Consulting

Choosing the right type of consulting depends on both your immediate and long-term goals as you work toward integrating new technology into your insurance agency. Steve provides On-Site Consulting, Rent a CIO, and Agency Technology Audits.

On-Site Consulting

There are two primary ways for us to work together. Which particular one will be best for you and agency will depend on both your immediate and long-term goals as you work toward integrating new technology into your operation.

Per day: I will quote you a per day fee plus any related travel expenses from Nashville, Tennessee. This option would be appropriate if you know what you need and are looking for specific help on a particular problem or issue that is more short term in nature.

Working by telephone is always an option for those situations where an office visit is not necessary. I can provide you with an estimate of the cost.

Sufficient lead time is required to determine the correct combination of sessions, compare calendars for proper scheduling and prepare an necessary agency-specific materials.

Per project: If you already have a specific project(s) in mind I can work with you to make sure the project is completed to your satisfaction. The cost would be determined based on my estimate of the amount of time necessary and the complexity to complete the project. I would provide you with an estimate of the total cost after we review together the objectives and timetable.

To begin, contact me for scheduling and more information.

Rent a CIO

A Chief Information Officer (CIO) provides an agency with a strategic view of how new and existing technology can be integrated into their operation to help solve pressing business problems. Too many agencies implement technology without a clear understanding of what good it will do. Most agencies desperately need this type of direction, but simply can’t afford the position. That’s where our “Rent a CIO” program comes in. You basically hire Steve as your CIO on a part time basis.

This generally requires a longer-term commitment on both of our parts, with a minimum engagement. The cost would be based on the amount of interaction and time needed to accomplish your goals and would take the form of a flat monthly retainer for the agreed upon period of time. Sufficient lead time is required to determine the correct combination of sessions, compare calendars for proper scheduling and prepare any necessary agency-specific materials.

To begin, contact me for scheduling and more information.

Agency Technology Audits

Keeping up with all the changes in automation and technology to keep your agency alive and well continues to be a time consuming and difficult job. There are constant, new changes that affect how you run your agency. These changes are not going to slow down… if anything they’re going to speed up, especially over the next few years. The pace of change is going to go faster, not slower.

How are you supposed to keep up with technology changes, and sell insurance and run your agency? It’s very difficult! The challenges you face are many. Here are just a few:

Are you spending too much on technology or not enough? … Do you need to purchase a new agency management system… If so, which one?…Or, are one of the new ASP based systems right for you?… How well are you managing the use of email in your agency? (E-mail is one of the biggest productivity drains in an agency)… What are you doing about prospecting using the Internet?… What should your agency website look like?… Are you going to provide customer’s access to their information through your website? … What are the benefits and costs?… What about electronic document management? … How are you going to handle carriers turning off the paper? … How are you going to keep up with all the changes?

These are the questions that you must answer to remain competitive in the coming years. Finding the right information to be able to answer these questions takes time. And, time is running out. Yet, the very survival of your agency is at stake.

Having been an independent agent for more than 30 years, I know you can make wise decisions to insure your agency prospers and grows in the coming years, if you have the right information. That’s where my Agency Technology Performance Audit comes in.

The Agency Technology Performance Audit gives you an unbiased view of where your agency stands now in its use of technology along with an analysis of where you need to head in the future.

But before I tell you more about how you can get an audit quickly and inexpensively, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself and how I came up with the ATA.

My name is Steve Anderson and as I said, I have been an independent agent for quite a while. Working as a manager and producer in two different independent agencies (one belonging to my father-in-law!) has provided me with a practical understanding of agency internal operations, marketing and sales management, and how an agency can most effectively use technology.

I wear many hats these days. I am Executive Editor of The Anderson Agency Report (TAAR), a monthly newsletter dedicated to providing independent agents with the insurance technology information they need to more effectively manage and grow their agencies. I am also on the editorial staff of Rough Notes Magazine where my column, Agency Marketing Technology, appears bimonthly, I serve as Dean of the Technology Department for the IIABA Virtual University and am a member of the national faculty for the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors.

I created the Agency Technology Performance Audit based on my experience in hundreds of agencies to help you understand where your agency stands in its use of technology. Six important areas of agency operations are examined.
These include:

  • Management: What is the overall attitude toward automation in your agency? Are you are using your investment most effectively?
  • Administrative: How you are using your automation resources? Are you are getting the most out of what you have? Are your procedures up to date?
  • Infrastructure: What is the status of your network? Is your hardware ready for the new software coming? What upgrades will you be facing in the next 12 to 24 months and are you budgeting for them? How are you handling backups?
  • Marketing & Sales: Are you effectively using technology to help you increase agency revenue? A review of proposals, company submissions, and automated marketing activities is conducted.
  • Customer Service: How are you using technology to retain your clients? Are you maximizing your automation to provide better (timelier, more responsive) customer service? How can you streamline existing workflows to maximize productivity?
  • Communications: How are you communicating within your agency, with your customers, with your companies and with other business partners? How can you make best use of the Internet? How can an internal Intranet streamline your operation? Should everyone have access to the Intranet? Are you ready for VoIP applications?

During the audit I will spend a day and a half in your agency. During the process I will review your current environment, interview various members of your staff, and ask many questions. I will sit and observe a selected number of staff as they process their daily work. You see I don’t believe what people tell me, I want to actually see how they process their daily work.

I then take my observations and produce a written report that provides you with a score in each of the above areas along with a detailed description of my observations. The end of the report includes my recommendations for what you should be planning for in the future. These recommendations are listed in order of priority with the most return for the least expense listed first. These recommendations provide you with a roadmap you can use to plan for the future. The cost of the audit is $5,000 plus reasonable travel expenses.

You owe it to yourself to to make sure your agency will be one of the ones that survives the next several years. And, if you are ready, the next several years promise to be a great opportunity for you to grow your agency and prosper into the next century.

Contact me to schedule a visit to your office. Find out quickly if your agency is at risk and what you can do to ensure you are in the best possible position to be successful now and in the future.

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.