As the pandemic continues to fuel the adoption rate of digital technologies throughout the independent insurance agency channel, principals are seeking to strike the right balance of meeting the on-demand needs of their clients, while retaining the human touch that differentiates them from direct channels. Many agencies are finding success in adopting systems that allow clients to self-service 24/7, freeing staff to dedicate time to client education and advisory-based sales.

“My clients like to know they can call my office and get a real person to service them.”

Sound familiar? Clients may appreciate the personal service, but the reality is their needs are not limited to the hours your agency is open. Consider the parallels to online banking. Community banks and credit unions have seen widespread adoption of online banking through their websites and mobile apps while also servicing their customers at the local branch and phone banks. Banking customers expect the flexibility to conduct business how, when and where they want, and have little patience to wait for simple transactions.

Today’s insurance clients are also coming to expect easy access to their policy and claims information, as well as features such as proof of insurance, insurance ID cards, the ability to request coverage changes and more. For many, this is already table stakes, and your agency may be one disappointing experience away from losing them to someone who is further along in providing quick and easy access to self-service. Handing them off to the writing company in lieu of using technology for account servicing may get them what they need, but at some cost to the value of the client-agent relationship.

Client portals also offer benefits to the agency, beyond winning (or not losing) business because you offer this service tool.

  1. Cuts down on email and phone calls, saving valuable time for your staff to conduct more meaningful, income-generating business activities.
  2. Allows the agency to communicate information to the client.
  3. Securely and quickly share documents in a secure manner, minimizing E&O exposure

Implementing a client portal on your website does not have to be a giant undertaking, but there are considerations before choosing a platform to add to your agency’s tech stack. Does it integrate with your agency management system? Does it provide the essential tools? Does it offer personal and commercial lines information? Does it offer a mobile app? Are you able to customize the portal with key elements of your brand? Understanding what is important to your agency’s unique needs should drive your client portal decisions.