Did you hear the news? Better Agency has policy downloads now. This means independent agents can have their policy downloads go directly in Better Agency instead of their agency management system.
This project has been in the works for over a year now, and since announcing it, we’ve had some great conversations with other agents who have all asked us the same questions.
Instead of answering them one-by-one, we thought it would be appropriate to make this article to explain why we’re doing this, and what this means for the independent insurance industry.
The main reason we’re doing this is it is aligned with our company mission and goal: To help independent agents sell $1 billion in new premium by 2024
It’s really that simple. Better Agency will do whatever it takes to help its users reach this collective feat of issuing $1 billion in new premium. We will forge any weapon or tool that allows this dream to become a reality.
With all that said, there are five questions we’ve been getting a lot lately, so here it goes.
Is Better Agency An AMS Now?
For a long while we tried to tell people we weren’t an AMS. We tried to explain that we were a CRM that had downloads. The looks we got from agents is probably the same look you’re making right now as you read this. It was confusing, and agents were having a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea.
I guess when you frame it that way, it does seem confusing. We even had an agent give us the ol’ duck metaphor. “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” I could see his point.
Part of us cringed when we thought about agency management systems because we didn’t want to be associated with them. Let’s be honest, there are large groups of agents who hate their management systems and deal with them the same way you deal with gout in your foot.
I know I didn’t have any favorable thoughts towards the different AMS companies. To me, they were what was holding our industry back. Their abuse of power was something I despised and I never wanted to be mentioned in the same discussion as them. Simply put, they were a hindrance to our industry.
While I haven’t had much of a change of heart, I can say emphatically that there is a better way to do this, and Better Agency can change the archaic business model of agency management systems.
We could take all of the things agents like myself and others hated about our AMS and make something that was the opposite and different. We didn’t have to do things like they did it, we could do it the way we (as insurance agents) wanted to.
So in that new way of thinking, ya, we’re a sales-driven agency management system.
Should there be a difference between an AMS and a CRM? Why not do both? Why not change the definition of what a CRM for insurance agents is? If we break it down, if you strip the downloads feature away from all of the AMS companies, they are primitive CRMs anyways.
I use the term “primitive” because a CRM today is different from what a CRM was in the year these AMS companies were created. Did you know that there have only been two new AMS companies to enter the market in the last ten years?
The market has not been able to keep up with an industry that has evolved at a break-neck pace. When the current day companies were created, there wasn’t any sales automation that existed. Now it’s a staple of any good CRM.
Insurance CRMs without downloads are making the same mistake as these outdated AMS companies. They are thinking about a product only (CRM) and not about the problems that agents today deal with. They aren’t specific enough to our industry, and their lack of vision will have them sitting in the same abandoned boat as a DOS-based AMS. The industry has evolved, however, the current tech providers have failed us.
Better Agency is a modern-day insurance CRM that uses policy downloads to play a high level of offense. We believe our systems should help us put points on the board, throw the ball downfield, or insert any sports metaphor you’d like to signify aggressive sales growth.
It’s a hybrid system that wants to use the data in your agency to trigger new campaigns around sales, service, claims, renewals, and commissions.
So if you want to think about us as an AMS or a CRM, it makes no difference to us. Our goal remains the same. To help independent insurance agents issue over $1 billion in new, trackable premium before 2024. With these tools in the hands of our users, we believe that goal is not only achievable, but it may also be too conservative.
What AMS Features Do You Have?
Better Agency will start with policy downloads as its main feature. This will include downloads for multiple lines of business for personal and commercial lines. The downloads will start the automation campaigns automatically and allow for a hands-off experience in your sales and renewal pipeline.
Over time, there will be added features and enhancements. This includes adding in Acord forms, deeper reporting, an enhanced commission calculator for your agency staff, and agency billing capabilities.
To find out what features are currently released, schedule a one-on-one demo with the Better Agency team today.
To start, Better Agency will have the ability to automatically fire off new automation campaigns with the IVANS data. This means, when downloads enter Better Agency, the built-in campaigns will start.
Campaigns like, “pending non-renewal”, “pending cancel”, “renewal completion”, “cancelation request”, “cancellation completed”, “new business onboarding”, “new business cross-sell”, “policy change”, “claims”, and many other campaigns.
The automated pipelines will update contact stages automatically and the “hands-off” text, email, and task management campaigns will start immediately.
Why Doesn’t Better Agency Just Integrate With The Other AMS Platforms?
Now that you know who Better Agency is and what we’re standing for, I think it’s important to address another question we’ve received a lot. People ask us “why not just integrate with the AMS agents already have?”
It sounds great on the surface, and in the beginning, we wanted to do just that. It was never on the roadmap for us to build out the IVANS integration. In our minds, we wanted to develop the greatest insurance CRM independent agents could ever ask for and integrate seamlessly with the AMS platforms.
There was a big problem though, the AMS platforms. To give credit, there were two different AMS companies who wanted to integrate, HawkSoft and NowCerts. We’re glad they thought differently.
The other companies essentially gave us the “two-bird salute” and told us to “beat it”. One very famous AMS platform went as far as to say “if people spend time in Better Agency, they won’t spend time on our platform.” Do you see the problem?
Other options presented themselves to us and we explored them only to discover that they were very limited in what they could do for an integration. Some platforms were built so that they could only push the data out. They couldn’t receive the data back in.
Some looked great on the surface but when you pop the hood and have a look underneath, you discover a lot of technological duct tape and poor infrastructure.
Translation, their systems were horribly built and felt like they could fall apart at any moment.
We learned very quickly that the term “integration” means a lot of different things to different people and that “two-way” integration was still a far way off for many in our industry.
There’s also the economics of it all. To create a limited, poor, clunky integration with some of these providers, it would cost us on average $25k – $50k for each integration. The costs are mainly centered around developers and technology design.
There is also the little-known secret that the AMS companies demanded money just to say we were a “partner”. Take $50,000 and multiply it by all of the AMS companies. You start to understand how bad of a business model it is to integrate with a company that has poor technology, limited capabilities, and is expensive on top of it.
We knew there was a better way. Instead of integrating with them, we thought to ourselves, “why not just go get the same data and build it right?” Make no mistake, it’s not cheap, and the cost to build is on par with integrating with the AMS companies collectively.
However, we can provide a deeper integration with limitless possibilities and more capabilities, We didn’t have to rely on other systems and clunky technology.
We weren’t at the mercy of other vendors who can change, sell, or dissolve their technology. We could do it the right way, the way agents needed it to be done.
Our plan to integrate with other agency management companies doesn’t change. We believe there many opportunities to integrate with other systems, and our core belief of “industry connectivity” doesn’t change.
We will pursue more integrations with companies because we know that many agents will only use Better Agency for the CRM and sales automation components.
How Is Better Agency Different Than Other Agency Management Companies?
Did you know that Better Agency is the first agency management company to come into the market since 2015? Think about how fast technology changes, trends emerge, and problems evolve.
Six years can feel like six hundred years when dealing with technology. Better Agency wanted to solve these unique problems that we felt were being ignored at large. Issues like “connectivity”, “data”, “sales automation” were just some of the big problems we wanted to tackle.
We want to connect with as many software solutions as possible so that agents can have a workflow that is simple. While we can’t have a direct integration with the many thousands of companies that exist, we did build out the most comprehensive public Zapier connection to date, and it’s free for users.
Unlike other companies, we prioritize sales growth. Let me clarify because that’s a pretty bold statement. Agency Management Systems were never built to become “sales machines”.
The core function of an AMS is to record and hold data. As an agent, I can log into a traditional AMS and see a customer’s policy limits, the contact information, and a list of notes from previous interactions.
This is the “meat and potatoes” of any AMS. What makes Better Agency different, is that while it does all of those same things a traditional AMS does, it also uses that data to play a higher level of offense in regards to sales.
When policy downloads happen, it will trigger your sales campaigns automatically. Imagine a scenario where you write a mono-line home policy but haven’t yet cross-sold the auto insurance, with Better Agency, the system will intelligently initiate your cross-sell workflows automatically.
Perhaps you want to trigger certain types of automation for your renewals based on different variables. With Better Agency, the system will use the policy data to automatically communicate with your insureds prior to their renewals to help you retain more of your customers.
But that’s not all. We don’t believe that an agent’s job starts and ends with just “sales”. If we’re being honest, we know that sales is only 50% of the job an agent does.
What about service? Better Agency also uses the policy data to simplify service in the agency. This can be anything from policies that are pending cancellation for billing or non-renewals, to asking for more service based Google reviews.
Being able to automate the entire customer lifecycle is what separates Better Agency from any other AMS or CRM on the market today.
What About Contracts, Onboarding, Data Migration, Setup Fees, etc?
Better Agency provides month-to-month service. We do not make customers sign any contracts. This means you can sign up for a 14-day trial of Better Agency and if you don’t love it for any reason, we’ll shake digital hands and wish you the very best.
Likewise, if at any point you want to leave Better Agency we’ll provide you a digital file of your data that you can take anywhere else and we will terminate it from our servers.
We don’t believe users should be locked into any sort of contract. Our goal is to make you a fan for life and the only way we’ll do that is by providing the solutions you need to sell more premium.
Better Agency does not charge a setup fee or any other fees to upload your data. Our Customer Success Team will help you migrate all of your data over and map it to the correct fields inside Better Agency so that you can start your automation campaigns immediately.
No setup fees, no onboarding costs, free data migration, one-one-one onboarding and consultation. These are some of the key components that set Better Agency a part.
How Do I Get Started With Better Agency?
Getting started is easy. Better Agency allows you to test drive the system with a 14-day trial. Once you’ve started your trial you’ll be prompted to schedule your one-on-one onboarding session with our Customer Success Team.
On that call, we’ll identify your goals and help you get started with the “quickest win”. We will help you upload any data you have and suggest campaigns you should start with to help you reach your goals.
You will also be invited to our Facebook user group. Every day our Customer Success Team provides multiple training calls for you or your staff to join.
Our intentions are to help you achieve enough wins within your 14-day trial that you’ll gladly stay. We’re proud to say we’ve successfully onboarded 72% of all trial users in the last 12 months.