4 min read

Prioritizing Digitization Initiatives

Prioritizing Digitization Initiatives

The insurance broker is facing a day of digital reckoning. Paper tigers stalk cubicles, manual processes drain energy, and the insatiable roar of the client, fed up with antiquated approaches, echoes through the ranks. 

Digitization has transformed many industries for the better. Financial systems now benefit from the incredible speed of data movement via open banking initiatives. Manufacturers have all but eliminated manual inventory processes. And even our food chain is realizing higher yields and reduced waste through digitized precision farming. 

Now, it is the insurance industry's turn. 

Broker survival in the coming years will hinge on agility and unwavering focus. It is no longer a question of whether a solution exists, but how and where brokerages should center their efforts. Enter the Eisenhower Matrix, a powerful decision-making framework championed by none other than General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

 

The Eisenhower Matrix: Simple and Effective 

Also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, this method of prioritizing tasks was made popular by Steven Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The matrix is a decision-making tool that identifies tasks as important or not important, urgent or not urgent.  

At the matrix’s core is understanding the difference between important and urgent tasks. Urgent tasks require immediate attention, while tasks deemed important are long-term focused and have a meaningful impact on the brokerage. 

“I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Read that again. There might be no official record of Eisenhower saying this. But the sentiment aligns with his philosophy of prioritization and time management. He believed the focus should fall almost entirely on the important tasks over urgent ones as those are critical for long-term success. Of course, important tasks put off long enough will become urgent. 

For insurance brokers, where digitization means survival, placing all tasks into the urgent-important box may be tempting. However, a closer look will reveal that by using the Eisenhower matrix, more tasks will get completed and at a higher level. 

 

Do First: Prioritizing the Urgent and Important

Digitization doesn’t mean doing the same tasks on a computer as you once did on a thin sheet of paper. As it turns out, however, most brokerage associates are still inundated with forms and documents, but on their computer screens rather than their desks. This is why steps that accelerate automation often make it into the urgent-important quadrant. 

 

Data Management: Brokers spend over 30% of their time simply collecting and organizing client information. One of the first steps any broker should take is to eliminate the stacks of paper (digital or physical) and integrate customer information, policy details, and claims histories into a unified digital system. Every minute spent wrestling with information is sliced out of your margin.

Data Security: Compliance with data laws isn’t a mere formality, it’s necessary to build and maintain client trust. Deploy robust security measures, encrypt sensitive data, and conduct regular vulnerability assessments. Data breaches will lead to client desertions and, if severe enough, can often be unrecoverable. 

 

Schedule: Tame the Important, but Not Urgent 

The future beckons, not with thunderous pronouncements, but with whispers of optimization and strategic advantage. It is here, the important but not urgent, where brokers with steely determination will find real change and achieve growth. 

Data Mining: You know a treasure trove of client data is waiting to be tapped. Uncovering trends, predicting risks, and personalizing offerings are just the tip of the iceberg waiting to be uncovered. Data analytics can become a sort of crystal ball that solidifies client loyalty and creates a consistent stream of prospects. 

Delete Repetition: Automate repetitive tasks like quote generation, renewal notices, and claims processing. In addition to reducing labor overhead, your team will become empowered to forge genuine connections with clients with a renewed sense of empathy and attentiveness previously buried in mundane activity. 

Client-Centric Systems: Don't merely digitize processes; reimagine them around the client experience. Seamless online portals, proactive communication channels, and 24/7 access are the bricks and mortar of a client-centric digital haven.

 

Delegate: Outsmart the Urgent, but Not Essential

Not all objectives require your direct intervention. By delegating wisely, the urgent but trivial matters that used to command your attention melt away, leaving you to hone in on the most critical digitization initiatives. 

Data Entry: Let dedicated professionals handle the grunt work of entering the information necessary for your team to perform at the highest level. The gears stop turning when data isn’t flowing into your systems, making data entry an urgent activity that can be tackled at lower levels within your organization. 

Train Digitally: Empower your team with the knowledge and skills to navigate your brokerage as efficiently and effectively as possible. Materials must be readily available and in formats digestible in different forms. Invest in online training platforms, video training, and A.I. learning centers to keep your staff on their toes. 

 

Eliminate: Vanquish the Not Urgent, Not Important

There is something rewarding about walking into a clean home. The same holds true for businesses. Tasks that are not urgent nor important are nothing more than clutter taking up space in the minds of your associates. It is time to identify them and clear them out. 

Paper Purge: Don't just digitize documents; declutter your brokerage. Let go of outdated policies, redundant data sets, and legacy software that weighs you down. The time has come to move forward and let go of those rate tables. 

Workflow Streamlining: Analyze your processes, identify redundancies, and streamline operations. Manual and outdated IT systems reduce efficiency by up to 20%. This means that the elimination of every unnecessary step has the potential to increase margins and profitability. 

Delete Meetings: Do some mental math the next time you are seated in a meeting or staring at the screen during a Zoom call. Just how many staff hours are lost and dollars spent compared to an email that would’ve been just as effective? 

 

The New Brokerage is Digital

The Eisenhower Matrix is more than a mere tool; it's a philosophy. It's about placing the client at the heart of every digital decision and building a strategy designed to move your brokerage as fast as possible toward your targets. As brokerages digitize, it will be those with an executable plan that will rise to the top. And the Eisenhower Matrix, as simple as it may be, could be your key to digital success.

 

Want to learn more about how Highwing helps brokers and carriers leverage the power of technology? We would love to chat with you.

 

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