EZLynx Retention Center adds new Commercial Support

The power of EZLynx Retention Center is now available for your commercial accounts! You will be able to use the same powerful tool that helps agencies efficiently retain customers through patented automation and analytical tools on your commercial renewals, helping to maximize productivity and boost revenue. Retention Center prompts renewal managers to review and communicate with commercial accounts prior to renewal without having to manage cumbersome spreadsheets. Quickly compare changes in the existing policies and the renewal offer with the click of a button.

  • Focused Strategy – Become proactive in your agency’s retention process to review every commercial account at renewal.
  • Expand Insight – Instant view into price and comparison of current policy and renewal to identify any changes.
  • Improved Customer Service – Communicate with every customer prior to the renewal to reinforce your agency’s value.
  • Boost Revenue – Each additional point of commercial retention corresponds to a specific dollar amount for each agency of increased profit.

Expiration List

The Expiration List automatically displays the upcoming commercial renewals. Each agency can customize the specific expiration timeline for personal and commercial separately. This allows the agency to easily proactively communicate with every customer prior to renewal to get the additional information needed to process next years policy.

EZLynx Retention Center - Expiration List

Quickly task out account reviews, remarketing, and account rounding activities to the correct person in your agency.

EZLynx Retention Center - Account Management

Renewal List

Patented automation helps you prioritize and analyze renewal offers on commercial policies. Proactively communicate with every customer at every renewal!

EZLynx Retention Center - Renewal List

If you already use EZLynx Retention Center and would like to participate in the Beta, or if this is the first you have heard about Retention Center and would like to learn about how it can help your agency, let us know below.


The E&O Risks with Non-Downloading Carriers

Nag Rao, EZLynx CEOOur world, whether we like it or not, has become always-on and fully connected. This is especially true for the insurance industry, which is so heavily dependent on accurate and timely information.

When we decided to build an agency management system into EZLynx, it was our goal to build a system that was more than the ‘glorified notepad’ offered by our competition. It was our goal to not only parse and process the policy information that comes from the carrier as part of their daily download, but also to do something useful for the agency with that information.

EZLynx Retention Center® demonstrates this design philosophy. Agents who are subscribed to our patented Retention Center can see an intelligently prioritized list of renewals to work on as part of their daily workflow. The way this product is designed, agents work down their list of renewals in Retention Center from highest priority to lowest priority, with the goal of clearing all the high priority renewals from the Retention Center as quickly as possible using our proven process – ultimately improving their overall agency and carrier retention rates along the way!

This brings us to the problem of carriers who don’t download. EZLynx Retention Center switches to complete manual mode for the policies from those carriers. Although it still displays the upcoming renewal based on the manually entered expiration date[1], it still means the agent is responsible for manually maintaining all the policy information, including renewals and changes, within EZLynx. This imposes a severe burden on agency retention staff, who are already stretched thin by trying to keep up with renewals.

From what we have seen in the real world with Retention Center, agents simply forget or don’t bother to update manual policy information, which pretty much makes it impossible to effectively manage the renewals. We regularly see manual policies slipping through the cracks during renewal time. Not only could this be a serious E&O risk for many agencies if they forget to check on the carrier site for non-renewals, but it’s also a terrible experience for the customer, who often chooses an independent agent for the personal touch!

Another big example of the negative impact of non-downloading carriers within EZLynx is the lack of full policy self-servicing support for these policy holders in EZLynx Client Center. EZLynx Client Center allows the agency customer to go to their agent’s website 24/7 and log in to their account. They can print their proof of insurance, ask their agent a question, request a change to their policies, and more.

The simple fact is that carriers hurt both their agents and themselves when they choose not to download information into an agent’s management system – especially a smart agency management system like EZLynx. If the agents are writing with carriers who don’t download to save money for their customers, they do so at a high financial cost for their business and a watered down level of service for their customers.

This begs the question as to why agents work with carriers who do not download, and what agents can do about it. As is clear from the above examples, if the agents are doing this to help their customers, the opposite may in fact be happening. Next time you want to write a policy with a non-downloading carrier, please think twice. Consider letting carriers know that you’re less likely to present their rate to the consumer due to the increased financial burden of servicing and renewing a manual policy. Carriers rely on independent agents to be their extended sales and customer service arm. At the very least, they could work to make sure you have the most up to date information and resources at your fingertips.

Learn more about EZLynx Management System, EZLynx Client Center, and EZLynx Retention Center

[1] The sentence was amended to point out that Retention Center still alerts agents of expiring manual policies.


EZLynx Named Finalist in the 2015 ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge

As part of their 2015 ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge later this year, ACORD® will crown the company that has best used technology to transform the way we think about insurance.

Selected from more than 100 overall submissions, 48 entrants made the first cut and garnered the opportunity to compete for the finalist positions during a live-pitch day at the ACORD office in Pearl River, New York. During the pitch day, Brenna Johnson, Business Analyst at EZLynx, discussed EZLynx Retention Center and how it is transforming the way agents think about customer retention.

As the first insurance-specific innovation competition, the ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge brought together a panel of judges comprised of insurance industry analysts, entrepreneurs and thought leaders to see presentations, provide feedback, and ultimately grade the pitches based on impact, ingenuity, feasibility and applicability to the insurance industry.

EZLynx is honored to be selected as a finalist and to present to a panel of judges before a live audience at the ACORD2015 event later this year.


Industry Consolidation Brings Uncertainty for Agents

A Note from the CEOAs you may already know, there were two insurance industry company acquisitions announced in the past few weeks. The two major vendors are now once again in the process of consolidating their market positions through acquisition, rather than providing superior products and services. Given the availability of easy liquidity in the market, it was rather surprising that it took so long for this buy-out fever to reach our industry.

The general rule of thumb with these kinds of acquisitions is the weak gets consumed by the strong. If you happen to be the customer of one of these acquired products, it puts you in an extremely precarious situation. You suddenly don’t know what is coming next and where the product you have come to rely on is headed. There is nothing worse to deal with in a business than uncertainty!

That Raises the Question – What about EZLynx?

EZLynx prides itself on being independent (just like you!) and out-of-the-box thinkers. We have always believed that our industry has had too many meaningless players with no long term plans, and simply put, are in it to make a fast buck. These acquisitions are good at cleaning up the industry and increasing the opportunity for the remaining players like EZLynx. In fact, we believe that our entry into the agency management system market has made such a dramatic impact on the marketplace that it has resulted in some of these acquisitions. Either way, if you happen to be our customers, you can rest easy knowing that EZLynx is in it for the long haul.

The EZLynx® Platform, which is a single system for comparative rating, management system, retention tools, and marketing tools, is a very compelling solution that most agencies are finding hard to resist. Our management system is now the third most popular system in the market and the fastest growing system in the last two years as per the latest industry survey.

Our latest groundbreaking solution for policy renewal management, EZLynx Retention Center™, is a revolutionary product that has dramatically changed how agents manage their renewals. Agents who are using this product cannot stop raving about the successes they are experiencing.

We will continue as always to bring more innovative products to market in the coming months and years. That is the fundamental difference between EZLynx and these other companies – We believe that building a superior product and putting the needs of our users first is how to win in this industry.

It is our ultimate goal to streamline and enhance every business function of an agency with our One Platform solution. We feel our industry is under attack from well-funded outsiders, and it is our responsibility to empower our agents with a suite of tools to fight this challenge.

To learn more about EZLynx Retention Center, you can watch a testimonial video from one of our users here.


What is 1 Point of Personal Lines Retention Worth to You?

Carrier RetentionWe heard it loud and clear from our carrier partners that personal lines departments need help automating their retention process. Of the $79.8 billion in personal lines premiums controlled by independent agents just one point of retention translates into an astronomical $789 million in premium and approximately $100 million in agency commissions.

Beyond the obvious importance for an agency to keep more of what they write, carriers are beginning to segment agencies on three key factors: Growth, Profitability and Retention. An agency who can achieve all three is highly valued. However, achieving positive numbers in all three categories is easier said than done.

It’s no secret that it is easier and less expensive to keep an existing policy than acquire a brand new one. Yet, it is common for personal lines service staff to place their accounts on autopilot. Please don’t misunderstand, when a customer reaches out to the service team they will reactively provide customer service. The problem is customers prefer proactive service.

Agents believe this ‘set it and forget it’ level of service is effective, because they believe they are retaining a high number of those customers with very little effort. In reality, when asked about policy retention, producers start by saying they have no idea then they make up a number in the mid 90’s. When faced with carrier production reports of retention in the high 70’s or low 80’s, agents deny those numbers could possibly be right.

Furthermore, agents tend to have a false sense of retention security when last year’s premiums are bolstered with rate increases. They likely lost 1 in 5 policies at renewal, but because of a modest rate increase they may think they only lost 1 in 10 policies.

Retention

For ease of use, let’s go with the simple definition of retention to mean a count of policies in force or PIF. By using this simple metric, you eliminate the variability of premium increases and decreases resulting from endorsements or rate increases. This becomes a true measure of having a policy renew from one term to another.

In a recent in-depth survey of over 1,000 agencies across the country, EZLynx found personal lines departments averaged policy retention of only 78%. Putting that another way, it is normal for an agency to lose more than 20% of its personal lines policies each and every renewal.

Making matters worse, the personal lines industry is under direct attack from direct writers, captives, alternate distribution channels, and other independent agents. One way for agencies to combat this challenge is to be smart about how they service policies and manage renewals to improve their retention.

Agencies can no longer wait for a customer to call and complain about rate hikes at renewal. Instead, agencies need to quickly and efficiently identify daily those customers that are most at risk of being uncompetitive.

How To Keep More?

The key to retaining more business is rather simple. Treat the customer the way they would like to be treated. Be thoughtful, knowledgeable, and transparent.

Let’s be clear, when it comes to prices, customers don’t like surprises. In today’s information age, people want instant feedback on what is happening. The last thing they want is to receive increases in their renewal premium without an explanation as to what happened.

Agents should review the policy renewal for potential changes, which may impact the premium. Beyond rate increases, it is not uncommon for carriers to remove discounts, change products, or adjust the customers rating tier due to losses, credit, or other factors. Customers would like to know that the agent is on top of things like this when they take place, not after the fact.

Next, agents should find excuses to thank customers for their business as well as keep them informed about how they are doing relative to their peers. In other words, if a customer has a small rate increase, which is in line with his or her community, explaining this goes a long way in building trust.

Finally, providing the customer with options is one of the main differentiators for an independent agent. If the insured’s renewal price increased, agents should let them know what else, if anything, they may have as an alternative. When given options, customers regularly opt to stay with their current program to avoid the pain of switching. When agents earn their trust, customers say things like, “Let’s stay where we are, but keep an eye on it next renewal. If it goes up like this again, we’ll switch…”

The key to all this is to be customer focused and pro-actively reach out to customers when there is a change. The days of waiting for upset customers to call for options are over.

Automation Is the Key

Agents may need a new system if their current agency management system isn’t automatically doing all this for them. You may want to share with them the new EZLynx® Retention Center. This product utilizes patented automation and patent pending advanced analytics to analyze the changes at each renewal and help them quickly identify the customers who need immediate attention so they can keep the renewal with the incumbent carrier as long as possible.

Building on the EZLynx Policy Compare feature, the Retention Center analyzes the customers’ policy information, so agents can proactively communicate their recommendations – reinforcing the agency’s and carrier’s value proposition. Since each insured is analyzed at both the account and policy level, it provides the agency the tools to treat your mutual customers as people rather than a collection of policies.

How it works

  • Each day upcoming renewals are ranked in order of the customer’s risk of defection.
  • Each customer account and individual policy is analyzed for changes, which are displayed for review.
  • Agencies quickly review the changes and communicate their recommendations, remarketing only when necessary.

Results!

Retention Center pilot agencies have seen tremendous improvement in both their carrier retention as well as overall agency retention. Pilot agencies are sustaining an average of 10 points of retention improvement! If every agency and carrier could improve their retention by 10 points, it would be worth almost $8 billion in premium! Who wants their share of $8 billion in found premium?

Retention Center Results

Summary

The chart above shows actual results from our pilot agency test. The results were staggering. To keep more of what you have while improving customer satisfaction, make every customer feel special while focusing remarketing efforts only on those who truly needed it. Those agencies who shift from only reacting to each customer inquiry to instead proactively reviewing the account and contacting each customer in advance will certainly keep more business.


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!