When Thetis took Achilles to the River Styx to give him the power of invulnerability, she held him by the heels and dipped him in headfirst. As a result, his heels never received the benefits of the magical water. Unfortunately for Achilles, combat boots hadn’t been invented at the time, and when Paris shot an arrow into Achilles’ heel, the legend relating the weakness of the Achilles’ heel was born.
Is distribution the Achilles' heel?
As we all know, most insurance companies rely heavily on independent agents to distribute their products. Unfortunately, this reliance can make for a bit of an Achilles’ heel, and poor distribution can have a dramatic impact on an insurer’s bottom line. In the same way a dam can block the flow of water, causing the river bed to run dry, improper distribution management can harm new product momentum and weaken customer acquisition and retention down the line—even when everything else up to that point works in stellar, Spartan form. (Achilles technically was a Myrmidon, but they were allies, so close enough.)
If you always watch your backend, you can't see your front end
From the top down, it’s easy to see why distribution sometimes is overlooked. Regulation pressures force insurers to keep a keen, unblinking eye on privacy protection and the rights of policyholders. To remain agile and flexible, insurers spend significant time and resources on creating workflows to improve the efficiencies of these critical processes.
Customer demand leads companies to invest extensively in the development of cutting-edge insurance products while tough competition for customers requires crafting bulletproof marketing plans that incorporate multiple platforms. As one of the final stops, cultivating the independent agent distribution channel tends to be out of sight and, therefore—as the saying goes—out of mind.
Correspondingly, in the same way your boss inevitably sees your mistakes instead of your triumphs, all eyes typically only turn to distribution channel management on the “heels” of a system breakdown, an unwanted issue, or an audit that exposes a problem in this area. Therefore, it’s important for insurers to look at this aspect of business on a proactive instead of a reactive basis, and before a small hurdle turns into a major obstacle.
Managed Meant...management of Distribution
Just as with every other insurance process, distribution management can be complicated, and competitive. Fierce arrows fly as producers vie for the attention and reward of being in the top ranks. Only Insurers that are easy to work with, have user-friend systems and interfaces, afford true speed to market and are able to pay commissions quickly can and will garner the attention of top producers.
There are other aspects of distribution management to be considered, as well. Regulations require every agent be licensed along with annual updates must be tracked. Similarly, the myriad forms insurers and producers must maintain need to be sorted, filed and easily accessible. The required paperwork alone can add up to significant barrier to growth if not handled properly.
If you factor in the ever-changing nature of an insurer’s logistical and bureaucratic hurdles at all points along the way (also known as an internal Achilles’ heel), the road to insurance-related victory can seem even farther away at the point of distribution—even though you’ve already come so far.
So what’s the next step?
To protect your heel should you strap on your combat boots?
To my way of thinking, this is where Outline Systems’ ProducerOne product comes into play. ProducerOne provides an efficient, streamlined method of managing the workflow related to insurance distribution, allowing you to remain compliant and retains top independent agents by optimizing things important to them.
The transparency provided by ProducerOne helps you rise above the muck of details and provides a clear view of your distribution process, thus helping you mitigate risk. Our industry-proven technology takes care of document processes and controls, ensuring compliant and well-controlled product delivery. Plus, you can order background checks and license checks while onboarding new producers to ensure all the required information is in order and the information is managed online, efficiently instead of the paper trails normal required.
Through our user-friendly interface, you also can keep track of your distributors and top performers (even your bottom performers). The solution’s analytics and reporting capabilities result in easy-to-understand reports. Then, armed with producer data, you’re able to drive effective incentive programs and promotions right from the ProducerOne platform to ensure everyone stays interested and active in your products. Compensation management capabilities, in turn, keep everyone happy.
By employing industry standard processes combined with and a simple intuitive interface, ProducerOne helps you gain control of one aspect of your business to ensure you accelerate your growth. So, if your distribution management system is in need of a boost, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and contact our team of highly experience insurance industry insiders. At Outline Systems, we have you covered—heels and all.