Knowing that regulatory compliance, customer expectations, and industry technology advancements are frequently at odds, we turned to Lisa Murman, Main Street America's director of business technology, to get her perspective on the challenges. She makes it clear there's great benefit in gleaning insights from a wide range of industry partners.
ACT News: What do you see as the biggest challenge Main Street America has in making sure you're easy to do business with for your various agency and policyholder partners?
Lisa Murman: Main Street America regularly implements enhancements to make it easier for our agent-customers and insureds to do business with us. For example, our 'Agents Only' portal enables agents to quickly write business with us. While carriers and agents compete for customer experience, we must remember that insureds increasingly expect us to deliver a digital experience like companies such as Amazon provide. As we all know, the insurance industry is complex from quoting to regulation, etc. The challenge is to evolve our business models to ensure we offer our products in ways that will meet customer expectations while remaining compliant in a highly regulated industry.
ACT News: How do you ensure that your leadership both IT and business areas understand the rapidly evolving technology landscape?
Lisa: It sounds cliche, but things really are moving faster and faster than ever before. It takes investment in technology since it is embedded in the business. In a highly regulated industry, it is not always easy to keep pace and move at digital speed. Participating in industry groups is helpful. The adage "It takes a village" has never been more important. We can share and learn from each other and hopefully draw on each other's wins and mistakes to keep us moving and evolving through this technology landscape.
ACT News: Are there one (or more) things you see that will be critical for MSA to address in the near future to stay current with agent expectations?
Lisa: Like others in our industry, continuing to evolve the customer experience. We must be able to support our agent-customers and their customers in the way they want to engage, i.e., providing self-service options with fewer questions. From communication to document delivery, customers want choices, and carriers and agents need to be able to support that.
ACT News: You've been involved with ACT for quite a while - What provides the biggest value to you in attending these meetings?
Lisa: ACT facilitates the gathering of all aspects of the industry. Having access to agents, carriers and vendors at the same time allow us to understand and debate topics much more efficiently versus individual discussions. The collective knowledge from all perspectives allows us to understand issues and find solutions more quickly. We also learn about emerging issues. ACT enables large and smaller carriers alike to research and discuss topics at the same table.
ACT News: What is your position on partnering with insurtechs that can provide innovative ways of delivering capability for agents and policyholders?
Lisa: With Main Street America now being part of the American Family Enterprise, we have expanded capabilities and the opportunity to explore the insurtech space. Our collaborative mindset will help us drive customer-focused innovation with the independent agent channel.
ACT News: Independent agents clearly want to stay in the communications loop with their customers to show their value, while insurers have a lot of direct resources for the policyholders. How is MSA working to keep agents in the customer's eyes?
Lisa: At Main Street America, we consider the independent agent as our customer. With that focus, every idea and project is looked at through that lens. The agents' workflow and ease of doing business is always top of mind, whether we are looking to build policyholder portals or offer services to streamline policy processing. We want the policyholder to know their agent should be their point of contact when needed. That said, we work closely with our agents to fully understand and balance customer touch points. We actively support their success since it directly impacts ours.