More Than Just Rating: A Revisit

May 17, 2016

Car technologyIn 2003 then ITC president, Scott Upfield, wrote an article for Insurance Journal about comparative raters. He discussed well-known virtues like finding the right coverage for the right price. But he also talked about what else there is to this vital piece of insurance agency technology.

Scott discussed how the standardized workflows decrease costs and training. How the workflows reduce exposure to E&O liability claims.

He also wrote about how they reduce loss ratios through implementation of data services. These services can include CLUE, MVRs, undisclosed drivers, and credit scores.

As we look back through the more than ten years that have passed since, those things still ring true. While a lot has stayed the same, they've also changed.

Comparative rating systems have become an integral piece of any growing insurance agency. With such an increased importance, their role has also changed.

This technology is no longer 'just a rater.' Comparative raters have transformed into complete sales systems.

Yes, they help you find the best markets. But, they also help you close prospects and manage your agency's sales process.

(You may be wondering why this comparative rater post is on our management blog and not our rating blog. Managing your sales process is an important part of managing your agency. So we decided to include it here as part of our The Modern Agency series.)


Agency management systems are usually used as a client and policy management system. Many organizations do not use their management system for management of prospects.

If the information is not in your management system, you are unable to report upon it. This is where your comparative rating system helps.

When you quote prospects using the same workflow, you can get more than close ratio reports. You can get reports on producer, carrier and overall agency sales performance.

Producer reporting can include close ratios and data entry quality factors. Think lead source, contact method, bound/not bound reasons and email addresses.

Carrier reports can include quoted versus bound reporting. This report shows you how well your carriers are performing for you.

Overall agency reports can include a look at producers, carriers and sales factors.

Together these reports create a direction you can use to focus your sales and marketing.


Your comparative rater is the primary place your producers use to quote business. So, it is important that it can also market to your prospects.

After completing a quote, your rater should provide your prospect with everything needed to make a buying decision. This includes quote information, agency's value proposition, and follow up requests. You can automate all of this.

Marketing isn't done when you close the sale. Your new client should automatically receive information about his or her policy. You can also send agency news, renewal notifications, and policy review offerings when relevant.

You can automate this marketing and use different channels. Think email, text, direct mail, phone, and follow-up reminders. All available to you just by inputting the quote information one time, in one place.

Anywhere and Anytime

When Scott wrote his article more than 13 years ago, smartphones didn't exist. Insurance delivered via the internet was just getting started.

Since then consumer's expectations of their insurance provider has exploded. They expect an agency that can quote, sell and service policies anywhere and anytime.

Your comparative rater should allow clients to quote, bind and service their policies online. Whether it's on a desktop in their offices or on their phones while watching TV at home.

Office hours don't matter as much as they used to. Consumers want to research their insurance day or night via the method that is most convenient to them. They already are.

If you aren't providing quotes online, you are missing out.

The Next 10

Over the next 10 years, customer's expectations will continue to grow. Agent's expectations of rating systems should as well.

Consumers aren't the only ones who can demand anywhere and anytime access. Your rater should provide access to carriers and customer data on the technology platforms of your choice.

Whether it be a management or marketing system, data is the lifeblood of your agency. Your systems should share your data so you can maximize your agency's performance.

Data will become an even larger part of the insurance process. It will improve quote quality and entry. Think court records, vehicle and driver monitoring, and pre-fill data services.

As discussed, the methods that modern consumers use to contact agents have changed. Referral and walk-in traffic is important to many agencies. But, consumers using the Internet has changed how agencies sell insurance.

Agencies used to use a store front and ads in the yellow pages to generate traffic and getting leads. Now, you can generate state and nationwide leads for your agency via your web and social media.

Due to this reach, you need a wide range of carrier options, including preferred, standard and non-standard. Your comparative rater should give you access to these options all in one place. If it doesn't, are you using the right technology?

It is an exciting time to be in the insurance industry. There is opportunity for those who choose to embrace it.

Technology is driving this opportunity. It is appropriate that technology is how you capitalize upon it. Make sure your comparative rating system is ready.

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