NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 23—The Agents Council for Technology (ACT) and the Council for Best Practices, programs of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), have jointly developed a new product to help agencies create more efficient workflows that fully utilize the agency’s technology.
Both ACT and the Council for Best Practices are initiatives where independent agents partner with other segments of the industry to enhance the business operations and use of technology within the independent agency system.
The new interactive tool, The Best Practices Guide to Agency Business Processes and Workflows, helps agents assess where they stand in terms of their current workflows and technology and then provides specific steps agents can take to move to a more efficient and productive working environment. The tool also contains a number of forms and guidelines to help an agency implement a continuous-improvement process and includes comprehensive property-casualty and benefits workflows.
“The ongoing commitment of ACT and the Council for Best Practices is to support independent agencies with the tools to realize business process and technology efficiencies. The Best Practices Guide to Agency Business Processes and Workflows is a terrific member benefit that is being provided to independent agents online at no cost,” says Reg Davis, chairman of the joint ACT/Best Practices work group that produced the guide. “Technology and workflows provide the tools for establishing a strong service and sales foundation. The tool positions the agency’s management to achieve the maximum benefits of the use of the agency’s technology, to improve client service, and to free up more agency staff resources for sales.”
The ACT/Best Practices work group engaged Laura Nettles of Nettles Consulting Network to develop the product with the group’s input. Nettles is a nationally recognized expert in the field of developing effective workflows and business processes for independent agencies.
The Best Practices tool identifies four distinct agency environments—manually automated, process, service and client—and then outlines the characteristics of each level and the steps to take to progress to each successive level of agency environment.“
Ultimately, this guide helps the agency achieve workflows that integrate fully with its technology so that the benefits of that technology are fully realized,” says Jeffrey M. Yates, ACT executive director. “Business process improvement and workflow implementation are ongoing processes, not one-time events. The workbook is intended to be an agency’s guide to continuous improvement.”
“Using the tools provided in this Best Practices Guide requires an openness to change. Agencies and brokers must want to fully use the technology they already have in place,” adds Madelyn Flannagan, IIABA vice president, education and research. This workbook simplifies the transition, but still requires the commitment and discipline by everyone in the agency to adhere to the approved workflows and the use of the computer as the primary source of agency information.”The implementation tools provided in the guide help agencies establish goals, implement internal task forces to develop workflows, analyze progress and monitor staff workload and the implementation of the workflows.
The Best Practices Guide to Agency Business Processes and Workflows is available at www.independentagent.com by clicking on either the Agents Council for Technology tab or the Council for Best Practices gateway.
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.