6 Common Mistakes Independent Insurance Agency Owners Make
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“A person who makes few mistakes makes little progress.” Author Bryant McGill is spot-on with this quote. Without mistakes, how will you ever improve?
As you’re continuing to improve your independent insurance agency you’re bound to make mistakes. Some happen while conducting onerous tasks, like dealing with an audit, or perhaps you just have a brief mental lapse, and forget to press ‘send’ on an email.
Mistakes are common!
But some of these errors might be detrimental to your agency. And what’s worse; you might not even know you’re making them.
We’ve compiled a list of the six most common mistakes that independent insurance agency owners are making, in descending order, that could be hampering growth or adding extra manpower to your business.
6. Getting Comfortable or Complacent
Generally, practice makes perfect, but often the constant repetition of daily tasks leads to the opposite of perfection. We get comfortable or even lazy—perhaps without even knowing it.
Just like brushing your teeth or tying your shoes, you deal with the inner workings of your agency multiple times a day and sometimes are completing these tasks on autopilot. This can lead to disastrous errors in your agency’s security, budget, reporting, or even the relationships with your policyholders.
Seek out opportunities like conferences and workshops to improve your skills and to avoid falling into this comfortable routine.
In addition, years of education, training, and experience are certainly something to be proud of but can lead to complacency.
Pride and smugness are two different things. While your expertise is well earned, don’t use that to skip, rush through, or ignore anything. That document you speed-read might have some critical information on it.
5. Disregarding Password & Log-In Information
Almost everything we encounter on a computer is asking us to sign in or create an account. And it’s not very secure to type the same, “p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d-1-2-3” into every login. Insurance agency owners deal with a plethora of different password and login information on a daily basis, all with slightly different multi-factor authentication processes.
Keeping this updated is a challenge, and it’s easy to lose track of this information even when using a VPN or password organizer, but doing so can delay implementing a process, or exclude you from acquiring or protecting vital information.
Sure, one misstep might just mean you don’t receive a coupon for office-related necessities—which stinks but is manageable in the grand scheme of things. But this common mistake could also be catastrophic to the security of your and your clients' data.
4. Neglecting Essential Training
When the workload is piling up and all your staff is already working overtime, typically the first thing that’s skipped (besides sleep) is training or ongoing education.
Neglecting training for yourself and your staff seems like the quick fix at the moment, but will eventually catch up to you.
Since there doesn’t seem to be enough time for training, your agents are forced to find a way to figure out, say some new software, on their own. But that actually ends up taking more time than the training would have.
Remember that you’re never done learning. You can always improve yourself and your agency and the expertise of your team to better your client relationships.
3. Overlooking Your Billing & Payment Structure
Once upon a time, if your policyholders were paying their premiums and your staff received their paychecks, everything was right with the world. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple anymore.
Every client will inquire about the ‘cost’; therefore you have options for every budget in order to satisfy the majority. Your agents are working together more so the ability to split commissions is essential. Also, don’t forget that you offer pay incentives for completing certain tasks. All this complicates the billing and payment structure.
Overlooking any of your agency’s finances is a mistake you and your agency literally can’t afford to make.
2. Not Keeping a Schedule & Sticking To It
There really is no excuse for this oversight, yet it happens constantly.
The thought of not having a schedule or calendar for tasks, assignments, and meetings is concerning, and yet many independent insurance agency owners find themselves experiencing this in the most inopportune moments.
Sure, sometimes your memory holds the deadline in your mind, or you know you’ll remember to call back that new endorsement partner right at noon on Monday, but distractions are inevitable, and it’s not worth the risk to rely on your memory.
Even if you keep a schedule with specific days and times, another mistake owners make is not sticking to it. It’s one thing to be forgiving, but it’s another thing if your team is repeatedly missing deadlines. Eclipse software makes it easier to get organized with integration—it seamlessly integrates with common organizational platforms like Outlook and other third-party partners that streamline agency operations. And, it's not just calendar and organizational integration that Eclipse helps agencies with, it's fully capable to add general ledgers, financial outlook, and tracking budgets. It's the Swiss Army knife of software!
1. Doing it All Yourself
Just because you own an independent agency doesn’t mean you’re alone. You have a team who is there to help you.
The most common mistake independent insurance agency owners make is doing everything themselves. This is not necessary and usually becomes overwhelming and exhausting.
You are certainly skilled enough to handle it all, but an assistant might be more aptly suited to respond to routine emails, one of your staff should handle the retrieval of data, or an online client portal would be better to answer policy and general customer service questions.
Delegating certain things to your staff or an outside party will only help your agency (and your sanity).
Insurance agency software, like Eclipse, is designed specifically with this in mind. It can help you take care of data storage and reporting, billing and payroll, as well as customer relations, safely and securely, so you don’t have to do it all yourself.
Help for Independent Insurance Agencies
Remember, to “Err is Human”, but correcting or avoiding these six common mistakes can help your independent insurance agency succeed.
Read the blog, 5 Advantages of Eclipse Management Software for Your Agency, or feel free to contact us to learn what Eclipse can do for you and your agency. We're just as committed to your success as you are. We're here to help.
Topics: Independent Insurance Agency