One of the most important decisions you can make at your independent insurance agency is how you will manage your agency's operations. It's not enough to choose an agency management system that looks good on paper—you need to choose one that will actually help your business grow and meet its goals.
If you’re unsure where to start, or have been inundated by options and opinions during your search, read on for a primer on the purpose of an AMS, factors to consider during your search for the right software for your agency, and details on four of the most popular agency management systems.
What is an Agency Management System?
To begin, let’s answer the most basic question: what is an agency management system?
An agency management system, or AMS, is software insurance agencies use to organize their book of business and run operations. Unlike Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, which is primarily used to manage client relationships, an AMS provide insurance agencies with:
- Managing administrative and logistical concerns
- Centralizing records and files
- Automating daily tasks
- Providing operational insights
- Reducing user errors
So whether you are looking for a basic interface or a more sophisticated piece of software, you should focus on the basic functionalities of an AMS, and not the bells and whistles.
Identifying the right AMS for your agency
The first step in choosing an AMS is to evaluate your current processes, technology, and staff, and identify where you can make improvements to any (or all) of these areas.
Agents are the face of your insurance agency and are the people who help you grow your business. Will they need to access data remotely? If so, is this possible with the software you're considering? Will there be more than one user on a shared system? If so, what will their roles be and how many people need access at once?
It's easy to select a dashboard with flashy aesthetics; remember to focus on the system’s core functionality and ensure it can do what you and your agency need it to do.
It's important to assess how an AMS will increase efficiency. Agency management systems should provide features that make agents' jobs easier through capabilities such as automated reminders, notifications for confirmed appointments, and submitting reports and invoices digitally rather than having to print and mail them.
Operational efficiency and system functionalities go hand-in-hand. By streamlining and automating operations, scalable growth is more readily achievable.
Which agency management system is right for me?
There are a number of agency management systems on the market, so if you are looking for a place to start, here is a breakdown of four of the most popular AMS used by personal lines insurers.
A Vertafore product, AMS360 is designed for independent insurance agencies. With guided workflows, document management, and streamlined accounting capabilities, AMS360 provides a good foundation to grow your book of business. In addition, the mobile platform is great for agents on the go.
Created by independent agents, Hawksoft is an AMS that provides independent agencies with data-driven insights and easy data transmission. Boasting a number of API partner integrations, Hawksoft’s highlight is its agency intelligence tool, which monitors industry trends and can help keep you ahead of competitors.
A technologically advanced, yet intuitive and user friendly software, Applied Epic is a flexible, cloud-based tool that provides better visibility across your entire agency. With integrated CRM capabilities, customizable dashboards, and insurer connectivity, its business intelligence tool, which monitors agency performance, is a stand out.
One of the most user friendly agency management systems available, Jenesis is geared toward small businesses. A web-based tool, Jenesis comes with everything from email integration and automated marketing campaigns, to a client portal so your agency clients can access policies with ease.
Choosing the right AMS is a big decision
We know that choosing the right AMS is a big decision, but it’s one that can pay off over the long run. When you're searching for a new AMS, it's important to consider all of the features that will help your agency grow, including:
- User friendly interface
- Claims tracking functionality
- Integration capabilities
- Carrier downloads
Bonus: If you are starting with a leaner team and plan to grow over time, look for an AMS that allows for the easy addition of new employees.
The learning curve for an AMS can be simple or complex, depending on your agency’s needs (and wants). If after reading this, you are still unsure which AMS is right for you, consider talking to your Openly Agency Success Manager who may be able to make a recommendation for which system(s) could work best for your agency—now and in the future.