DOCUMENT COLLABORATION AS AN INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENT

Independent insurance agents hold an important role in bringing cost-effective insurance products to consumers. Unlike captive or in-house insurance agents, independent agents search the insurance products market to find the proper products and best deals for their clients. However, the independent insurance agency business is crowded and competitive. In 2017, there were about 1,168,900 insurance agents, brokers, and service employees in the US. The relationship between an independent insurance agent and his customer is usually a long-term relationship. As a customer’s needs change and insurance products change, the independent agent must find the best insurance products that fit his customer’s changing needs.

DISPLAYING MULTIPLE PRODUCT OFFERINGS IN REAL-TIME

One of the better methods of sharing with a customer multiple insurance products is to display the products in real-time. Using a collaborative document sharing platform, independent insurance agents can quickly display to customers multiple insurance products, compare each product, provide product quotes in real-time, and allow customers to instantly select insurance products that are right for their needs. A typical agent-customer session could be as follows:

1. Insurance agent uses a PowerPoint or another presentation application to prepare multiple product offerings to compare coverages, deductibles, premiums, and exclusions. He uses Excel or another spreadsheet application to determine the costs and relative savings of each product.

2. In the collaboration platform, the insurance agent opens the multiple product offering presentation and sends a share link to the customer. The shared link is, of course, password-protected.

3. The insurance agent call the customer and asks the customer to join a collaboration session to discuss the insurance product options his can provide.

4. The customer opens her email message, enters the password, and views the product offerings presentation. As the insurance agent presents the product options, the customer may asks “what-if” questions (e.g., What if I increase professional liability by $2,000,000 but eliminate automobile coverage? What would it cost to add $3,000,000 in cyber security? How much more is the policy if I add my daughter’s car including liability and collision?)

5. In response, the insurance agent can share his spreadsheet analysis and show the customer, in real-time, the premium impact of each selected option. The customer is now able to make real-time decisions on the insurance products that meet her needs.

FILING INSURANCE CLAIMS MADE EASIER

Filing an insurance claim can be stressful and difficult for many customers. After an accident has occurred, it can take many telephone calls and email messages for the insurance agent and the customer to properly document and prepare a claim. Document collaboration can make the process less stressful. Using the shared file feature (with password protection) in a collaborative document platform, the insurance agent can share the claim application with the customer, call the customer, create a collaborative session, and assist the customer in completing the claim form. Most customers are not familiar with the insurance claim process. So, an insurance agent who can “hold their customer’s virtual hand” in completing this process provides a huge customer service benefit. The insurance agent and customer can jointly and in real-time complete the necessary information in the claim form. Document collaboration simplifies the claim process so to lessen the stress.

Independent insurance agents are trusted and vital resources for US consumers. By skillfully using document collaboration tools, they help their customers better navigate through their insurance product choices as well as the claim process.

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About the Author.

Nat James is a practicing North Carolina attorney in the Research Triangle Park area. Mr. James has drafted, negotiated, and closed business contracts for clients since 1992. This material represent his observations from past experiences. It is not intended to provide you legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mr. James. If you need legal assistance, seek independent legal counsel by contacting your State Bar or State Bar Association.