How to Automate the Annual Policy Review Process Using EchoSage

There are tremendous benefits in establishing an annual account review process. These include:

How to Automate Policy Review
  • A positive touch with your client.
  • Uncovering potential coverage gaps.
  • Finding ways to enhance and improve existing policy coverage.
  • Protection against a “failure to provide proper coverage” E&O claim.

The benefits of an annual account review process are well established. The question is, do you have a yearly account review process in place? Moreover, how often do you review every policy in your office?

Annual Renewal Review Process

Over the last few years, I have seen multiple ways that agencies attempt to systematize the process of reviewing and updating customer information and insurance exposures. These include:

  • A form letter mailed out to the policyholder 60 days before the policy expiration. In some cases, data that is already known prefills on the form through mail merge. In other cases, a blank form is sent, and the policyholder is expected to fill in all existing and new information.
  • An email to the policyholder informing them of the impending renewal and asking them to call the office at a convenient time for them so you can take 15 minutes to review the policies.
  • A proactive outbound phone call to the client asking to take a few minutes to review their existing coverages to make sure there are no gaps.

Each of these processes is fine as far as it goes. When I ask agents the success (defined as reviews completed and returned) of each of these processes, they generally tell me the responses are very low.

If you believe, like I do, that Speed is a Value, then it is essential to consider other options for the annual account review process than those identified above.

Speed is a powerful way to enhance your customer experience.

Chatbots to the Rescue

A chatbot is a computer software program that can communicate with people using machine learning techniques.

Personally, I prefer the name “guided conversations.” Based on the interaction with the person in the conversation, the chatbot program guides the conversation based on their response to questions and prompts. Think of a chatbot conversation like a flowchart. If the individual answers the question with “yes,” then the program will automatically take them to part C.

We are seeing examples of chatbots developed and deployed in many industries including banking, social platforms (Facebook messenger), and other organizations that want to provide a faster response to questions and answers.

There are a small but growing number of insurance agents who are utilizing chatbots on their website to help people find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. The largest insurance companies are also creating a chatbot conversational experience for their policyholders.

The EchoSage Platform

I firmly believe in the value of annual policy reviews. And acknowledge the difficulty — at least up to this point — of getting customers to interact with you to review their insurance coverages.

I have been working with EchoSage for the last two years providing advice and support as they develop their chatbot platform.

Personal Lines Renewal Review Package

They have developed a Personal Lines Renewal Review Package that any agency can use to automate the annual renewal review process.

The basic personal lines package currently includes review processes for the following lines of business:

  1. HO 3 HO 5 Homeowners Renewal Review
  2. HO 4 Renters Renewal Review
  3. HO 6 Condo Renewal Review
  4. Dwelling Fire Renewal Review
  5. Personal Automobile Renewal Review
  6. Motorcycle Insurance Renewal Review

Review questions can be customized as part of the setup process for your agency.

Benefits

An agency in the Northeast has been testing the homeowner’s renewal review process for over ten months. Following are the benefits of implementing this process within the agency:

  • Positive client touch.
  • Created conversations with existing policyholders for upsell and round-out opportunities.
  • About 16% full review completion.
  • About 40% of reviews were completed on a mobile device.
  • On average, each review takes less than five minutes to complete.
  • Uncovered four major home renovations not reported to the agency.
  • All interactions are documented, so the agency has better E&O protection.

See for Yourself

The best way to explain how this works is to let you see a review process for yourself. Here are two reviews from the personal lines review renewal review package:

You can also experience a conversation when you click Why Buy EchoSage.

Cost

A one-time setup fee of just $750.00 and a monthly fee of only $99.00.

The $99.00 monthly fee gives you up to 5,000 unique customer renewal reviews. If you go over 5,000, the additional reviews are just six cents each.

The agency can Add/Delete/Change a limited number of questions without incurring additional costs.

As a TechTips subscriber, I have been able to negotiate a $100 discount from the $750 setup fee. Be sure to mention TechTips or my name if you decide to contact EchoSage for more information.

Worth Experimenting

I suspect some agents will object to using an automated platform to engage with current clients in their renewal review. I would just ask, “How successful are you being in engaging with clients? How many clients do you have now that you have not touched in multiple years?”

Yes, some people will still want to talk to you. Are there are a growing number of your clients who would find this type of process fast and easy? Isn’t it worth experimenting?

How does your agency handle annual account renewal reviews? How successful has that process been? Leave a comment below.

Steve Anderson provides information to insurance agents about how they can use technology to increase revenue and/or reduce expenses. He speaks professionally to hundreds of agents each year on the future of technology, the social web, and how insurance agencies can establish their Internet presence.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “How to Automate the Annual Policy Review Process Using EchoSage

  1. Hi Claire. Thanks for your feedback. Following are answers to your concerns:

    1) This is a glitch in this demo conversation. It has been fixed in several production conversations but frankly, we forgot about it in this demo conversation.
    2) There are several layers of answers to the valid concerns you have expressed.
    a. The initial conversations are currently based on ISO form information. Every agency is expected to review and approve the information provided in each conversation.
    b. The setup fee is in place to cover the necessary customization for each agency. There is not (currently) a charge for changes needed over time if insurance companies make changes that need to be reflected in the wording.
    c. It does take time to create conversations customized to specific company forms. However, once that is completed each agency that uses that form can use the same conversation.
    d. If (when?) an integration is available for an agency management system, policy data can be pulled into the conversation to further customize the consumer experience.
    e. We think there may be an advantage for an insurance company to pay to create conversations that are specific to their policy forms and then provide those conversations to their agents. Might it be possible for associations to create conversations also?
    f. Regarding E&O, currently, conversations are reviewed by policy coverage experts to verify the accuracy of the information provided. Ultimately it is the agency’s responsibility to verify the information provided to their clients, which is not any different than what they are (or should be) doing now.
    g. While this article talks about using conversations to automate renewal review, we also believe similar conversations can be created to help employees quickly find answers to common coverage questions. What I call employee knowledge augmentation.

    I hope this addresses your concerns. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  2. I love the concept for EchoSage, but I have some concerns.

    1) Totally minor and more of a marketing thing. The renters example has a glitch on the operating a business from the home. Even if you answer No, it appears to be identified as a yes. It may not give a lot of confidence to potential buyers

    2) Major concern: you do warn that EchoSage has developed the “basic personal lines package.” Not surprisingly, this appears to be based on ISO forms. However, agencies are going to have policies for multiple companies, where the nature of the coverage and the limits for that coverage could be different from the ISO form. How is that handled? Once the review tells the customer that he is covered for a motorboat of a certain value and horsepower, what if the customer’s carrier had a different limit? Now the customer has something in hand telling him he has the coverage, and the agent’s E&O is on the line. Does the agency need to customize the platform and have associated costs? How does EchoSage reconcile the multi-carrier, single-platform issue?

    I have to think this has come up before. Could you share your insights on those issues?

  3. Hi Scott. Our future hope is that management system vendors would open the data in their platforms for use by their clients (you!). We would be able to customize the conversation to your client’s specific policy information (current limits, coverage, etc. that is already contained in the AMS database. The snapshot of current coverage would not be needed as the conversation would include everything they need to know. We could include specific vehicle information on the policy schedule with little additional programming work. We just need access to your vendor platform database. The technology is easy, getting vendors to agree is much harder.

  4. Wes, I think there is also great potential. Answers to your questions:

    1) We hope to be able to work with insurance companies building conversations that are specific to individual files forms. These conversations can then be made available to agents for use with clients.
    2) Yes, the voice can be easily changed. Everything you experienced in the conversation can be customized for the organization.

  5. As an insurance company rep, I see great potential value in this for our agencies. Along with dec page, we send out an “Annual Coverage Survey” with similar questions at renewal and surprisingly receive at a 30% return rate. We in-turn share the responses with agents.

    A couple of questions I would have are:

    – Is this something we could work at a carrier level?

    – Is it possible to change the information voice accent?

  6. Steve,

    This is a great idea. Now only if major Agency Management Vendors like Applied had something like this. Given how management systems are now going cloud based one would think that ideas such as this are more feasible.

    If there was one thing I would like that could improve the customer experience is include a snap shot of the current coverage the client has and draw questions from there. For example instead of saying are there other cars to insure say “Here are the cars you are insuring, do you need to add a new car or delete one?”