The following is a guest post by George Robertson.
The insurance industry is all about data. And, it’s not just insurance carriers. Insurance agents and brokers also need to be paying attention to their data.
But, before you analyze your data, you need to make sure your data is accurate. Because if your data isn’t correct, your reports won’t be telling you the full story.
I’ve spoken with many agencies over the years. Many of these agents have told me how the data in their management systems is incorrect.
How do you go about fixing this issue?
There are four major components of making sure your data is correct and stays that way.
- Train and Monitor Staff on Data Input
One area of great concern when it comes to accurate data is data entry.
To start, train your staff on the importance of correct data entry. Explain why you need them to enter data correctly. That the reports you need to make decisions about the agency rely on accurate and complete data.
Most management systems now provide required fields on select data points. By using this feature, you can make your staff input the data you need.
Validity of the information is the next area for verification. Run a report to find out how many clients you have without date of birth, cell phone number, premium, email, and other important data points.
After you identify the incomplete records, assign someone to get the missing data.
- Remove Duplicate or Multiple Entries
Having multiple entries can contribute to inaccurate reporting. This can be duplicate accounts or policy numbers.
It doesn’t matter if your agency has been around for decades or a handful of years. It is likely you have duplicate accounts or policies in your agency management system.
Some systems allow you to merge accounts providing a quick solution to this problem. You need to verify each year if you have duplicate entries and fix the problem areas.
To prevent this issue, train your staff to search for a prospect first. They need to check that the prospect doesn’t already exist or is part of an account with their spouse’s name.
- Verify Downloads
Yes, downloads can be friend or foe. Sometimes, we find that a carrier download might create a few issues.
For example, some carriers might add an extension to the policy number. This is to show the number of terms the policy has been renewed. When that happens, it might create a duplicate policy. If this has occurred, contact the vendor and the carrier to see if they have a solution to prevent this in the future.
As you implement downloads for each carrier, verify over the first 60 to 90 days that everything is working as it should. Appoint one of your staff to be the download expert and verify the data at least once a month.
For commercial accounts, make sure the download is filling in all the data fields correctly.
Verifying downloads is another important aspect of making sure your data is accurate.
- Compare Data
At the end of the year, when a carrier is working on your agency contingency bonus, you want to make sure your numbers match theirs.
One of the first steps is to get an accurate listing of policy data from your carrier. Then, compare that information to the data you have in your agency management system.
To do so, run a book of business report, which is broken down by lines of business. You should verify this data by both policies in force and annualized premium.
Make sure when you run the report, you have the option to select annualized premium.
The data you are getting out of your system is only as good as the data that is going in. Making sure your data points are accurate is the first step in knowing your true numbers.
With over 25 years of experience in the insurance and technology industries, George Robertson brings a knowledgeable perspective to educating insurance agents and their customers on current trends in technology. George serves on the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers (IIABA) Agency Council for Technology, which keeps track of strategic trends that will drive future consumer expectations and business opportunities. His knowledge of cyber insurance, insurtech, social media, search engine optimization, and agency automation brings an interesting perspective to helping evolve the insurance industry. Contact George at georgerobertsonconsulting.com.