Insurance Tech Trends for 2016

2016_insurance_trends_ezlynx

 

As the page turns in our calendars from 2015 to 2016, we want to recap some Insurance Tech Trends to look for in the year ahead of us. Technology is on the forefront of all things insurance, on both a consumer and agent level. Ensuring you are reaching your customers in the most effective way while keeping their information secure are two key business objectives to keep in mind when forecasting your business for the year to come. EZLynx has compiled a list of Insurance Tech Trends to watch for in 2016.


Local Optimization

With only 15% of Americans not using the internet, the odds are in your favor to make sure your agency is easily found online. Local optimization helps agents reach customers in their area. Google is (continuously) the most popular online search engine and it pulls in search results from locally optimized websites first. With your EZLynx Gold Agency Website package, we provide locally optimized content that is more likely to be found on Google when searching locally. In addition to locally optimizing you website, it is also important to focus on a local reach when writing blog articles.

Email Campaigns

How you reach your client base is important. Nowadays it seems like everyone has a smartphone attached to their hand, which means they are likely receiving texts and emails pretty regularly. With EZLynx Marketing Campaigns, you can reach your customers the way they prefer to be reached: by email or text. This not only builds customer loyalty, but helps improve retention while driving sales. You can reach your entire customer base with one personalized email, or narrow down your search to customers with a birthday in a certain month, customers in a certain area, or by which line of business the customer has purchased with your agency.

PPC Marketing

In certain lines of business, PPC Marketing can be a very effective tool. When you search Google for a local coffee joint, you’ll see advertisements to the right of the search results. These are PPC Ads. The client pays a fee each time someone clicks their ad, thus buying visits to your website versus receiving visits organically. In in the insurance industry, these advertisements might be costly but prove to be very effective in driving traffic to your website.

Accurate Analytics

Wouldn’t it be nice to see all of the important metrics of your business in one organized snapshot? With EZLynx Agency Pulse, you can do just that! The comprehensive report is part of our Management System and includes key metrics such as total annual premium, policy count, new business, agency retention, and carrier retention. The report identifies and tracks changes in your business so you don’t have to rummage through multiple reports and emails. The report generates weekly (is that correct) and is sent straight to your inbox.

Drones

Yes, drones. Drones may be an important tool in your toolbox. In April 2015, a Pennsylvania insurance company was the first to receive approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to test drones for claims use. By September 2015 the drone inspected a roof of a house that had filed a claim. With the maturation of imaging technology, the company owner confirms that the effort is worth the risk. If your agency is in the business of covering large amounts of land, homes, or other outdoor properties, a drone (and a drone pilot) may be a wise investment in your future.

Cybersecurity

Insurers around the United States are raising concern to tighten their company’s cybersecurity. At EZLynx, we take data security seriously. With the major breaches last year from Premera and Anthem, there is no doubt that there will be more announced this year. Finding the right level of security is pertinent to your future success. Investing your time and business with any EZLynx product guarantees you a certain level of security, one that is protected by remote servers in dedicated production environments.

 


Powerful Business Performance Insights

EZLynx Agency PulseEZLynx® Agency Pulse™ is a one-of-a-kind monthly report that delivers enhanced business performance insights to insurance agencies.

This monthly agency report aggregates data from EZLynx Rating Engine and EZLynx Management System into actionable business intelligence that helps agency owners and administrators manage their businesses more profitably and efficiently.

The EZLynx Agency Pulse report provides agencies key metrics and trend analysis of your insurance agency’s monthly performance, derived directly from your EZLynx data to make targeted, educated business and marketing decisions.  EZLynx, with an all-in-one platform that has both a comparative rater and a full-featured agency management system, is uniquely positioned to provide rich, multi-dimensional agency reports that are unavailable in any other system.

This powerful agency trend report uses all of the robust quoting and policy data found in EZLynx Rating Engine and EZLynx Management System to deliver eye-opening performance metrics. With so much customer data locked away in outdated agency management systems, agency owners have been desperate for the kind of actionable agency analytics that is provided in the EZLynx Agency Pulse report.

Agency Pulse - SnapshotAutomatically generated each month with both Agency Snapshot and Detailed Information sections, the EZLynx Agency Pulse report delivers performance data in an easy-to-view report that has been designed to provide key performance information based on a collaboration between EZLynx and a team of agency owners. Actionable metrics that help reveal opportunities for growth and increased profitability include statistics and trends on close ratios, retention, clients, carriers, and premium.  More importantly, agency owners can see their month-over-month trends at a glance, making it much easier to track strategic objectives and priorities.

We checked in with one of our users to find out what their experience has been. “EZLynx Agency Pulse has illuminated the business performance of my agency in ways that would have never been possible on our legacy management system,” said Brian Burns, Owner at Compass Insurance Group LLC in Colorado. “Because EZLynx is a tightly integrated comparative rater and agency management system on One Platform™, they are able to build amazing reports that can’t be found in any other system.  That, combined with the quarterly website performance meeting that is part of EZLynx Agency Websites, we have been able to make strategic marketing decisions based these reports from EZLynx and then actually track the results each month to gauge the successes or failures of our efforts.”

EZLynx Agency Pulse is available today for customers of EZLynx Management System at no additional cost.  EZLynx automatically sends out Agency Pulse each month to all agency owners with an EZLynx Management System account.


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



Improve Carrier Retention with EZLynx Agency Pulse

Improve carrier retention

Many agencies miss out on chances to improve carrier retention through cross selling opportunities every month. Agencies collect massive amounts of customer data through their normal course of business. The bad news is most systems cannot intuitively gather, analyze, and present the agent’s customer data in an easy to understand snapshot of the agency’s performance.

EZLynx Agency Pulse is a monthly analytics report that helps agencies monitor trends from several important business categories. Aggregate data (generated from an agency’s EZLynx Rating Engine and Management System account) is compiled and delivered directly to the agency principal’s inbox.

Each report clearly shows month-over-month changes to key factors. This allows the agents to quickly surmise whether their marketing tactics are effective. If the numbers are not moving in the right direction, an agency can make quick adjustments.

Agency Pulse email

Key factors include:

  • Close ratios
    • By line and by producer or CSR
  • Retention calculations
    • Total carrier retention by line
  • Cross selling effectiveness
    • Policies per customer
    • Active policy count bands
  • Policy and premium statistics by carrier
    • Ranking by percent of book
    • PIF counts
    • Change to PIF counts
    • Annual premium estimates
  • Commercial lines policy and premium statistics
    • Customers added
    • Customers lost
    • Total number of customers
    • Number of policies
    • Annual premium estimates
    • Summaries by state
    • Breakdowns by line of business
  • Personal lines policy and premium statistics
    • Customers added
    • Customers lost
    • Total number of customers
    • Number of policies
    • Annual premium estimates
    • Summaries by state
  • Business mix
    • Personal/ Commercial split
  • Email saturation
    • Percentage of customers with email addresses
    • Percentage of prospects with email addresses

Lines of business, years of business comparison chart

An example of how an agency could use EZLynx Agency Pulse to increase carrier retention would be the correlation between effective cross selling and retention in the personal lines department.  Improving the policy per customer count is a proven way to increase the agency’s overall retention. Studies show that agencies retain a customer with only 1 policy for a period of 3 years on average. That isn’t really enough time to recoup the cost of selling the policy in the first place.

Let’s say an agency decides to implement a new cross sale campaign. With the Agency Pulse, an agency principal can quickly see the number of monthly quotes is increasing and, given their close ratios, the number of new policies written also increase accordingly. With the new policies added, the resulting policies per customer will also increase. Finally, the agency will soon notice a resulting increase in the carrier retention ratio and, eventually, profit.

Make sure your agents know how to help improve your personal lines retention ratio with EZLynx Agency Pulse.

Learn more about EZLynx Agency Pulse


EZLynx Roadmap for 2014

It is that time of the year when we reflect on our previous year’s resolutions and make new resolutions for the coming year. I want to start with a quick review of last year’s resolution first followed by new resolutions for 2014. There are four areas of the industry I focused on in our EZLynx Roadmap for 2013. Below is an end of the year update on each one of the focus areas.

A look back at 2013…

Consumers and Mobile

We made tremendous progress with both of these focus areas in 2013. We started the year with a new version of our consumer facing product EZLynx Client Center. This product allows our EZLynx Management System customers to add a consumer login to their agency website, allowing consumers to print policy related documents like ID card, proof of insurance, etc. and also to request policy changes. We also released our new mobile friendly version of EZLynx Consumer Quoting mid-year. This product enables consumers visiting an agency web site to use their smart phone or tablet to obtain live quotes in a mobile friendly screen. We have two other mobile products scheduled for delivery before end of this year – a mobile version of EZLynx Client Center, and an update to our mobile version of EZLynx.

Agency in a Box

Agency in a Box has been a philosophy of our product design from day one. It is our goal, one day, to offer a solution to our agents that manages the entire agency customer life cycle. We have been focused on agency policy servicing features for the last two years. We made considerable progress with expanding our commercial support in EZLynx Management System in 2013. We delivered two big pieces for commercial agencies this past year – Premium Trust Accounting and Certificate Management. Both of these solutions are feature rich and I really encourage you to visit our website or talk to one of our sales people for more details.

EZLynx Marketplace

We delivered four third-party products in 2013 under the EZLynx Marketplace architecture. We started the year with a fully integrated eSignature app, followed by a Lead Management integration app mid-year, and before the end of this year we will be delivering Bulk Campaigns under the umbrella of our EZLynx Marketing Campaigns product, and finally, EZLynx Accounting will be officially launched in January.  You can find more details about all EZLynx Marketplace apps here.

Agency Management for the new digital age

We are confident that we have laid a strong foundation for EZLynx Management System to date. Our product has been fully cloud based from day one so you can work with the management system from any place on any system and any device. One of the best features we implemented in 2013 is our monthly Agency Pulse report. This report summarizes, every month via an email, some of the key metrics about your organization. These metrics include total written premium, personal lines to commercial lines ratio, policies per customer, premium per customer, carrier retention ratio, agency and producer close ratio, and more. You can find more information about Agency Pulse here.

Looking ahead to 2014…

Now it’s time for me to make some resolutions for 2014. I have several wish list items that I personally want to accomplish this coming year. This list is quite exhaustive, so I will try and stick to 3 big items or focus areas that we will be tackling in 2014.

Agency Analytics and Agency Metrics (Agency top line feature)

We believe our industry is experiencing a paradigm shift that requires agents to be opportunistic about how and where they focus their efforts in order to increase their top line revenue. Agency analytics is one of the ways a well thought out management system can guide agents in increasing their top line revenue. Our EZLynx Agency Pulse report, implemented earlier this year in EZLynx, is a simple first step of a much larger analytics implementation that will be rolled out in the first half of next year to improve our EZLynx Management System customers’ top line. Please stay tuned because we have some exciting new products and services announcements to make in the next year regarding agency analytics that should help you dramatically improve your top line numbers.

Agency Process Automation (Agency bottom line feature)

It is no longer enough to improve the top line at an agency without improving the bottom line at the same time. We will be enhancing several existing EZLynx Management System features in 2014 to streamline agency processes and to improve agency profitability. Once again please stay tuned because we have some exciting changes coming in the first half of next year which should help you dramatically improve your bottom line numbers.

Commercial Support

We are very confident with the level of support that we have built into EZLynx Management System for personal lines agencies. We feel it is time for us to focus more on features that a big commercial lines agency would desire. We hope to build several new features in this area for 2014. Due to competitive reasons I would be hesitant to discuss this in detail other than to simply say that much more is coming soon.

Outside of these three major focus areas, we will continue to push forward with more mobile features, more consumer facing features, more marketplace applications, and providing the same level of customer support that we pride ourselves on. As you can see we have a big list of projects and ideas for 2014. I am really excited about the coming year, and I hope you are as excited as I am to be a part of the EZLynx family. I am predicting 2014 to be a break out year for EZLynx Management System.

Thanks for a great year!

Before I sign off, I want to thank all our hard working staff at EZLynx, especially our product support team, for their dedicated effort to serve you every day. I encourage you to send them complimentary emails whenever they provide you with excellent service. I also encourage you to contact me directly if there is something that is bothering you about our company or product. I will be more than glad to reply and have a conversation with you.

Thanks you for being our customer and have a safe and happy holidays and a happy new year!

 


EZLynx releases Agency Analytics Report with EZLynx Agency Pulse

Agency Pulse monthly report delivers enhanced business performance insights to insurance agencies

EZLynx today announced the recent release of EZLynx Agency Pulse. This first of its kind automated agency report aggregates data from EZLynx Rating Engine and EZLynx Management System into actionable business intelligence that enables agency owners and administrators to more profitably manage their business.

EZLynx Agency Pulse provides agencies key metrics of their monthly insurance agency performance, derived directly from their EZLynx data to make targeted, educated business and marketing decisions.  EZLynx, as the only industry leader in comparative rating that also has a full-featured agency management system, is uniquely positioned to provide rich, multidimensional agency reports that are unavailable in any other system.

“This first step in putting powerful agency information into the hands of agency owners uses all of the robust quoting and policy data found in EZLynx Rating Engine and EZLynx Management System to deliver eye-opening performance metrics about your business that can’t be found in any other system,” said Jaideep Jayaram, Vice President of Sales, EZLynx. “With so much customer data locked away in outdated agency management systems, agency owners have been desperate for the kind of actionable agency analytics that can be provided through EZLynx Agency Pulse. The feedback from many of the agents who have been receiving this data for the past few months has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Automatically generated each month with both an Agency Snapshot and Detailed Information sections, EZLynx Agency Pulse delivers performance data in an easy-to-view report that has been designed to show key performance information based on collaboration between EZLynx and a team of agency owners.  Actionable metrics that help reveal opportunities for growth and increased profitability include statistics on close ratios, retention, clients, carriers, and premium.  More importantly, agency owners can see the changes in metrics from the previous month, making it much easier to track strategic objectives and priorities.

“EZLynx Agency Pulse has illuminated the business performance of my agency in ways that would have never been possible on our legacy management system,” said Brian Burns, Owner, Compass Insurance Group LLC. “Because EZLynx is a tightly integrated comparative rater and agency management system in one platform, they were able to build amazing reports that can’t be found in any other system.  That, combined with the quarterly website performance meeting that is part of EZLynx Agency Websites, we have been able to make strategic marketing decisions based on actual data and then track the results.”

EZLynx Agency Pulse is available today on EZLynx at no additional cost.  EZLynx automatically sends out Agency Pulse each month to all agency owners with an EZLynx account.  To learn more, visit http://info.ezlynx.com/agency-pulse.