The Truth behind being an Independent Insurance Agent and Technology
Many independent insurance agents misunderstand the notion that they believe they are fully independent. Many Agencies have gotten away with giving low commission contracts to these agents without providing substantial support for leads, quoting, and illustration design so that these individuals can be successful. An Agent can find this out by seeing who their upline is for a certain company (Example: AIG or Mutual of Omaha), and then decide if they want to continue that relationship, or see if other alternative uplines will provide the support they are seeking. If switching uplines is the best decision, the new upline would request from the current upline a release for that independent agent to represent that same contract with that same carrier/company, but the new upline would be paid the commissions for the services they provide to that agent.
An agent can contact an insurance carrier like AIG or Mutual of Omaha, etc. and the carrier will tell them whom their agency/upline is. The agent can then decide if they want to change their upline by making the request for a “release” from their current agency and request a new agency. The new agency/upline would then be responsible for paying commissions for the new services they provide
Technology and Insurance
The insurance industry is incredibly antiquated in regards to technology. The reason for this is that a very small percent of the insurance agent salesforce aspired to be insurance agents when choosing their1st career options or academic concentrations. Most have found themselves in this industry because of the high commissions and unlimited earning potential… The point is that very few with knowledge of the whole picture of coding, networking, and development find themselves in this industry.
In the insurance industry, one of the major struggles of an agency while first being developed is the harsh reality that they have to decide on what company to use when building a simple Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Database to manage their agency. The numerous discussions I have had with “experts” have advised me that it is not possible to merge on the same database an E.R.P. system with a C.R.M system. I have inquired what technological expertise these individuals possess. And from the answers I’ve received, it was the equivalent of a 2-week crash course on how to sell the advantages of that specific database; they received a certificate.
Database design is a skill as much it is an art. To fully understand the history, one would have to go back in time to the days of COBOL, Fortran, and even the development of PHP in the mid-90s. In my youth, the local University provided me access to a Silicon Graphics computer. The great thing with using MS-DOS back in those days is that I could hide anything I wanted on the computer from my father. He thought I was playing Dinosaur games or Mavis Beacon, in reality, the second he turned his back I was launching mIRC (Inside joke to the I.T. World). Database design in 2020 uses a combination of technological musts that have to be understood. To even start the notion of building your own database, you need a host, a very good understanding of networking and DNS record creation, IP address and rotation depending on email needs, and the list goes on and on. Just like a thumbprint, every coder has their own unique style to how they write. Does the individual specialize in MySQL or MariaDB (There is a difference!).
In the current environment the options are endless. Automated services can be generated using a bot. No joke, with a delivery system bot you even have a plethora of options ranging anywhere from a portal build using Django to delivery using Pandas. (I can’t even if I wanted make this up) Instead of using MariaDB this hypothetical developer likes automating account creation using Selenium with data from a MongoDB database on an AWS Server. This might sound Greek to most, that is why most agencies in our industry pay exorbitant amounts and decide to go with a company that grants access to their database for $40 all the way to $150 PER USER each month!
At Hombolt Inc., we have developed and built our own proprietary E.R.P. system with a C.R.M. component that is tailored specifically to the Insurance Industry. I strongly believe it is one thing to allocate the leads to the agents in a timely fashion, and it’s just as important for the agents to be able to disposition those leads with the user-friendly capabilities of a beginner. Our database has the complexity of a top-level database offered to the market. What makes it unique is how user-friendly it is for all of our agents. Our database is designed for Independent Insurance Agents. It is a one stop shop for an agent to quote, see payroll, read email correspondence, access agent chatroom, complete agent contracting, social media, and receive Prospect Agent and Prospect Client direct leads with a user-friendly dropdown menu choice for a disposition that calculates their sales ratios for them….everything they need! It is the definition of efficiency and effectiveness in one place.