What’s In YOUR Agency Management System?

So if I were to ask you, “What is your agency’s rate of retention?” (in general, not specifically by line of business), what would your answer be? 80%? 90%? Higher, or lower? Chances are, and I would be willing to wager on this, that your answer would be the same that I hear from most agencies: “Oh, we have a fantastic retention rate, I am sure it is over 90%!”

Well, that is fantastic, except that:

a) There is an excellent chance that your response is incorrect as it is most likely lower than you assumeb) How come you cannot tell me exactly what it is, for each line of business?

b) How come you cannot tell me exactly what it is, for each line of business?

Well, the answer to both of my statements above is very simple, but before we discuss the answers and why, let us chat a bit about retention, and its impact on your business and its employees.

Assuming your agency has a high rate of retention, let’s say 90%. That appears to be an excellent rate, considering all of the outside influences that the independent agents face these days with direct writers, online marketers, and what have you. However, even though 90% appears on the surface to be something to brag about on the golf course with your fellow agents and brokers, a 90% rate of retention very simply means that you now have to work 10% harder than you did last year, just to break even! In addition, let’s also assume that you have been in business for ten years, and each year your agency is operating at a 90% retention level, so when you extrapolate that figure out in reverse, you are constantly having to work harder and harder than the year before, just so that you do not lose what you and your staff worked so diligently for previously!

Let’s now complicate this calculation even further: have your carriers all called you this year and told you that they are going to raise your commission rates, increase profit sharing, and expect you to do less service work? I don’t think so…if anything, your commissions (if they haven’t been reduced), have most likely remained the same. Granted, premiums have increased so you will make up some of the revenue that way, but that is the equivalent of a supermarket raising the price of milk to offset the cost of bread. Furthermore, your agency expenses have been on the rise with labor costs, health care and other insurance costs, rent, utilities, etc., so an increase in premiums does not necessarily offset the 10% loss of clientele.

There are a few different ways to manage this loss of business and revenue. However, you cannot address the issue until you are fully aware of exactly what the issue is, and can definitively determine exactly what the agency’s rate of retention is. So how do you do that? Well, to begin with, you need an automated tool that will help you to measure exactly how you keep your existing business. For instance, as a business owner, you should have at your fingertips the ability to go into your management system, request a report on business retained and have the ability to manage the renewal process. You should also be able to not only see this information when you request it but also be alerted to indicators throughout the policy year on factors that may cause the policy to not renew. If you have this information automatically provided to you and your appropriate staff on a regular basis, you may then implement a process and schedule tasks to address these areas of concern, before you receive the call requesting a BOR (broker of record), or copy of their existing declarations page, or even worse: an LPR (lost policy release) which indicates that the coverage has been replaced.

Don’t work harder to generate less income…let automation do this for you. EZLynx has patented tools to automate these processes for you. For additional information on how EZLynx can help you and your business, please contact us today!

 


EZLynx Management System: Commissions

EZLynx Management System - CommissionsEZLynx, which was at one time simply a comparative rater, has steadily evolved into a streamlined and efficient management system.

The challenge of managing multiple versions of consumer data on multiple, and often incompatible, systems is coming to an end. Our EZLynx Management System solves that problem, and much more.

Our latest release includes new enhancements to make EZLynx Management System even more robust. We have revamped the Commissions feature to make it easy for users to identify and mark carrier paid commissions, pay producers per policy, and generate reports per producer, carrier, or transaction.

Why use our Commissions feature with EZLynx Policy Management?

  • Improved user interface for easier navigation
  • The ability to track commissions received from Carriers
  • Add/Edit/Delete commissions and link them to specific policies
  • Override commissions split calculated by the commission rules
  • Identify commissions as Paid when you pay the producers
  • View all paid/unpaid commissions for any date range
  • Run reports by agency, producer, carrier or transactions and view totals for any date range

EZLynx Management System - Commissions - How Does it Work
How does it work?

The Commissions feature now has four screens that focus on the primary tasks associated with commissions.

 

Agency Commissions

You are able to add, review, or modify all commissions made by the agency and check off the Commissions that were received from the Carrier. Checking the box next to the commission will hide the received commission.

  • Enhanced date range filter to view commissions for a specific time period.
  • Use the new search box to search for commissions by applicant name, policy number, carrier, transaction, and more.
  • View commissions received by LOB, Carrier or transactions.
  • Use ‘Received’ check box to mark commission as received from the Carrier, which automatically hides the commission from the grid.

Producer Commissions

This section displays the Producer Commissions calculated by the commission rules. The Commissions calculation is not final and can be modified by clicking the Edit button. Once the commission calculation is verified and the producers are paid, you can check the Paid box to hide it from the grid.

  • Enhanced date range filter to view the commissions calculated for a specific date range.
  • View non-received commissions for a specific date range.
  • View all the paid commissions.
  • Use the new search box to search for commissions by applicant name or policy number.
  • Click the Paid check box to mark each commission as paid which automatically hides the commission from the grid.

Commission Reports

The Commission Reports section presents the list of available reports for all Paid Commissions.

  • Enhanced date range filter to view each paid commission report for a specific date range.
  • The Commission and Premium columns are totaled in all reports.
  • All reports can be exported to Excel, Word or PDF.

Commission Calculation

There are two ways to calculate the producer commissions for all policies.

  • Commission Rules screen
  • Commissions screen at Policy Level

Commission Rules

Commission Rules allow you to set generic rules for all agency commissions to calculate them based on State, Carrier, Line of Business, Transaction, Producer Code, or who the policy is assigned to.

Whenever a new commission is manually entered or downloaded from the Carrier, the system matches the commission to a rule and then calculates the commission.

Users can always override the commission calculation by clicking the Edit button in the Producer Commissions screen.

Commissions Screen at the Policy Level

EZLynx Management System - Commissions - Policy LevelAnother way to calculate commissions is by specifying the producer name and the split
percent/dollar amount for that particular producer. EZLynx Management System makes this simple to do.

Once the commission is entered at the Policy Level, the system overrides the rules set at the Commission Rules screen and calculates the commission amount per the entry made on this screen.

EZLynx for Outlook

EZLynx Management System also includes our powerful add-in for Microsoft Outlook that helps integrate your email inbox with your EZLynx account.

  • Increase Productivity
  • Virtual Paper Trail
  • Automatically Match Emails
  • Clear Trail of Communications

Cut Costs and Streamline your Agency

EZLynx Policy Management, as part of one of our Agency Suites, provides a complete ‘agency-in-a-box’ solution at a fraction of the cost of legacy management systems.

Interested in learning more about internetSUITE and EZLynx Policy Management?

Watch the Video: http://suites.ezlynx.com/


EZLynx has become a Full Customer Lifecycle Solution

We have developed a suite of integrated solutions to help streamline your agency workflow.  This full range of digital marketing, customer retention, and agency management tools are built on the foundation of EZLynx for a seamless user experience.

To download the full PDF version of the newsletter, click here.

EZLynx has become known in the industry as the leader in comparative rating, but what people may not realize is that EZLynx does more than rating.  We’ve taken what we’ve learned from our customers and what we have seen happening in the industry to create a suite of integrated solutions for EZLynx that can help streamline your agency workflow.  This full range of digital marketing, customer retention, and agency management tools is built right in to the EZLynx platform for a seamless agency-in-a-box experience.

EZLynx Agency Websites

Consumers spend more time researching and shopping for insurance online than ever before

It all starts with the website.  It’s your digital storefront, and it’s likely the first place your current customers and potential customers are going to go when they need help with their insurance.

We quickly saw that agents did not have the time or technical knowledge to take full advantage of our Consumer Portal, which provides consumer-facing live quoting for agents.  Through our own efforts in driving organic search traffic, we realized that agents did not have the time to do what was necessary to slowly bring in new visitors to their website and ultimately to their Consumer Portal for a quote.

Our agency website solution allows agents to collaborate with our website management team to build and maintain a strong digital presence that is fully integrated with our live quoting and customer self-servicing features.  SEO is a slow, on-going process, so our agency websites come with a blog, social media connectivity, and weekly custom-written content updates.  Most importantly, we have quarterly analytics conference calls to provide full transparency on the performance of the website.

EZLynx Consumer Portal

Provide consumers with comparative live quoting on your agency website

In the end, what agents really want out of their website is new business. While our SEO strategy with EZLynx Agency Websites can sometimes help drive new visitors to your site, the EZLynx Consumer Portal is where we want them to end up.  We’ve defaulted the most common questions and streamlined the form screens to make it as easy as possible for consumers to work their way through the online quote process so that the new leads quickly drop into your EZLynx account, ready to be sold.

However, busy and distracted consumers often never finish filling out the forms.  We’ve set up our Consumer Portal to automatically send follow-up emails to give consumers the opportunity to pick up where they left off.  This all happens automatically in the background, saving you time and potentially bringing a consumer back to your site.

We also realize that sometimes you have to go to where the business is.  In the age of social media, that means Facebook.  We’ve created a Facebook version of our Consumer Portal that allows agents to provide live comparative quoting directly on their Facebook Page.  This gives agents the opportunity to take advantage of the power of word of mouth (in the digital sense) and capture leads without the user having to leave the Facebook site.

EZLynx Policy Management

Ditch that expensive management system

The costs associated with operating a successful independent agency can quickly and unexpectedly skyrocket.  One of the greatest expenses for an agency is the management system.  That’s all about to change.

EZLynx Policy Management can replace much of the functionality found in legacy management systems – at a fraction of the cost.

Most agents have accumulated huge amounts of customer data, so much so that they have essentially become chained to their outdated and overpriced management system.  Migrating to EZLynx Policy Management may sound daunting, but our data conversion team has had amazing success helping agents migrate their existing customer data into our system.

EZLynx Customer Self-Servicing

Integrated and seamless customer service solutions

With EZLynx Policy Management and policy downloads, agents can take advantage of our seamless customer self-servicing feature to provide their customers with online access and, ultimately, reduce the workload of you and your CSRs.

All of the customers in your EZLynx account (we call them Applicants in EZLynx) that have an active policy can be given the ability to use their email address to log in on your website.  After a verification process, the customer is able to see their active policies, print out relevant documents such as proof of insurance, and download other documents that the agent has chosen to make available.

The document center provides agents a way to share important documents with their customers, but it also allows customers to upload documents without having to use the less secure method of email.  We’ve also made sure that all communication with your customers is logged as an Activity to ensure you have a clear trail of communication.

Our new version of Customer Self-Servicing (coming out next month) also includes guided change request forms to help customers give their agents the exact details they need to know in order to minimize the amount of time spent following up on the phone.  We are also striving to make the consumer experience quick and easy, keeping your customers happy and ensuring they’ll stick around when it comes time to renew.

EZLynx Marketing Campaigns

Retain customers and nurture leads with automated drip campaigns

Most independent agents are business savvy individuals that have learned how to keep costs down while still providing a high level of service to their customers.  EZLynx Marketing Campaigns is a simple way to set up automated drip campaigns that can be enabled on a per-applicant basis.  It’s an easy and cost effective way to put customers on a renewal or upsell reminder 6 months down the road or to send an email to a lead every few months.

If an agent is not in EZLynx, they are more than likely working through their inbox.  When we created our Marketing Campaign feature, we knew two things:  First, no one is going to want to keep track of who is on what campaign.  Second, responses to email marketing campaigns are going to land in an agent’s inbox.  This is why we created our Microsoft Outlook add-in.  The Microsoft Outlook add-in for EZLynx connects your inbox to your EZLynx account to help keep key information right at your fingertips.

Using the Outlook add-in, every email you get from an EZLynx Applicant is going to be flagged to show their details, including whether or not the consumer is on any marketing campaigns.  If their email is in response to a campaign, you’ll be able to remove the consumer from the campaign with a single click.

Our Outlook add-in also works seamlessly with Policy Management and policy downloads.  Since EZLynx will have up to date policy details for each of your customers, you’ll be able to immediately see those details from within Outlook.  You can also save email conversations and attachments directly to EZLynx, ensuring that consistent records are always kept for each Applicant.

EZLynx is a complete agency-in-a-box solution

A streamlined, efficient, full customer lifecycle suite for the digital consumer

EZLynx has worked hard to find out what agents need most in order to be successful in what has become a highly competitive online marketplace.  Independent agents don’t have the resources to compete with hundred million dollar marketing budgets of direct writers like Geico.

What EZLynx has done with our suite of solutions is to help make it easier and more cost effective for independent agents to manage their customers and generate new business, and we’ve bundled this suite of features into several packages to help meet the needs of each individual agency.

To find out more about EZLynx and our digital marketing, customer retention, and agency management tools, click here.