6 Reasons Why Your AMS is Not Enough
We as brokers and agents rely on our AMS (Agency Management System) for client information, policies and carrier transactions. We input all of our data into our AMS systems, but when we decide to access our data or report on our operations we see numerous issues.
- Modern Technology: Most AMSs were built over 20 years ago. They are reliable for basic functions but agencies have expanded their operations to do more things; data availability and accuracy has changed dramatically, newer products are created, markets have evolved and newer and better tools have been created to manage and help you advance your margin and productivity. However, the typical AMS has been unable to keep pace with these changes.
- Inaccurate data: If you’re like most brokers, the data in your AMS is far from perfect, and is out of date. Oftentimes, it is updated (at most) once a year at renewal. After extracting data from over 100 brokers Agency Management Systems, we have not encountered a single instance that has possessed accurate or complete data on clients, carriers, operations and exposures. There are two things that are the root cause of this. First, the most widely used AMS do not have the intelligent data validation rules on accuracy, structure and correction. Second, the various people adding data are exhausted with frequent manual re-typing and make common data errors. This has a serious impact on reporting, analytics and KPI’s on people, processes and strategy.
- Platforms as data stewards is an idea that not a single industry has embraced or that has worked out well historically. In every industry, companies aggregate data across platforms into a data warehouse or data-lake and ensure that the corrections are made in one place. This data is then used for marketing, lead generation, visitor logs, call records, email preservation, KPI’s, reporting and other business activities. So why do we think it will be different in insurance? A platform (ex. an AMS) functions well for billing, some process, structure, and regulation. Your clients are in your AMS, your prospects in CRM, your communication is in email, and the list goes on. If your data is a platform, then it's outdated, dis-jointed and not helping you grow, manage or even report accurately. In insurance, we pay to access our data in bulk and the ownership of our data is spread across our platforms without easy access. This is something that I urge brokers and agents to prioritize: get your data together. It's imperative, urgent and should be done now.
- Ownership: Brokers and agents are custodians of their clients' data. You need to own your data. Many vendors retain the rights of ownership to utilize your data, and some even sell the data to third parties. You should be the only organization to access your data, and you should have the final say about how it is used. Once you read the fine print you will be surprised by who owns your data.
- Access: Ownership and access to data is the basic right of a business. We are custodians for our clients. In the insurance industry, we compensate AMS companies to obtain bulk access to our data. As agencies and brokers, you need complete access to your data. It's important to access it on any platform, any device and at any time. Independence of a device and platform are indicators of the technical prowess of your vendor and important for data portability.
- Third-Party Data: Your data is a gold mine of information that you can use to cross-sell, retain customers and grow your agency. Your data, when combined with other third party sources, drives insights and growth. Make sure when you are comparing vendor data and analytics products that you have the ability to combine your data with critical third-party sources.
Written by Abby Biggs