Zack and I were in Cleveland this week for Elevate 2018. I spoke last year and knew immediately after I stepped off the stage that we should go back this year. So we did.

Here’s a really bad picture of both of us to prove it!

Elevate 2018 and the state of the insurance industry (Jeff and Zack)Elevate is a unique conference full of forward-thinking insurance folks, big ideas and next-big-thing conversations. There’s a certain spirit there. No doubt.

But, after the dust settles and caffeine wears off, what does it all really mean?

Connecting the dots

A few weeks ago, I had a call with an insurance agency manager. She was frustrated.

Her legacy agency management system doesn’t “talk to” other systems. So, she hired a developer to build a custom solution on Salesforce. It failed. She then tried building a website on her own using Squarespace. That also failed.

Her goal is simple enough. She wants to use Calendly, PandaDoc, website chat and other slick tools just like we do at Forge3. It’s the future (present).

However, she’s stuck in mumbo-jumbo-techno-land trying to create the ultimate, super-connected solution.

A common problem

While it’s easy to point the finger at the insurance industry and its legacy agency management systems, slow-to-adapt carriers and aging workforce, the reality is that ALL industries suffer from some degree of disconnectedness.

For example, I was talking with my brother-in-law last week while on vacation. He’s a cardiologist who just opened a new practice in Virginia. He has the same issues.

Build your amusement park

You may think that the ideal solution would be to have one mega-tool that does everything. I don’t think so.

Your competitive advantage is being able to quickly adapt and embrace the new stuff. Big, all-in-one tools NEVER move quickly enough and often do an average job at everything rather than a great job at a few things.

During Jeff Roy’s (CEO of Excalibur Insurance Group) amazing keynote, he suggested that agencies build an “amusement park” full of different rides (tools). It’s a great analogy.

For example, if you’re looking to streamline the proposal acceptance process, find a tool (ride) like DocuSign, HelloSign or PandaDoc (what we use) and add it to your business (park). Do the same for other aspects of the business until your park is full of rides that create the ideal customer experience and workflow.

By the way, thanks for the Clickable Coverage shout-out, Jeff! 😊

Elevate 2018 and the state of the insurance industry (Jeff Roy)

Talk to me, Goose (Alexa)

Here’s a quick example…

Alexa and other voice-enabled services are becoming a thing. It’s already impacting the world, but how will it impact the insurance world? I don’t know yet. Nobody does.

Will people yell “Alexa, what’s the best insurance around here?” while dressing their kids, scrambling eggs and pouring morning coffee? Maybe, but probably not.

The solution, if there is one, is still down the road. However, when it becomes clear, wouldn’t it be nice if you (or one of your vendors) could adapt and embrace it as a ride in your park?

Of course it would!

Some suggestions to stay ahead of the game

1)
Follow people who understand this stuff. If you’re reading this, that’s a start! Also, attend conferences like Elevate, learn about what’s coming and stay engaged in the conversation with others in the space.

2)
Partner with vendors and companies who “get it.” There’s a reason we built ActiveAgency on WordPress…the most popular website platform on the planet. In doing so, we’re able to very quickly adjust and adapt to anything that comes now or in the future. It also allows us to more easily “connect” with other leading vendors in the space.

On the flip side, if your vendors are using old, proprietary solutions that make it difficult to do what you want to do, start doing some research. There are likely better options.

3)
Be a student or find one within your agency. It’s not your daddy’s agency anymore! The world moves faster. Successful businesses are those that understand what’s happening, distill it into bite-sized tasks and don’t stop the process. If that’s not you, that’s okay. Find someone else and let them own it. Your job is to follow them. You can follow them, can’t you?

Inspiration for tomorrow

It’s awesome being in an industry that’s increasingly open to change and what’s next. It’s the only reason Forge3 can exist. That’s something I will never take for granted.

We LOVE pushing the boundaries at Forge3. But, we can’t do it alone.

We each have a role to play. You push us. We push you.

We all push one another.

Author Jeff Teschke

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