February 22, 2015
What to Look for in an Automation System
2 min read
Many new and growing agencies don't start off with an agency automation system. They don't because either cash is tight, they don't think they can learn how to use it or think they can get by with a spreadsheet, they don't understand the need for one in the first place or they don't know what they need. Let's explore those things.
Let me begin by telling you that I think you should start as soon as possible with some sort of system because my experience, with dozens of agencies, shows that disaster lurks down the road when you don't.
Cash is incredibly important in all phases of the life of an agency. But luckily today you can "buy" an automation system on a monthly "fee for service" basis. For as little as $100 per month you have a number of choices. So, I don't think money should be a show stopper. If you can't afford $100 per month to keep track of customers, policies - and critically important - your money, you should not be going into business.
Why do you need one? Well in the first place it will save you a lot of time. Systems track things for you and allow single entry of data. They will tell you what customers are worth and what their potential for cross sell is. They will do most of your accounting for you as a byproduct of quoting and issuing. They will protect you from a host of E&O exposures. They are marketing tools. There are lots of other reasons but really why wouldn't you need one?
What do you need? It's really pretty simple. A good modern system ought to have these capabilities: customer data management, carrier download capability, be usable on things like iPads as well as computers, have single entry for data, have capability of creating marking and cross selling, be able to seamlessly interface with or provide an accounting module, be inexpensive, be intuitive to use (can you figure out how to use it without days of training or reading manuals).
All this for $100 a month? Absolutely. At OAA we have several excellent systems we can recommend to our members and they also get discounts on the cost ranging from 25% to 50%. If you're not automated make 2015 the year you fix that!