Agency management systems continue to evolve. The hosted server based systems of yesterday are giving way to systems based in the cloud. There are a couple of widely used platforms that come with a wealth of features, but they also fetch hefty prices. Meanwhile, their less well known competitors are introducing new features that offer agencies good value with smaller price tags.
Some of the systems with less market share actually target certain agency segments rather than trying to appeal to everyone. QuikFuzion touts its low price point as an advantage for smaller agencies, offering most of what other systems provide for a lower, more predictable cost.
There are differences in how users can access various systems. The trend is away from software running on client servers and toward cloud-based solutions. The next version of HawkSoft will be a hybrid of a workstation based and cloud based system. Users will run the application on their desktop and laptop computers in the office. They will also be able to pull down client and policy information from the cloud on mobile devices when they are out visiting clients.
QuikFuzion is entirely cloud-based and is accessed through web browsers. Vice President of Sales John Mahoney explains that they want to keep things as simple as possible for agents. One part of that is eliminating the need for the agent to install software. Because the data is stored in the cloud and is accessed through the familiar interface of a web browser, agencies can access the system at any location and through any connected device. Nexsure and Novidea are other examples of browser-based systems.
Most systems (HawkSoft, NASA Eclipse, Nexsure, others) integrate third party applications via application programming interface (API.) However, they vary in the types of services they offer. HawkSoft’s API partners can add notes, attachments and task reminders to an agency’s client’s record. The agency has access to that information whenever it pulls up the client’s records. QuikFuzion offers its own insurance accounting system along with integrated premium financing, personal and commercial lines raters, and e-signature capabilities.
HawkSoft also offers a Google Chrome extension called HawkLink. It enables agencies to use their data on any website accessible via the Chrome browser. For example, the extension can pull data from the agency’s records to populate carrier portal forms or billing and payment sites.
Client self-service capabilities are also showing up in some systems. QuikFuzion customers get a client portal that integrates with their websites. Clients can print I.D. cards, view their policies, communicate with the agency, and perform other basic tasks from the portal. Nexsure, Novidea and Newton offer similar portals. HawkSoft also offers certificate self-service capability.
Subscription structure and data ownership are two areas that differentiate some systems. Many systems’ contracts commit the agency to lengthy relationships with the vendors. It is also common for vendors to charge agencies that want to retrieve their data when the contract is terminated. QuikFuzion offers a month-to-month subscription and permits subscribers to retrieve their data at any time without charge. “It’s the agency’s data,” Mahoney says.
Other features that are found in a few systems include:
- The ability to create custom forms and proprietary documents
- Integration with Microsoft 365
- Integration with individual Microsoft Office applications (Word and Excel)
- Carrier submission management tools
- The ability to archive data and documents
- Tools for conducting marketing and risk surveys
- Employee license and time tracking
Picking an agency management system requires a lot of time and consideration because switching systems is no simple matter. The good news is that agencies have a lot of choices; the bad news is those choices can leave an agency principal confused. You can learn more about options and find related content on the Agency Management Systems page on this site.