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Gain More Hours a Day

Unleash the Power of Your Computer - How to Gain More Hours a Day

(Reprinted from Insurance Journal)

Computers should bring efficiency and save a lot of time. But they can actually waste time if you don?t use them properly. Most agencies have an agency management system and a rating system, but unleashing their full potential is another story.

Consider information that is coming into your agency in electronic format, such as emails or attachments. I know of an agency that would receive an email, print it and fax it over to the company and then put a copy in the file. That?s an extreme example, and you?d never do anything so obviously inefficient. But you and your staff may be doing some less obvious things that waste time. Most agents are not using every timesaving feature built into their agency management systems. Here are a few tips to save you time.

Use real time inquiry. Most agency management systems have this feature, where one click will take you directly to client billing, claims and policy information on the carrier?s website. It?s estimated that by using this one simple-to-use feature each CSR can save anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour per day. So, if you have two full-time CRS, that will save anywhere from about 240 to 480 hours a year, plus the time you?ll save yourself.

Enter client information only once for both rating and policy management. Your agency management system and your rating system should be fully integrated. You should only type your client?s name, address and policy information once. If you enter it into rating, then you should import that information into your agency management system ? and vice versa.

Use multiple monitors. Agents and CSRs now need simultaneous access to the agency management system, rating system, real time screens, email and more. Flat-screen monitors are now inexpensive. Having two or more monitors for each computer is a snap, and the times saved will soon pay for the investment.

Build a bank of additional interests and certificate holders. Many agencies produce these documents from scratch, one at a time. Instead, for each binder and certificate you create, add additional interest to the master list in your agency management system so that it?s never typed again.
Imaging/document management: use it wisely if you use it at all. Many agents buy such systems for the wrong reason ? to convert documents into electronic ?paper.? Many agents and CSRs aren?t yet comfortable with going paperless unless they can see an exact electronic copy of a paper document ? for instance, a dec page. But since the dec pages are downloaded to your agency management system, you don?t need images of them. Creating them requires another time-wasting step. Even without a document management system, you can attach scanned or emailed documents to customer records in the agency system. Document management systems can save time, but only if you do careful planning to make sure you?re improving your workflow, not duplicating it.

Gaining efficiency for your agency may take less effort than you think. Add one timesaving feature per month so you don?t overwhelm your staff. Before you know it you?ll be finding an additional one to two hours a day! Freed from administrivia, you and your CSRs will have more time and energy to write new business and give great customer service.

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