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Using Data to Improve Your Agency's Business | For Agents | Pie Insurance

Your insurance agency generates large quantities of data every day, through every activity. If you’re not using that data to drive your agency’s growth, you’re missing a vital opportunity.
Using Data to Improve Your Agency's Business | For Agents | Pie Insurance

Your data tells a story

Data is everywhere. Globally, humankind creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day—and this estimate is from before 2021, when worldwide internet use jumped by 10 percent. Businesses of all sizes are beginning to see the benefits of investing in data and analytics to increase sales, productivity, and profitability. Insurance agents and agencies are no exception. 

You may not realize it, but your insurance agency is also creating its own veritable goldmine of data each day. Think about all the information you collect and use throughout the course of doing business: personal information on your prospects and clients, information on each employee and producer (including their productivity), and information from your insurance carrier partners and the ever-changing products and rates coming from them, along with many other sources. It’s no wonder the insurance industry is a top target for cybercrime thanks to how rich of a data source it is. 

If your processes are still mostly manual and taking place on written paper files, it may be hard or impossible to extract value from your insurance agency’s own data. Luckily, many insurance agencies are going digital, especially for the most foundational technology (agency management systems, for example). The story your agency’s data tells, however, goes far beyond what you’ll find in your agency management software. To truly reap the benefits of your own data, your agency will need to modernize every aspect of your business and know how to use the data you create and collect for insights that will help your agency grow. For specific ideas on which types of technical upgrades will help you do this, see our blog on the best types of tech tools to implement at your agency.

Three ways to use data to improve your agency

If you like the idea of putting your agency’s data to good use but don’t know where to start, here are some suggestions. Each of these presumes that your agency already has some basic technology and processes in place so you can accurately track and access the data needed to move forward.

Use data to drive business decisions

As an agency owner, you know your business, your employees, your producers, and your clients best. You may make decisions based on your experience and gut instincts. And, if you’re lucky, these decisions turn out to be the right ones. But that’s not always the best practice. Research shows decisions made based on data have a much higher chance of success than those made purely on instinct or feelings.

Human perception is a funny thing. There are a litany of cognitive biases we may hold at any time that can affect our ability to make decisions based purely on the facts. Because of this, having accurate historical data to reference when making decisions is one of the most important ways you can ensure your business is moving in the right direction.

Some examples of data-driven decisions include: 

  • Deciding which producers to hire and retain based on their sales performance and customer retention data
  • Choosing which carrier partners to stick with based on commissions and profitability 
  • Choosing to expand into new lines of business, or new territories, based on data indicating the potential for growth

You can imagine in each of these examples, it would be possible (and maybe even normal) to make decisions based on your own thoughts and beliefs. However, making decisions based on data you’ve collected is proven to result in more profitable business outcomes.

Use data to create visuals that communicate with internal and external audiences

You already know (or at least can imagine) how much data is being generated every minute of every day by each person in your agency. Assuming you’ve moved beyond paper and are at least as technologically advanced as spreadsheets, you also can see how the raw data won’t mean much to people. 

Hopefully, you’re even further along your digitization journey and instead of spreadsheets are using some commercially available or bespoke systems to manage your data. While some are better than others, any system you have should include ways to visualize your data via dashboards, charts, scorecards, or similar. 

In some cases, it may be smart to hire an analyst or graphic designer to take your raw data and create compelling visualizations. By creating easy-to-digest visualizations, you can share data with your employees, producers, carrier partners, prospects, clients, and the general public. You can use data to visually communicate everything from how and why your agency makes the decisions it does, to valuable industry insights that can boost your thought-leadership status within the insurance industry.

Share you data to build producer, client, and channel-partner trust and loyalty

Knowledge is power, and sharing knowledge with other stakeholders creates an equity of power that builds trust and loyalty. With all the data you’ve collected, and possibly visualized, being transparent is the next step in using data to grow your insurance agency. 

Even if you’re making decisions based on data, the reasons behind those decisions can seem opaque to outsiders. Rather than keeping your data in a black box, locked away from view, sharing it with others can improve relationships and lead to stronger business from a sales and productivity standpoint. Sharing data can also lead to greater trust and loyalty from all angles of your partnership—your employees, producers, clients, prospects, and carrier partners. For example, rather than simply terminating a relationship (whether it’s with an employee, producer, or insurance carrier), presenting the data behind that decision can allow the other side to understand your reasoning and know that it’s based on data rather than personal opinion or biases. 

As an insurance agency owner, these tips on using data to grow your business can lead your insurance agency to greater productivity, profitability, client and employee retention, and growth. If you’re looking for a deeper dive into how you can use data in your sales process, and what data to pay attention to, check out our blog!

Thanks for reading our educational resource! Any above reference to a specific company, method, or product is meant for educational purposes only and is not specifically endorsed by Pie.