The First Rule of Technology: You Do Not Talk About Technology

Tech is the tail that wags the dog. It highlights the headlines. Steals the spotlight. Controls the conversation. In many cases, tech is sold using a cocktail formula of the garage launch, a healthy valuation, and a pristine demo that wows the crowds and fuels the fervor of innovation.

How does any of this benefit agents? Unless you have personally invested in the latest PR darling, then likely very little. But there is an exclusive technology club for agents, too. One that has a few hard and fast rules which prepare agents for a realistic outcome with the right techs on Day 2. And the first rule is the most important: you do not talk about technology.

You started your agency from scratch or took control of a legacy brand because you had an intent to do something great. There was the creation of a business plan with a hockey stick trajectory for customer growth and a big hairy audacious goal.

And then business happened. You were faced with day-to-day HR discussions, financial planning, and negotiating your biggest customer down from the height of cancellation.

And then “Insurtech” happened. “Are you using that thing I saw featured on stage in Grand Ballroom C last week? They received a standing ovation from like 2,000 agents. I think I’m going to buy it!”

But nowadays, your valid skepticism prevents you from flippantly committing to just any solution. You ask the founder’s question that returns to your entrepreneurial roots: why am I in the insurance industry?

As I reach the 12-month anniversary of launching Agency Insurtech in my home office (not garage), I’ve repeatedly witnessed insurance professionals prioritize the benefits they seek from making operational changes. Determining what slows the sales process, prohibits adoption of existing tech solutions, and stunts the recruitment of next generation agents is top of mind. Agents in this club shed their titles and outline their processes to reveal opportunities for tools and people that ultimately improve their relationship abilities.

When we start from the beginning—the reason for being—agents rightfully disregard any one technology. The conversation is centered around levers. “If I pull the lever to increase messaging to prospects, then I will increase inbound leads that will require the sales team to capture customer data rapidly.” The activation of this lever forces a chain reaction and creates the benefit of improved deal flow. Its success is predicated on having the right mix of people and tech enablement to make the process systematic.

And this is where the tech discussion is borne. Once you revisit your business and discuss where you started, where you are currently, and where you want to be, your statement of expected benefits yield the type of tech solution that is required to support pulling the lever. 

Before vetting, selecting or even building tech for your agency, envision the next iteration of your operation and define the benefits that result from your decision making. With a clear understanding of the fundamentals that drive your agency, you will be able to back into the right technology solutions that alleviate the Insurtech hullabaloo. Yes, I said hullabaloo.

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