Are Insurance Companies Adopting Producer Lifecycle Solutions?


I have spent the last 20 years or so watching and helping in the evolution of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). The journey began while at the largest telecommunications company on the planet, running a team of seasoned architects. Our purpose was to map out the long-term application strategy for the infrastructure. During one of our sessions, the idea to merge Sales and Service applications together took hold, giving us one view of our customers, and IS&S (Integrated Sales and Service) was born. Suddenly, if a customer had purchased a product from us and needed support, we only needed to access one system. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to Siebel Systems, which had added Marketing to the mix, and CRM was born. Now we could manage all customer touch-points from a single application. Do more with less became the mantra! Before long, we were adding real-time analytics, predictive analytics, Cloud processing, Machine-2-Machine learning, Internet-Of-Things, and Artificial Intelligence is about to make all decisions for us. What a wonderful world it could be!

Recently, I took a slightly different direction in my career into the Insurance-software space, focused on Producer Lifecycle Management. Here the “customer” is the agent or agency and the relationships to be managed are between Insurance Carriers and distributors, IMOs, FMOs and Agencies and Agents, and of course, each and every state. I was interested in understanding how much they had learned from traditional CRM and relationship management. How much automation and evolution has occurred? Astonishingly, not much. Discovery after discovery, what I learned is that parts of the world still use Excel, prints paper reports, and manages workflow by literally delivering work items from desk to desk. Some of the biggest and best still struggle with software automation. While McKinsey talks about the “Digital Transformation,” struggles in the Insurance Industry, down here in the trenches it is never more evident as people manage dozens of spreadsheets, pivot tables and multiple systems, individually accessed manually to get the information they need to do their jobs. Keeping hierarchical relationships from Carrier to Agent, for many, is a monumental, manual task. Remaining in compliance with every state rule is arduous, at best. I have found myself back on the ground floor. The good news is that companies, like where I have landed, have figured out that the solution requires a platform, and with the lessons learned from CRM, the trip should be a quicker one.


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