2004 Best Practices Study
AGENCIES WITH REVENUES BETWEEN $2,500,000 AND $5,000,000
Keys to Maximizing Productivity Clearly, automation holds the key to maximizing productivity within these agencies. Several agencies stressed the importance of first investing in technology and then committing to utilize it.
Imaging technology was mentioned most frequently. The cost has decreased to a level that makes it avail- able to these agencies, and has helped most move closer to the ideal of a "paperless" environment - one that we have all dreamed of for decades now! Productivity gains have also come in the continuing availability and use of real-time interfaces with the carriers. Most of the functions from inquiry to actu- al processing are now available for both commercial and personal lines via the agency's automation sys- tem (as opposed to access through the carriers' pro- prietary systems only).
Keys to Maximizing Productivity (Top 5 Listed in Order of Frequency Mentioned) 1. Effective use of agency automation and technology 2. Continuous employee education and training 3. Setting goals, monitoring progress and regularly communicating results 4. Consistent workflows 5. Focused marketing efforts
Keys to Achieving a Competitive Advantage A number of factors were mentioned by this group, including the quality of their products, serv- ice, and staff. Additionally, the importance of a community presence was a common answer. In a world of increasing consolidation of companies and services, many of these agencies feel that
their local presence and community involvement gives them a competitive advantage. One agency principal said that having three active partners gives them the ability to react quickly. With an increasing amount of information available on the Internet, the availability of live customer service by knowledgeable employees makes a difference to clients. It also increases retention. With independent agencies, some of which are owned by a third or fourth generation, there is a sense of reliable service with strong and deep community roots.
Keys to Achieving a Competitive Advantage (Top 5 Listed in Order of Frequency Mentioned) 1. High level of knowledge, expertise, and skill 2. Quality reputation and presence in community 3. Superior service 4. Excellent markets/carrier relationships 5. Diversity of products and value added services
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