4 reasons agency leaders MUST have insurance behavioral data

TLDR; Insurance behavioral data is not a nice-to-have; it’s a need-to-have for agencies who are focused on digital transformation and winning the long-game. Below is why.

“Insurance behavioral data” is such a mouthful.

I wish there were an easier way to say it.

Something that rolled off the tongue.

Left you begging for more.

There’s not. I’ve been trying for the last 37 minutes.

(But I did shorten it from “Independent Insurance behavioral data”…so….progress.)

Give me a few more minutes though. You’ll be asking for even more syllables.

If you don’t know whether you’re collecting insurance behavioral data right now, read this.

In short, insurance behavioral data is…..

  1. The actions of your clients
  2. The actions of your teammates (marketing, sales, service)
  3. The actions of your carrier partners

Here’s why you need to be documenting those right now.

Reason #1: Without insurance behavioral data, you can’t digitize The Relationship

 We’re going to start this section with a little story.

This story is about you, or could be.

And everything in this story is true, or could be.

In our story, you live in Tampa, Florida – a city where construction almost never ends.

It’s early. Like 0-dark-30 early.

You glance at your phone as you’re getting ready and notice that the certificate of insurance you requested last night was texted over, as well as confirmation that it was sent to the certificate holder.

Text is your preferred form of communication. Perfect.

Now you’re all set to start work on that new roofing job that was subcontracted out to you.

You arrive at the site and start crushing a good day’s worth of work.

Like normal, when the heat gets too intense – at about 1:30pm – you call it a day.

Coincidentally (or not?), you get a text from your insurance agent around that time asking if you want to meet and review your insurance. It’s coming up for renewal in 30 days.

Just like you’ve said the past few years….heck yes! Meeting in person is a big deal to you.

Later that night, you’re watching the news and see that a massive storm will be rolling into the area within 24 – 48 hours.

You get a notification from your insurance app with some suggestions on mitigating storm damage at your site and confirming you have coverage for those potential perils.

You turn off the lights and rest your head knowing your backup plan….has your back.

The point is not how amazing these things are.

The point is that they will soon be (and even sometimes are) commonplace.

Every day, your clients are moving from hoping for new capabilities like this….to enjoying them….to expecting them….to counting on them.

Those agency leaders who still rely on paper files, sticky notes or their memory will quickly find themselves behind the eight-ball.

Those agency leaders who focus on intentionally collecting insurance behavioral data inside a system that is structured and designed to store it….will soon find themselves delivering scalable personalized experiences that others can’t touch.

Digitize your relationships.

If you don’t, someone else will.

Reason #2: Without insurance behavioral data, you can’t make data-driven decisions

Is it just me or is being a “data-driven leader” the hot new word of the day?

Yet so many agents following our journey ask me: “So syd, what data should I be tracking?”

Sometimes I wonder when I’m asked that….do they think that just having a bunch of dashboards will automatically result in better leadership? Better results?

I talked to an agency owner last week about their marketing strategy (they have an in-house marketer).

I wanted to understand their expectations for their marketer in 2021 (sometimes agency owners put unrealistic goals on their marketers….or no goals at all). So, I asked: “what is your growth goal for 2021?”

He answered: “20%.”

I replied: “Ok, that’s a big number. What’s that based off of? Have you grown that much in past years?”

He said: “Yes, we have.”

I replied: “Awesome! Well, if you’re already hitting that number without a refined marketing strategy, then we’re in good shape. Where did that new business come from? What products did you sell? And what carriers were those products placed with?”

He paused, looked up at the ceiling and said: “I don’t know. We’ve just always grown that much.”

By all definitions, he is certainly a leader! Keeping his business growing by 20% multiple years in a row. Impressive.

And as I pressed him harder, he did give me some general areas of growth. As an owner, he lives, eats and breathes his business. He certainly has a high-level pulse on what’s happening.

But he is not yet a data-driven leader.

He isn’t taking a magnifying glass to the past.

As a marketer, I *need* my agency owner to tell me what specific products I should be selling, what carrier partners best support those products, the average premium of a solid policy, the average number of policies per client, etc.

I need a more detailed breakdown of past outcomes.

Because “sell more insurance” isn’t a marketing strategy.

From there, I can back into the actions I believe are necessary to reach those specific outcomes.

And as I start executing, I’ll track my actions and learn from them.

Ah ok….so these behaviors (x articles a week, x retargeting campaigns on x channels, x retention campaigns, etc) cause others to engage or react in this way or that way. If I tweak these set of behaviors….I see growth in attention. If I tweak those set of behaviors….I see a decline in attention.

Same for metrics in sales.

Same for metrics in service.

For a data-driven leader, expectations aren’t hopes; they don’t feel like throwing spaghetti at the wall based on generic past outcomes.

Data gives us the ability to set honest baselines and fine-tune individual growth strategies through a rich understanding of the past.

It empowers us to have the right conversations with the right people at the right time to alleviate frictional behaviors holding back our outcomes.

Think of it this way…..

The most valuable real estate in the insurance industry is your marketer’s screen, your sales person’s screen and your service person’s screen.

What can you know from that real estate?

If I asked you right now why and how you sold the amount of business you did, how would you answer?

Reason #3: Without insurance behavioral data, you can’t communicate in real-time with your carrier partners

Let’s take two examples of a real-life situation.

I work for you.

I’m sitting at my desk and I get a call.

Example A

I don’t know who it is because my phone system isn’t hooked up to my agency management system.

I pick up and can immediately feel the tension from the other side of the phone.

It’s Rob again.

He’s calling for the second time about the status of his claim.

“I left a voicemail for the adjuster. Haven’t heard back yet. But I promise you’ll know as soon as I do.”

A few more….tense….words later and the phone call ends.

I think to myself……

*Honestly….I’d be pissed if I was Rob too.*

I send the adjuster another email asking for an update.

The end of the day comes…still nothing.

*Ugh, Rob’s going to be so frustrated.*

The next morning I get a call around 10:00 am:

“Hey, it’s Steve, the adjuster working on that claim for….uhm…..is it Rob?”

 “Yes, it’s Rob.”

 “Yes…ok, great…I’ll be out to the body shop tomorrow to check things out and will let you know.”

*trying to be a good person* “Ok, great, thanks Steve.”

I finally call Rob back with the answer he’s been waiting days for.

Example B

I work for you.

I’m sitting at my desk and I get a call.

It’s Rob! Man, everyone loves Rob. He’s been a customer for years.

Before I pick up the phone, I see he’s recently filed a claim.

It looks like the adjuster will be out to look at the vehicle at the body shop tomorrow.

“Hey Rob! How are you?”

“Oh….just another Tuesday.”

“Awesome! You must be calling about that claim.”

“I am.”

“It looks like the adjuster will be out to the body shop tomorrow.”

“Syd….you are fantastic. That’s all I needed to know. Thank you for being so awesome!”

“Any time, Rob!”

And just like that we’ve created another unforgettable independent agent experience.

Not to mention we saved literally everyone involved….time…..which is….yep, you thought it first: money.

But how?

Agent and carrier connectivity.

Right now, agent-carrier system connectivity is limited to one conversation: was a policy created or modified?

And honestly, it’s a pretty choppy conversation at best.

AL3 data dumps often leave trails of confusion and miscommunication in their wake.

In a world of real-time, dynamic connectivity (hello, APIs), why do we continue to settle for 1980s technology?

Well….stay tuned for the full answer…that’s an article in and of itself.

But partially, because there’s no place inside an agent’s current base system to point those APIs carriers often have or could create.

Your agency management system manages policies.

So, it’s limited to conversations about policies.

But an indie agent platform that manages behaviors, digitized relationships?

There is no ceiling on connectivity.

Reason #4: Without insurance behavioral data, you’ll lose the artificial intelligence battle

I’ll keep this section short.

Remember when people thought social media would never be a space for business owners?

It was just for college kids.

Then it was just for young kids.

Then some older people found it.

Then your grandma found it. (you know because she writes in ALL CAPS.)

That was less than 10 years ago.

Now, it’s a billion dollar market…..fueled by businesses.

Artificial intelligence isn’t a myth.

It’s happening whether you believe it or not.

And the fuel to its motor is data.

Not just What data….Why data.

You have a choice right now. Literally. Right. Now.

Embrace the change and figure out how to prepare yourself to ride it.

Artificial intelligence is going to need volume.

Volume makes predictions statistically relevant….accurate.

Or you can sit there and wait.

By the way, those agencies who chose not to do “that digital marketing thing” are making up a lot of ground right now.

And those agencies who embraced the change…..well…..I think you already know who they are.

The choice is yours.

See if neon is the right fit for your agency.