Buyer's Guideby Brian Westfall,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: February 28, 2018
If there's one thing that everyone can agree on about insurance, it's that the industry is complicated. From the most basic, stripped-down health insurance policy to the most expensive corporate liability package, every policy has a multitude of details that need to be worked out by agencies, pored over by policy holders and regulated by the government.
Fortunately, just as insurance policies have grown more complicated over the years, the types of software created to help manage those policies have become more sophisticated. This makes keeping track of the various pieces of policies much easier for insurance agencies like yours, so that they can provide better service for their customers and policy holders.
This buyer's guide will explain how insurance policy software can help your insurance agency develop, administer and manage policies, so you can save time and simply focus on your agency's core processes.
This software exists either as stand-alone systems or as a part of a larger suite of insurance software.
Here's how we'll break down our discussion of this software:
What Is Insurance Policy Software?
Insurance policy management software breaks down into two key processes—creating policies and administering/maintaining policies.
Although most insurance policy software will allow you to do both of these things, we've broken down our description of the software into these two key features, since they can look different in practice.
Insurance policy software can provide you with the tools you need to develop new types and tiers of policies to present to buyers. The software will help you design different types of attractive insurance packages, calculate and weigh the costs and profit margins of those packages and keep careful records of all policies that get issues to clients. Some advanced systems even have databases of pre-existing policy templates that you can customize to create the right product for your agency.
Keeping track of insurance policies can be as daunting a task as creating them, which is why the software will help you with this side of your business, too. Tools will help you to provide timely and accurate quotes, handle claims, track customer history and issue bills.
Additionally, this part of the software system can help ensure that your policies are in adherence with all applicable local, state and federal regulations.
Common Features of Insurance Policy Software
|Policy creation||Provides a centralized database that houses all of your agency's policy types, along with a library of templates that you can use to create new policy packages.|
|Policy issuance||Enables you to issue policies to customers more efficiently, making it quicker and easier to provide quotes, calculate rates, create contracts and get them signed; field customer inquiries; and track all policies once they've been issued.|
|Compliance management||Helps ensure that all of your issued policies are compliant with all legal and industry regulations on the local, state and national level.|
|Claims tracking||The key feature of insurance policies is how well they handle policy holder claims, and tools within the software will make this process easier for both you and your customers. Automated filing and cross-referencing will make filing claims and issuing payment quicker and more efficient.|
|Customer portal||Provides an online portal that your customers can access to manage their policies and accounts. This can save you a lot of time and money in customer service phone calls, while also increasing your customers' satisfaction rate.|
|Billing and accounting||Automates the billing of your customers so you can save time and money, while improving accuracy. You can also automate features of your accounting in order to track both overall profits and the profit margin of individual policies.|
Vertafore Agency Platform's interactive policy builder page
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Insurance agencies, because they require so much capital to be on hand, tend to be medium to large sized companies. As such, few insurance policy software packages are designed for small businesses, and many only cater to enterprise-level agencies.
Your insurance agency may fall into one of the following categories with specific software needs:
- Health insurance provider. Health insurance can be among the most complex type of policies, so you will likely want to get the most robust, feature-rich software suite possible. Given the immense body of law surrounding health insurance, you will especially want features that enable you to maintain compliance.
- Life insurance provider. Because of the financial complexities often tied up in life insurance (including, and especially the high payout for those policies), you will want to make sure that you have a system that has strong accounting features.
- Auto insurance provider. The ability to provide a quick quote and easy claims process will be of key importance in this market, since it is so highly competitive amongst consumers.
- Homeowners insurance provider. Similar to auto insurance, you will want to be able to quickly and competitively provide a realistic quote to applicants.
Other factors to take into consideration when picking the best policy management software for your business may include:
- Integration with other systems. Your insurance policy software may be part of a larger, integrated insurance suite, but if it is a stand-alone package you need to be sure that the software you purchase can integrate with other systems you'll be using. You'll need to be able to check policies against your accounting or your customer relationship management (CRM) software, for example, and the two programs must be compatible in order to work together. Make sure you talk to vendors about how well their software will integrate with these other systems.
- Cloud-based versus on-premise software. In the past, most software was hosted by businesses on their own premises. This meant that a business would purchase dedicated hardware along with their software so that they could run the software's programs. Such a process required businesses to have the space to host extra servers, as well as the IT resources and knowledge base to set up and maintain the system. Today, it is far more common (though not universal) to find vendors providing their software via the cloud. This means that businesses have no need to host the software themselves, and instead access it via the internet. This costs less up front and limits the amount of time and money that must be dedicated to IT upkeep. Be sure to check with vendors as to how their software will be hosted.
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