Improving the Accuracy of Your Management System Data
As Ronald Reagan once said, “Trust but verify.” We do trust our employees and downloading vendors to provide accurate data for our agency management systems, but we also need to verify that information. Many agency owners have stated that their management systems have incorrect or duplicate data and that leads to inaccurate reports. Correcting the data within your management system is essential to assisting management with decisions. How should an agency go about fixing this issue? Well, there are four areas an agency should focus on to make sure their data is accurate.
- Duplicate of Multiple Entries – To clean up your data, run a client/prospect report and sort the list by client name. Review this list for duplicate client entries. Most agency management systems will allow you to merge client accounts. Before merging the duplicate accounts, make sure you determine the correct entry for that client and merge the remaining entries into that client. One way to help prevent this from occurring in the future is to train staff to make sure the prospect has not already been entered into the system. You might search not only by name, but by address.
- Downloads – Sometimes, you might find that a particular carrier download creates a few issues within your system. Carriers might add an extension onto the policy number to indicate the number of terms that client has been with the carrier. As the download is processed, you might find the system creates a duplicate policy or holds this policy in the unmatched download area. If you see this occur, contact the management system vendor and carrier to find a solution. As you implement carrier downloads, verify that each line of business is downloading correctly. Assign one of your staff to be the download expert and verify the data at least once a month. Pay close attention to commercial lines downloads to make sure the data is flowing to the appropriate fields. Verifying downloads and the accuracy of the download is an important aspect of making sure your data is accurate.
- Carrier Reports – At least once a year, you should review your management system data with that of your carrier. One of the first steps is to get a report of all the active policies from your carriers and compare that to your management system reports. You can gather the management system data by running a book of business report broken down by line of business. It is also a good idea to verify this report by policies in force and premium totals. Make sure when you run the report in the management system you have the option to annualize the premium.
- Train and Monitor Staff on Data Entry – Nothing like saving the best option for last! Training staff on the importance of correct data entry is essential to making sure your reports are correct. Many of the management systems today will allow you to set certain fields as required fields. In this case, the employee must enter the data before they are allowed to move to the next field. Verifying the data is the next step. You should run a report to find out how many clients you have without cell phone numbers, dates of birth, email and other valuable information. As you find this information, assign someone within your agency to obtain the missing information. You might also require your staff to verify this when clients call the office and on the renewal.
Today is a great day to start fixing your data! Encourage your staff to always update any issues they find or bring them to the attention of management. Knowing your data is accurate is the first step in providing accurate information for reporting purposes.
With over 25 years of experience in the insurance and technology industry, George Robertson brings an interesting perspective to growing your agency business and creating better efficiencies. Having been an agency owner for ten of those years, George knows the challenges we face trying to increase profits and better utilize our resources. His knowledge of insurance automation comes from years of study and working for some of the leading automation vendors in the industry as well as other leading business technology providers.
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