For busy insurance brokers, the world of software as a service (SaaS) can feel like walking among performers at a circus. And the circus is growing at a remarkable 42% clip, according to Mordor Intelligence.
At every turn, SaaS providers boast new platforms promising streamlined workflows, dazzling dashboards, and AI-powered oracles designed to automate everything. But a sinister phenomenon lurks within the walls of many brokers’ offices - Shiny Object Syndrome.
In the context of insurance SaaS, Shiny Object Syndrome manifests itself as a relentless urge to chase the latest trends, often at the expense of real value and tangible ROI. This obsession with novelty leads to cluttered toolboxes overflowing with solutions for "problems" you didn't even know you had.
What is the cost of being afflicted with Shiny Object Syndrome?
Fancy reporting tools gather dust while core workflow bottlenecks persist. Teams drown in the cognitive overload of feature-laden interfaces. Valuable resources are wasted. Employees become frustrated. Profits plummet.
Too Many SaaS Solutions, Too Little Value
But why is the insurtech landscape littered with so many tech-focused distractions? The answer lies in the relative ease of developing SaaS solutions. From cloud computing to open APIs, the movement and manipulation of data has become easier than ever. Unfortunately for the broker, many SaaS solutions do nothing more than repackage the same information slightly differently, all without providing any real value.
With low barriers to entry, the market abounds with platforms built on quick trends and buzzwords, rather than a strategic understanding of the insurance industry's specific needs. But there are diamonds in the rough and brokers are willing to pay for the right solutions.
According to Accenture, SaaS adoption is prevalent across the insurance value chain:
46% are investing in SaaS-based policy management systems.
42% are investing in SaaS claims management solutions.
38% are investing in SaaS underwriting solutions.
40% are investing in SaaS customer engagement platforms.
So, how do brokers break free from the spell of shiny object syndrome and navigate the rough waters of insurance SaaS? To begin requires a shift in mindset from impulsiveness to intentionality. Brokers must ditch the urge to chase every shiny object and embrace a methodical approach to evaluating SaaS solutions.
Deploying the Evaluation Framework
An evaluation framework is a systematic approach to assessing the merit, worth, or value of something. At its core, evaluation frameworks allow brokers to objectively evaluate SaaS solutions through a set of principles, criteria, and procedures.
Instead of jumping from one solution to the next, an evaluation framework empowers brokers to break free from the spell of Shiny Object Syndrome and choose solutions that truly serve your insurance brokerage. Investing in a methodical approach will require extra work up front, but the ROI of informed decision-making far outweighs the cost of chasing fleeting trends.
Define Needs and Priorities
Before hunting for solutions, take a deep dive into your business. It is important to go beyond the obvious and challenge yourself to be specific. For example, every broker wants to increase sales. However, success may look very different from one broker to the next. Where one broker may want to focus on rounding out accounts, another may seek to double the number of qualified leads in their pipeline.
Shortlist Potential Solutions:
Armed with a list of clearly defined objectives, it becomes time to research and curate a shortlist of potential solutions. Don't get hypnotized by marketing hype. Look for providers with a proven track record in the insurance industry, ideally catering to your specific niche.
Further, seek out solution providers who embrace a partner-focused approach. For as great as technology has become, too often SaaS providers try to remove the human element from their offering. From implementation and training, to service and support, successful providers work collaboratively with brokers instead of leaving them to seek answers on their own.
Deep Dive Evaluation:
Once you have a shortlist, it's time to dig deeper. Four key metrics form the foundation of a successful evaluation framework:
Functionality: Ensure the platform offers features that address your identified needs directly and avoid those with unnecessary extras. Today’s technology allows multiple solutions to co-exist, eliminating the need for traditional, monolithic programs brokers have relied on for too long. Additionally, determine if the solution integrates seamlessly with your existing systems, whether it will optimize your workflows, and if it can be implemented with minimal disruption.
Technology and Security: Assess the platform's stability, scalability, and data security measures. With most programs now running cloud-based solutions, understanding and vetting each provider's infrastructure is crucial. Confirm it complies with data standards and laws where you conduct business, employs proper security measures, and follows processes to remain current with any changes that may impact your business.
Support and Training: Nothing is more frustrating than sinking money into a solution and being left high and dry when support is required. Take the time to evaluate the support and training resources each vendor provides. Examine how hands-on or hand-off their onboarding process is and how ongoing assistance will be provided. Remember, you are seeking reliable partners, not just sellers of software.
Pricing and ROI: This metric is last for a reason. Too often, price is used as the primary evaluation metric. Unfortunately, when brokers place prices above other metrics, the results are almost undoubtedly subpar. An objective decision can be made only when the price is pitted against the projected ROI. Sure, all brokers have budgetary restrictions, but great investments often come with great rewards.
Make an Informed Decision
By working through an evaluation framework, brokers can take a measured approach when investing in technology. Weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each shortlisted solution against your defined needs and available budget. Then, it is time to choose a platform that best aligns with your long-term vision, offering the highest return on investment and not just empty promises.
Implementation and Avoidance
Successful SaaS adoption is not a one-time event but an ongoing process. Current systems must be continually evaluated, and new solutions must be explored to reach long-term goals. Here are some tips to avoid common pitfalls:
Engage trusted advisors:Seek independent advice from industry experts to validate your assessments and identify potential blind spots.
Plan for the long game:Don't get swayed by short-term wins. Prioritize solutions that offer sustainable value and scalability for future growth.
Resist the lure of flashy marketing:Be wary of overhyped features and exaggerated ROI promises. Focus on tangible value and concrete use cases.
The key takeaway is this: in the dazzling world of insurance SaaS, resist the urge to chase every shiny object. Embrace a data-driven, needs-oriented approach to navigate the plethora of solutions and those that will unlock tangible value to propel your brokerage forward.
It's not about the bling, it's about building a future fueled by genuine impact.