by using EZLynx eSignature. Obtain electronic signatures on multiple documents from multiple recipients, without leaving your office. You’ll access the completed documents within the applicant’s account too. Be calm and use eSignature.

EZLynx eSignature

EZLynx Communication Center makes it easy to keep these 2015 resolutions. Our sales reps are happy to demonstrate these powerful tools and get you up-and-running in no time. Fill out the form below to find out more.

Lowest Quote DOES NOT EQUAL Policies Sold (Part 1)

If you ask most carrier marketing representatives or agents, they will tell you that only the lowest quote presented in the comparative rater can be sold.  In other words, the lowest price always wins.

In actuality, we have found that the correlation of number of policies sold and lowest quotes is around 50/50.  In almost half the cases (49%) of new business policy sales, the carrier that wrote the policy did not have the lowest quote.

In reviewing tens of thousands of new business policy sales by nearly a thousand agencies during the first half of 2014, we were able to see a few key patterns emerge with respect to writing personal automobile policies:

Which Quotes Get Written?

Which Quotes Get Written

We learned there is more price elasticity than many carriers may believe when it comes to personal automobile polices.  For example, more than 1 in 5 policies written (22%) resulted from the second lowest quote.

How Much More?

How Much More?

Clearly, there are a lot of factors that go into picking the best policy for a customer.  However, our findings show that the odds of selling a new policy when you have the lowest quote is still no better than the odds of a coin flip.  So which do you pick, heads or tails?

If you are curious about our findings or are interested in learning more about EZLynx data, please contact Brady Polansky by email at [email protected] or call (972) 410-3856.


The Opportunity Costs of Building Your Own Consumer Portal

Insurance companies have spent millions of IT dollars over the past decade on “if you build it, they will come” technology investments, only to find out that the consumer experience didn’t yield the desired results.  In an often feeble attempt to achieve the targeted ROI, these carriers continued to expend IT  and marketing resources on their proprietary products, before ultimately deciding they simply couldn’t continue to throw good money after bad.

EZLynx Carrier Consumer Quoting (EZLynx CCQ) came to the forefront as a leader in this market segment last year and for good reason.

In one recent example:  A major national carrier had built their own proprietary automobile quoting portal for their direct offering that took over a year to deploy. The project continued to consume internal resources for maintenance and support.  The carrier’s business unit also wanted to offer a complimentary full-feature home quoting portal that matched the look and feel of the existing automobile portal.  Because of costs and speed to market considerations, the carrier decided to use our EZLynx CCQ product for their consumer-facing home quoting portal.  EZLynx CCQ was able to seamlessly dovetail into the carrier’s workflows and work with their existing proprietary automobile portal for both monoline and package quoting.  As a result, the carrier experienced a dramatic reduction in the time to market, from over 1 year to under 120 days, and the hard costs were less than half of their internal build estimates, not to mention the opportunity costs that were essentially reduced to zero.

EZLynx CCQ provides significant opportunities for both large and small carriers, as well as agencies, by allowing consumers to enter information directly into a customized carrier portal for data and lead information collection, and optionally, it can provide rates to those consumers. EZLynx has been powering personal lines consumer-facing rating for agencies and carriers since 2007 by putting rates in front of consumers with easy-to-navigate and intuitive interfaces. We think it’s fair to say that we know what we’re doing when it comes to driving consumers to the right results.  CCQ implementations can be as simple as contact and risk information data capture to as complex as online bind.  As a product, EZLynx CCQ is highly configurable from simple look and feel changes, to unique workflows, custom question sets, secondary languages, and pixel and verbiage level customizations that will help keep your legal, marketing, and underwriting teams happy.  EZLynx CCQ can be configured to provide leads and even bind quotes for a carrier’s existing agency plant, direct channel, or both.  All of this can be seamlessly integrated into the carrier’s website to provide a complete white-labeled user experience.

The consistent growth we’re experiencing among our various products and services at EZLynx is amazing.  It shows that if you have hard-working, energetic, creative, and dedicated team members, the sky is truly the limit.

If any aspect of the above scenario sounds familiar to you and you have 2015 project(s) on the board for consumer quoting, please contact your EZLynx carrier representative at [email protected] to discuss how EZLynx CCQ may be able to assist your team.


Empowering your Agency – EZLynx Roadmap for 2015

A Note from the CEOGreetings to all EZLynx users! 2014 is coming to end soon, so it’s time to lay out our roadmap for the coming year as we continue to develop impactful tools to help grow your business. This year, we reached our 10 year anniversary! This is a huge milestone considering how we started and where we are today.

Another big highlight of 2014 is our market penetration ranking as per the 2014 Future One and Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s Agency Universe Study. Thanks to our loyal customers, EZLynx Management System is now 3rd in the market with 6% market share, right behind Applied TAM and Vertafore 360. This is an incredible accomplishment considering our management system has only been on the market for two years and began with 1% market penetration at the end of 2012. Thanks again to all of those EZLynx Management System customers – I promise you have made the right decision!

A look back at 2014…

At this time last year I wrote a similar article and I highlighted the following features as priorities for 2014. Below is an update to all our users on the progress in these areas.

  1. Agency Analytics and Agency Metrics
  2. Agency Process Automation
  3. Commercial Support

Our monthly Agency Pulse report that is emailed automatically to all management system agencies has continued to improve with more useful metrics. I can tell how addicted our agents are to this report based on the frequent feedback we receive each month. Our emails and phones light up with questions and feedback as they anxiously await the report and after they receive it. We will continue to enhance this report in 2015 with a companion online portal which will include historical and trend analysis tools.

We made the most progress with Agency Process Automation in 2014 and we are not done yet. EZLynx 4.0 release was a milestone release with respect to agency workflow and agency process automation. EZLynx 4.0 uniquely combines notes, tasks and notifications under the banner of our ‘Agency Workspace’ to allow agents to efficiently manage their day-to-day agency activities. Without divulging a lot of details, suffice it to say that we have some fantastic things in the works for 2015 with regard to Agency Process Automation and Workflow.

EZLynx Management System has made tremendous progress with commercial features. EZLynx has always had good support for downloaded commercial LOB policies with full support for ACORD forms and certificate generation. However we felt that our support for manual commercial policy processing wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be for our agents, and it was set as a priority for 2014. We have made tremendous progress in this area in 2014. We now have a beta feature being tested by some of our agents that allows them to create manual commercial applications and policies with complete support for policy certificates and other policy document generation. Keep an eye out for more updates on this.

Other Enhancements this Year

EZLynx also released fully integrated SMS Text Messaging support in 2014. This is an extremely popular feature that has been adopted by our agents very rapidly. Using this feature an EZLynx user can send and receive short SMS text messages with their clients. We all know how difficult it is to reach consumers via email, especially when they are at their workplace. EZLynx Text Messaging makes this communication a breeze while also documenting everything for E&O purposes.

Looking ahead to 2015…

I am always amazed when I talk to agency owners about how difficult it is for them to extract important agency performance numbers from their current management systems before they come to EZLynx. I have made it our business goal to fix this problem with our management system. We want to build features that will provide all the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for our agency owners with a few clicks of the mouse. We really believe that every agency owner should let their KPI drive the agency decisions.

We will continue to build out our workflow feature so agents can automate their day-to-day agency activities with ease. EZLynx 4.0 was just the first step towards automating this and we will continue to enhance this feature in 2015. Watch for more announcements in this space.

We have also decided to keep EZLynx Mobile in sync with our desktop version going forward. This means an EZLynx user can switch between the mobile and desktop versions without losing a lot of productivity. It is important to note that certain features like agent-facing quoting is just not mobile friendly and is not something that will be available. However, we will continue to enhance the mobile support of all of our consumer-facing products such as quoting and client center in 2015 as well.

Finally, I want to explain the underlying design philosophy with EZLynx Management System. We believe a smart agency management system should drive an agency and not the other way around like all the existing management systems out there. A smart agency management system should act like an employee of the agency and understand what is happening in an agency based on the information coming into the system in order to make automated decisions. Expect more of these kind of features from EZLynx in 2015.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


Survey Says: EZLynx Most Popular Rating Engine and Fastest Growing Management System

Survey SaysThe results of the biennial Future One and Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s Agency Universe Study are in, and EZLynx is the most popular Comparative Rater.

However rating penetration is only half the story. We are now the fastest growing Agency Management System. As a premier technology vendor who pioneered real time rating, we are extremely gratified to see our name now in the top ranks for agency management systems.

Having only begun selling EZLynx Management System in 2012, to reach this position so quickly speaks to the trust that our customers place in us. A huge thanks to all those who have made this decision and the many agents across the country who have actively collaborated with us in providing valuable insights to our development team.

These are agents who not only help better an important product for the industry, but also share a common philosophy with us of empowering agents with powerful, innovative tools that help improve both their bottom-line and top-line.

Single PlatformEZLynx Management System is built on top of EZLynx Rating Engine, combining perfectly to create a seamless integration of features, rather than separate products that merely “integrate”.

Integration is an afterthought, single platform is innovation

Those agents who use our management system will continue to be amazed at our product offerings in 2015. We have some exciting new features under wraps that will be released for general availability in early 2015 which will dramatically change the way you run your agency!

The assurance we have in increasing our penetration comes from the confidence in our team’s ability to listen to our customers and find solutions that are practical, cost effective, and efficient.

A simple example would be our Agency Pulse report that we send free of charge to every agency principal who has enabled our management system. It is truly a report that no savvy business owner should be deprived of.

Notwithstanding the facts that EZLynx is the fastest growing management system and more agents rely on EZLynx for comparative rating, there is a lot of other exciting news for agents in the report findings.

Seventy percent of the agencies experienced revenue growth of 19% over the past 2 years.  This is up 17% from the sixty percent number in the prior survey.  The trend of growth is continuing since the economic downturn in 2008-10.  Both commercial lines and personal lines agencies experienced growth with only 15% reporting decreases in revenue. In other areas of growth, EZLynx Management System is recognized as the fastest growing management system in the industry.

EZLynx Most Popular RaterOnce again, dealing with multiple carrier interfaces (re-keying data) is the biggest technological challenge for agents.  With respects to using comparative rates in personal lines, more agents use EZLynx than any other rating system.  EZLynx is in 58.3% more agencies than the closest competitor.

We have built our management system into our comparative rater as a single product. There is a reason why EZLynx Rating Engine remains the most popular comparative rater, and EZLynx Management System is the fastest growing management system of the year – it’s because they are one and the same. A single product, a single system to learn, and a single platform that can help your agency manage the complete lifecycle of your customers.

Learn More


To order a full copy of the report, please visit
http://www.independentagent.com/Resources/Research/AgencyUniverseStudy/agency-universe.aspx



What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You: 3 Steps to Growing Your Agency with Analytics

EZLynx Agency PulseWe all know that using analytics is a key trait of successful companies, but many independent agency owners are “too busy” to focus on their business analytics. They skim over various reports or spreadsheets, but become overwhelmed by too much data to focus on the root of the issues.

The Problem

All management systems provide massive amounts of data on customers, policies, premiums, and more, but all the reports in the world will not help an owner who doesn’t know how to take action in the correct areas.

Of those that are spending the time to utilize the data, many are still operating under the “experience trumps analytics” mindset. Owners will make business and marketing decisions based on their gut rather than understanding how to use the analytics to strategically increase their bottom line.

In reality, management system reports are only useful if agency owners are looking at the most important metrics, understanding what they mean, and using them to formulate and implement an action plan for the agency.

The Solution

  1. Easily and accurately identify the important metrics using tools like EZLynx Agency Pulse. If you spend time calculating them by hand from your management system data, you probably won’t have the time to do this on a consistent basis.
  2. Understand these metrics for your agency. Know which calculations to track and what they mean for the agency.
  3. Implement an action plan and track the results. Depending on the current health of your agency, some changes may take longer than others. The only way to determine if your strategy is working is to track the small changes month over month.

To utilize this in your agency, you must first identify the three most important areas in high growth agencies:

  1. New business
  2. Policies per customer
  3. Retention

Each of these areas contain specific metrics that directly correlate to an agency’s overall health and build the bottom line.

New Business

New BusinessThis category represents the net new growth in the agency. The total numbers are easily tracked through most management systems, but to fully understand the agency’s growth, one must also know where the growth is coming from. Owners can identify strong areas of new growth by looking at the close ratios by LOB. You can compare the total number of quotes to the total number of new policies for each LOB to determine strengths and weaknesses for an agency. Tracking the close ratio for each agent helps you focus on internal training by determining the strengths and weakness of each producer. This type of targeting is relatively simple, but you can’t do it unless you track and understand these metrics.

Close Ratios

Policies per Customer

This is arguably one of the most important areas to track, because it affects so many other areas including marketing ROI, retention, average revenue per customer, and average premium per policy. It is also one of the most helpful statistics in determining the effectiveness of cross selling campaigns. An agency owner who accurately tracks the number of policies per customer can set goals and strategies to increase this number.

Policies Per CustomerFor some agencies, it can be as simple as striving to educate every customer on the agency’s product offerings and the areas where the customer may have gaps. In others, it could be increased through a cross selling campaign to your existing customer base. Since the number is also used to calculate the average revenue per customer and average premium per policy, this is a vital calculation for every agency owner. Policies per customer also relates directly to an agency’s retention rate. Statistically as the number of policies approaches four, the average retention increases from three years to ten years. Which brings us to the third and final area for every agency to monitor – retention.

Retention

RetentionThese metrics represent the financial longevity of an agency. The insurance industry as a whole has one of the highest customer acquisition costs of any industry, so it is even more imperative to retain the ones you have. Doing this begins with knowing retention rates separated by LOB, carrier, and the agency as a whole. This is one area where many agency owners rely more on intuition than actual statics. They use their gut to predict which carrier’s rates are competitive or the overall agency retention rate. Frequently, agencies completely ignore renewal all together unless a customer specifically calls the agency. The reactive approach causes many agencies actual retention rates to fall. A high retention rate fuels financial growth and profitability.

Retention by LOB

Putting it all together

EZLynx provides these metrics and many more in an easy to read report delivered directly to the agency owner. Since EZLynx is a single platform solution, we combine data from EZLynx Management System and EZLynx Rating Engine into an easy to read snapshot used to evaluate the health of the agency.

Agency Pulse is just one feature of EZLynx Management System that has helped it become fastest growing management system of 2014.

Find out why