By Ken Kukral
As I finish my 29th year in the insurance business, it is hard to not look back and see how I got here. When I started in the business everything was done via:
– Phone calls
– Copy Machines
– Rate manuals
Then a few years later:
– Fax Machine
– Apple 2e Computer
– Automated rating
– Answering machines
In the future?
– Touch screen walls?
– Mobile applications?
– Data aggregation?
All I know is that you can’t fight the change. You have to embrace new methods of doing business, look for ways to be more productive and find better ways to gather information and put it to good use. The more you can stay ahead of the curve, the better off you will be.
So getting back to my first question, how did we every get anything done in the “old days”? We just used what we had and made the best of it. Our expectations were lower. Everything was paper based. We stayed organized, focus on the task of getting done what needed to get done and worked hard to write business. There was more face to face and phone interaction and we built a lot of trust and loyalty with our business associates.
Now, it might be easier to get things done but now we are expected to get MORE done. Where we might work on 3 or 4 accounts in a busy day, we could be expected to get that much production done in an hour. If you fight the change and expectations, it can lead to stress and dissatisfaction with your career. Get too overloaded and this can increase stress levels too.
So my point? What I have learned is that you have to embrace new and better ways of doing things, but don’t rule out what worked in the past. In other words, use the best of both worlds. While it may be easier to just e-mail a submission over to an underwriter and sit back and wait, why not give the underwriter a call, work a little on building a relationship, talk through the account and get a true sense for if the underwriter wants the account and then submit after getting them the information that will give you the best chance of getting a competitive pricing and terms you are looking for. When the underwriter receives the account, will they have a better sense of what your expectations are? Will they be more compelled to come through for you? Will they get some satisfaction that you asked for their opinion on an account, that you cared what they needed in order to make a proper assessment of an account and that you reached out to them?
Many personal lines accounts and small business accounts have become completely automated in the quote, bind and issue process. For those accounts, you just punch in the information and get the numbers. I am talking more about the medium or larger accounts and the specialty accounts.
Keep this in mind when dealing with clients too. Expectations are changing but I think they appreciate the best of both worlds. How you can integrate those two will determine your success.
What ever happened to microfiche?