As an independent insurance agency, you’re probably well aware of increasing M&A activity. According to OPTIS Partners’ North American Agent & Broker 2021 Year-End Merger & Acquisition, there were 1,034 announced insurance agency mergers and acquisitions in 2021, up 30% from the 795 reported in 2020.
In the fourth quarter of 2021 alone, there were 384 deals, a 26% increase over the same period in 2020. We don’t expect this rate to plateau in 2022 because of two interconnected trends facing the insurance market. The industry is flush with capital-heavy investors. The industry is also filled with many owners looking to take advantage of record-breaking agency valuations.
Many agents and brokers, even ones not looking to sell, are faced with a new set of problems. Agencies across the country are being purchased and consequently supplied with an influx of resources. Resources for marketing, hiring new agents, and streamlining their sales processes.
This trend is not specific to any one corner of the industry. Property and casualty, employee benefits, specialty risk, and full-service agencies of all sizes are being acquired at high rates. Their competitors are feeling the heat of competition.
We understand the anxiety sweeping the industry. Things are changing, but change isn’t always bad. Competition, challenges, and change are a catalyst for innovative solutions to problems facing insurance consumers and professionals alike. Those willing to embrace change and leverage it to power their future often end up being the winners five years down the road.
To put it simply, a growth mindset is a choice. Success in this evolving marketplace is attainable, even amidst record M&A activity. Not only can you survive, but you can thrive.
Here are five technology solutions to help grow your agency and meet the competition head-on.
1: Marketing and Lead Generation
Finding new leads and retaining existing clients is the lifeblood of any agency. However, it can be extremely difficult to complete these tasks without an effective sales and marketing strategy.
Here’s a common misconception that we hear from agents and brokers about tools like these. This solution is not intended to replace more traditional prospecting methods and client retention. However, marketing and lead generation solutions WILL provide you with strategic intelligence to find better, actionable leads and retain more clients. With tools like email marketing automation, you can engage clients and prospects using a streamlined communication engine to help you save time, target your desired audience, and measure your success.
Where you get your leads from is important, and every agency should have an intelligent prospecting strategy. There’s the old phrase, quality over quantity. True? Yes. But your marketing and lead generation often provides both.
A quality marketing and lead generation platform will boost your agency’s growth and increase prospect engagement. This is number one for a reason. If you want to generate more revenue, this tool is a must-have.
2: Quoting and Proposal Solution
Simplify complex and time-consuming processes to unlock the full growth potential of your agency
Configuring, pricing, and quoting are essential functions of any insurance brokerage. For most brokers, these functions heavily rely on outdated, manual, and inefficient workflows that are often error-prone and likely provide a poor customer experience.
A quoting and proposal solution automates mission-critical steps of a benefits buyers’ journey. Driven by data, you can configure multiple options which provide strategic insights for your clients. Many solutions will streamline the quoting step with direct access to carrier pricing, which is supported by the ability to present professional, custom-branded proposals.
Simply put, this solution allows you to sell and service better than ever – ultimately fueling growth for your agency and ensuring the retention of your clients.
3: Content Management System and Library
Content is king.
Even large agencies have problems creating and disseminating necessary content to their clients and prospects. Zywave has the largest content library available in the marketplace, providing users with instant access to everything they need to provide their clients.
With this tool, you can elevate your brand and build your reputation by delivering high-quality, trusted content to your clients and prospects. Consumers want timely, personalized content that speaks to their individual pain points. With the right tool, you can keep all of your organization’s content consolidated and organized. Look for tools that allow you to brand, administer, and customize your content.
Timely, personalized, and customized content can help you go from an agent or broker to a trusted business advisor, elevate your agency’s value to your clients, and survive uncontrollable changes in the price of a policy.
4: Client Services Solution
A lot of agencies say they offer superior customer service, but what additional resources and tools do you truly provide?
Compliance and risk management? A learning management system to help provide training for your clients and their employees? Do you offer people management to help your clients enable their most significant investment – their employees? Enrollment and onboarding? Do you offer a client self-service portal?
With a client services solution like Client Cloud, you can deliver a high-impact customer experience to offer your clients the centralized tools and content they need to solve their business’s unique pain points.
5: Agency Management System (AMS)
Most agencies have an agency management system (AMS). Legacy agency management platforms help insurance professionals manage their agency. However, Zywave believes the industry needs to think differently about what an AMS should be doing for its users.
Instead of just offering operational efficiency, quality platforms should maximize efficiency and boost employee productivity and ultimately drive growth. As a foundational piece of the Modern RevOps Machine, your AMS should empower your business’s marketing, sales, management, and analytics functions.
Get an AMS that helps you surpass your business goals.
If you’re looking to compete in a hyper-active M&A marketplace, you need the tools to support your business. The needs of every agency are different, and you’ll need to decide which tools are best for your agency. However, the first step to growth is embracing change and empowering your business with tools that can help you.