Independent agents are a critical part of the insurance value chain and significantly influence business placement in the insurance industry. Ensuring that agents have the tools to offer policyholders a superior customer experience and improve their own operational efficiencies should be top of mind for carriers.
Beyond selling additional policies to existing insureds and attracting new business, agents play a crucial role in policyholder retention. The relationship an agent cultivates with customers is a significant factor in the policyholder experience, across all age groups. New Invoice Cloud research shows that even Millennials still purchase policies through agents, which perfectly demonstrates the far-reaching importance and continuation of the insurance agent role.
To empower agents and yield the most profitable opportunities, insurers must make it easy for agents to do business with them. Since payments-related activities – including taking deposits, answering calls, researching collections issues, etc. – consumes much of an agent's time, it’s imperative that carriers implement a simple, digital billing and payments platform. Not only can an easy-to-use payment solution positively impact the agent experience with your organization, but this type of platform can also benefit carriers seeking to improve customer retention and attract new, profitable business.
Since selecting the right online payment platform can have this significant impact, here are a few key factors to look for when selecting a payment solution that will thrill insurance agents.
1. An easy-to-use agent interface
Insurance agents are creating your company’s best, most reliable stream of revenue – so why wouldn’t you provide these key players with the best, most reliable tools?
Companies are all vying for profitable business in this competitive insurance market. While pricing and policy options play a role in where agents place business, it is well-known that the experience an insurer provides (for both the agent and their policyholders) is often the deciding factor.
When it comes to online payments, agents want an intuitive platform that is easy to use and promotes excellent customer service to policyholders. Solutions that enable transparency also allow agents to quickly access payment information and better service customers.
Bottom line: offering a streamlined solution that is simple, transparent, personalized, and easily accessible will compel agents to place more profitable business with your company.
2. Optimized, omni-channel payment options
To keep pace with changing policyholder demands, carriers must offer insureds multiple ways to receive bills and pay premiums, also known as omni-channel payment options. The more payment options an insurance organization can offer, the higher that carrier’s online adoption rates will be.
When online adoption rises, billing-related calls, delinquent payments, and policy cancellations tend to decrease significantly, allowing agents to focus on more value-adding activities.
It’s important to note, however, that each channel must be equally optimized to be truly effective. This means an insured should have the ability to start making a payment on, say, their mobile device and continue online or over the phone later, with the same context and ease. Without this cross-channel consistency, your organization cannot provide a top tier policyholder experience.
3. Intelligent payment reminders
Agents want to avoid delinquent payments and cancellations more than anyone. Collection calls are not only uncomfortable but deter from an agent's valuable time. In our research report, Customer Experience in the Insurance Industry, we found that 50% of insureds who missed a monthly premium installment simply forgot to make their payment. Stemming this forgetfulness would benefit any insurance organization, particularly from an agent perspective.
The best way to keep payments top of mind for policyholders is with targeted, dynamic payment reminders through multiple channels (i.e., text, email, voicemail).
Your payment solution should be able to notify customers of upcoming payments with personalized notifications, detailing their policy type, amount due, due date, and more. Even better, your online payment solution should offer communications that go beyond payment reminders. For instance, Invoice Cloud offers Outbound Campaigns, allowing billing organizations to quickly send targeted messages to your customers about COVID updates, changes to their policies, and more.
These reminders keep payments consistent for agents and improve their customer's experience, which, ultimately, reflects positively on the agents themselves.
4. Designed to drive self-service
We’ve touched on the importance of finding an online payment solution that’s simply designed for policyholder and agent ease of use. More importantly, though, the solution’s design must actively work to drive self-service enrollment.
Self-service options, such as automatic payments (AutoPay) or paperless billing, provide significant value for both policyholders and agents. These services save your policyholders time and provide peace of mind regarding their monthly payments, not to mention the major positive impact self-service routes have on policyholder and agent satisfaction.
But here’s the catch – insureds will only enroll in these options if they're aware they exist and they are easy to use. To ensure full utilization of your self-service options, look for a digital payment platform designed with customer engagement in mind.
The more you engage policyholders throughout the payment process – guiding them toward your self-service routes at every opportunity – the more insureds will enroll.
This boost in self-service is one of the best things your organization can do for its agents. Policyholders want the option to make payments when, where, and how they prefer. So, offering these self-service capabilities should enhance customer satisfaction, reduce delinquent payments and cancellations, and increase operational efficiencies for both the agent and the carrier.
Improving the insurance agent experience
To stand out from the sea of carriers vying for insurance agent’s business, you must provide agents with tools that will make their job simple. When it comes to payments, that means offering an online payment solution that can:
Save agents time by reducing call volumes and manual processes.
Keep premiums consistent with payment reminders and high rates of self-service enrollment.
Assure the policyholder payment experience is quick and simple.
Invoice Cloud has a proven success rate of 2 to 3 times higher than the industry average when it comes to online payment adoption. Our insurance solution has helped countless insurance organizations like yours increase policyholder satisfaction, save costs, reduce workloads, and much more.
Watch the video below to see how California Mutual Insurance Company partnered with Invoice Cloud to save 780 hours annually on the reconciliation process and more: