Agency management systems (AMSs) offer independent insurance agencies the technology needed to streamline the agency-carrier relationship. Without them, both producers and customer service specialists waste an enormous amount of time toggling between systems to quote, sell and service their customers. It’s not an efficient way to do business. Undoubtedly, AMSs are central to the success of independent insurance agencies. They are often promoted as the “only” platform/system/technology needed to run a profitable agency.
The truth is an AMS like Epic, Applied or AMS360 is just one – albeit essential – component of a successful business and technology strategy. We have been asked by several agencies why they need a managed IT provider in addition to their AMS. It’s a fair question. After all, agency personnel spends probably 90% of their workday within the AMS.
The short answer is that an AMS will not support, troubleshoot or otherwise manage any other aspect of your technology or security outside of their platform. Here are four things that only a managed IT partner will handle for you.
Network security is not a set it and forget proposition. There are multiple layers to security including next-generation anti-virus, intrusion detection, email protection, endpoint security, monitoring, patching, updates, backups and recovery, etc. Today’s cyber threat landscape is shifting and evolving faster than ever before which is why insurance agencies must lean on an IT partner who has a vast amount of expertise, knowledge and experience in deploying the most advanced security measures to remain compliant and stay ahead of the criminals.
Managed IT providers often serve as liaisons between a client and their other vendors. An example of this is when a client is experiencing issues with their internet. An IT partner (worth their salt) will step in and manage the internet service provider when a client has connectivity issues. Many times this involves pinpointing the issue to determine the root cause of the problem, then working with the ISP for a resolution. The same is true with other software and hardware vendors including your phone system, copier and managed print vendors. Your IT partner is like a conductor, making sure all the moving pieces are working together harmoniously between your AMS and other applications including your banking and accounting software.
When a computer or laptop breaks, a switch becomes faulty, a firewall fails or the printer misbehaves, an AMS is not going to provide support – either remote or onsite – to fix the problem or replace the problematic hardware. Only your IT team or vendor can do that, getting you back to work quickly.
Communication and Collaboration System Issues
Whether you’re a producer or a client service specialist in an insurance agency, your job heavily depends on communication – assisting clients with claims, selling insurance and helping potential clients navigate the myriad of options available to them. The phone and email are the lifeblood of your business and without them, you can’t fulfill your promise to be there for your clients when they need you. Resolving phone system and email problems falls outside the wheelhouse of the AMS. A managed IT company, however, is quite adept at solving these business-critical issues.
With more and more agencies leaning toward permanently adopting work-from-home business models, other collaboration tools including Slack, Teams and Zoom are essential to keeping your remote workers engaged. Who would you call if you were having problems with one of these apps? Who would you call if you had issues with your website? Or your email marketing tools? Hint: not your AMS.
Whether you host your AMS software in the vendor’s cloud or opt to host in a private cloud such as MIS Solution’s Greenlight Cloud, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve got an IT partner who can step in and work to resolve any problems that pop up outside of your AMS’s administration. If you’d like more information on how MIS Solutions can help you keep your promises to your clients, reach out to us here.