ITC Press Releases
|ITC Acquires Agency Matrix, LLC
ITC announced today it has acquired Agency Matrix, an insurance technology provider
POSTED FEBRUARY 04, 2020 9:00 AM
|Sarah Jaquez Wins the Fourth Annual InsurTech Scholarship
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of website, agency marketing, rating and management software and services, announced today Sarah Jaquez as the recipient of the 2019-2020 InsurTech Scholarship.
POSTED OCTOBER 22, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Reinvents Online Insurance Shopping Experience for Consumers
Next Generation TurboRater for Websites Brings Best of Insurtech Capabilities to Agents and Carriers
POSTED SEPTEMBER 04, 2019 2:00 PM
|ITC Named Top Insurance Workplace by Insurance Business America
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of websites, marketing, comparative rating and management software and services, has been named a Top Insurance Workplace by Insurance Business America.
POSTED AUGUST 21, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Smart Harbor
ITC acquires Smart Harbor, a provider of digital technology solutions to insurance agents. Smart Harbor works with more than 1,000 independent insurance agencies by bringing them technical expertise and industry knowledge to help them grow their businesses and retain clients through websites, smart forms, SEO, and data analytics capabilities.
POSTED AUGUST 14, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Named Top Technology Provider by Insurance Business America For Fourth Year in a Row
Insurance Technologies Corporation announced today that readers of Insurance Business America have named ITC a top technology provider for the fourth year in a row.
POSTED JUNE 12, 2019 9:00 AM
|Fourth Annual InsurTech Scholarship Open for Applications
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of insurance websites, agency marketing, rating and management software and services, opened today the fourth annual InsurTech Scholarship for applications for the 2019-2020 school year.
POSTED APRIL 25, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Assurance Systems Incorporated
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of websites, marketing, rating and management software and services, announced today it has acquired Assurance Systems, Incorporated, an insurance technology provider in the southeastern United States.
POSTED NOVEMBER 05, 2018 9:00 AM
|Sarah Knaub Wins the Third Annual InsurTech Scholarship
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of website, agency marketing, rating and management software and services, announced today Sarah Knaub as the recipient of the 2018-2019 InsurTech Scholarship.
POSTED OCTOBER 02, 2018 8:30 AM
|For Third Year, ITC Named Top Technology Provider by Insurance Business America
ITC, a provider of websites, marketing, comparative rating and management software and services, announced today that for the third consecutive year they were named a top technology provider by Insurance Business America readers.
POSTED JUNE 21, 2018 10:00 AM
|ACORD Forms Update (June 2020)
We've updated the below ACORD forms for the users of our agency management system InsurancePro.
65 SC 2020/08 - Offer of Additional Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Optional Underinsured for Commercial/Business (for use on or after 7/31/2020)
Forms with New Revision Date
67 FL 2020/08 replaces 1994/07 - Florida Homeowners Supplement (for use on or after 7/31/2020)
90 VT 2020/08 replaces 2015/12 - Vermont Personal Auto Application (for use on or after 7/31/2020)
138 MI 2020/07 replaces 2015/12 - Michigan Garage and Dealers
290 VT 2020/08 replaces 2014/12 - Vermont Personal Auto Application Section (for use on or after 7/31/2020)
138 SC 2020/08 replaces 2015/12 - South Carolina Garage and Dealers (for use on or after 7/31/2020)
854 CA 2020/06 replaces 2019/12 - California FAIR Plan Property Insurance, Application for Dwelling Insurance
171 KS 2020/09 replaces 2005/11 - Kansas Election of Individual Partner or Self-Employed Individual (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
172 KS 2020/09 replaces 2005/11 - Kansas Cancellation of Election of Individual (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
173 KS 2020/09 replaces 2005/11 - Kansas Cancellation of Election Not to Accept Coverage (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
174 KS 2020/09 replaces 2005/11 - Kansas Election Not to Accept Coverage (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
176 KS 2020/09 replaces 2005/11 - Kansas Election of Employer to Cover Employees (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
177 KS 2020/09 replaces 2005/11 - Kansas Election of Coverage for Volunteer Workers (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
178 KS 2020/09 replaces 2005/11 - Kansas Cancellation of Election of Employer To Cover Employees (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
179 KS 2020/09 replaces 2005/11 - Kansas Cancellation of Election of Coverage for Volunteer Workers (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
180 KS 2020/09 replaces 2005/11 - Kansas Election Of Coverage For Persons Performing Public Service (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
181 KS 2020/09 replaces 2005/11 - Kansas Cancellation of Election of Coverage for Persons Performing Public Service (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
182 KS 2020/09 replaces 2001/05 - Kansas Election of a Noncompensated Volunteer To Be Covered (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
183 KS 2020/09 replaces 2001/05 - Kansas Cancellation of Election of a Noncompensated Volunteer To Be Covered (for use on or after 8/31/2020)
951 2020/07 replaces 2017/06 - 1035 Exchange/Rollover/Transfer Form
Corrections or Modifications to Existing Forms
90 MN 2019/12 - Minnesota Personal Auto Application
200 1993/03 - Producer Account
290 MN 2019/12 - Minnesota Personal Auto Application Section
61 MI 2020/07 - Michigan Choice of Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Limits
62 MI 2020/07 - Michigan Collision Insurance Options Notice
90 MI 2020/07 - Michigan Personal Auto Application
137 MI 2020/07 - Michigan Commercial Auto
138 MI 2020/07 - Michigan Garage and Dealers
225 1998/01 - Policyholder's Report
290 MI 2020/07 - Michigan Personal Auto Application Section
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 7:29 PM
|Welcome to the Agent Resource Center
Welcome to ITC's Agent Resource Center, a hub of content for agents who want to learn how to manage, market and grow their agencies in today's insurance industry.
Not sure where to start?
To search for a specific topic, click the magnifying glass located at the top of every page. Then, type in your topic and hit enter.
Just browsing? Welcome!
You'll find all sorts of helpful resources in this hub.
Our Operation Agency Success series covers various topics, including marketing in short, helpful videos.
Operation Agency Success
Find out how others in the insurance industry plan their day and achieve success in our This is the Way series. You may see a familiar face.
This is the Way: Mick Becker, CEO of PIA National
In-depth eBooks and white papers are detailed, long-form content that cover our most frequently asked questions and popular topics like "How do I use Facebook for my agency?" and "How can I drive more traffic to my agency website?"
White paper library
If you have only a few minutes a day to learn, here are some good places to start...
If you made it to the bottom of this overview, here's a secret: We put on a free insurance marketing webinar every month. Click below to learn more.
Masters of Marketing webinar series
Whew, that's a lot of content. Trying to find something and can't? Leave a comment below.
POSTED JANUARY 03, 2020 3:21 PM
|Digital Marketing Expert: How to Write an SEO-Friendly Blog Post
Over the years, we have provided information about what digital marketing is and why it’s important. If you want a refresher, visit the marketing section of our free resource hub.
The goal of the Digital Marketing Expert series is to teach you how to do these tasks and improve your digital marketing.
As we’ve said many times, content is king. Your blog is a foundational part of your website’s ability to rank on search engines, also referred to as search engine optimization (SEO). If you need a refresher on the basics of SEO, browse these free resources below.
This step-by-step guide will show you how to identify your website’s keywords and use them to write an SEO-friendly blog post.
Let’s get started.
How to Identify Independent Insurance Agency Keywords
1: What phrases/terminology are you hearing from your customers? Make a list so you can use them in your content, especially with voice searches on the rise. Consumers are typing/speaking their search in the same way.
2: Google search results can be a useful research tool. Search for something like auto insurance near me (or your main line of business). Scroll down to the bottom of the search results, and use the keywords found under Searches Related to.
3: What are our competitors ranking for? Using a tool like SpyFu, you can provide the names of your local competitors and get their top five keywords for free.
4: Every website should have Google Analytics and Google Search Console connected. Look in the keyword/queries section of these free tools. Here you’ll find the keywords you are already ranking for based on your content. Look at the keywords that are showing up on pages three, four, and five. Create content and blog posts using those phrases to help improve your position.
5: Ubersuggest is a great free resource to find competitor keywords as well as potential topics for your blog posts.
6: The website KWFinder also allows you to pull your competitor’s keywords and research additional keywords based on terms like auto insurance Dallas TX, etc. You are limited in the number of searches and results you can access with a free account, but it will get you started.
How to Write a Blog That Improves Your SEO
1: Start with the content.
You want to produce content that attracts your target audience. Often, the answer lies with your customer service team or your producers. What frequently asked questions are they receiving? What problem can you help them solve?
Not all content has to be informative. You should be striving to produce content that resonates with your audience.
2: Write the first draft
Writing for SEO can sometimes be a little tricky, so don’t get hung up on that part yet.
Let’s start with a sample scenario and topic. The scenario is that you’re an independent insurance agent in the state of Florida. It’s March, and you want to start ramping up your marketing efforts in preparation for hurricane season. You decide to write a blog called The Importance of Finding the Right Homeowners Insurance During Hurricane Season. Here is your introduction to your blog post.
“Hurricane season is around the corner. In just a few short months, many of us will be filing claims due to damage from tropical storms and hurricanes. However, finding the right coverage under your policy is essential to protecting yourself in any circumstance.
Start by asking yourselves these questions. How can I get hurricane insurance coverage? What does it cover? Are you renting? Does renter’s insurance cover hurricane damage?”
Remember, you are writing for the reader, not search engines.
How readers interact with your content, believe it or not, impacts your search engine ranking. So, while keywords are relevant, it shouldn’t be the focus when writing the first draft.
3: Re-write Your Content with SEO Elements
The sample text above is asking all the right questions. All SEO content should have these elements:
A: Appeal to Your Entire Audience
Your clients are important, and this information could be useful for them. However, from a digital marketing perspective, you’re not writing this content just for them. If that were the case, SEO wouldn’t matter, and you could send them this content in a newsletter.
You’re putting it on your blog, and therefore want the information to be searchable so that prospects and information seekers can find it. That’s how you rise in the search rankings and generate new traffic to your insurance agency website.
To cater to more audiences, you need to get specific about your targets.
Instead of saying, many of us will be filing claims due to damage from tropical storms, how about homeowners in Florida will be filing claims for storm and hurricane damage.
B: Use Your Keyword Research
Reread your article and look for text, explanations, and descriptions where you can insert one of your researched keyword phrases. But remember, don’t do this too many times. Otherwise, Google could flag your content for excessive keyword spamming. I would recommend a maximum of five instances unless your blog post is long (800+ words).
C: Be Sure to Provide Great Detail
Everyone has heard the expression, keep them wanting more. Even though you want your readers to come back to your website, you want them to come back again and again because you are the best resource. Don’t leave your readers with more questions than answers after they read your blog post.
D: Create the Perfect H1 Tag
Your H1 tag is typically the title of your article. The H1 tag tells a search engine what your content is about, which helps them index the proper queries. A few tips when creating your H1 tag/article title:
- Include a long-tail keyword. These are keyword phrases with more than two words.
- Make your H1 tag short (20-70 characters). This includes letters and spaces. Use a tool like www.charactercountonline.com to monitor the length of your title.
E: Include Links to Relevant Web Pages or Blogs
As you can see throughout this article, we have links to other resources that are relevant to this topic. Look for ways to do this in your blog posts. Whether you link to your homeowner’s product page or another blog post, make sure the link adds value for your reader.
Title: Florida Homeowners Need Hurricane Insurance Coverage (52 characters)
“Hurricane season is around the corner. In just a few short months, many Florida homeowners will be filing claims due to damage from tropical storms and hurricanes. However, finding the right hurricane insurance under your policy is essential to protecting yourself in any circumstance.
Writing blogs can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Getting started is the hardest part. That is why it is important to first write your draft then go back to make edits and adjust for SEO. Pick your topic, do your research, and write your first draft as though you were having a conversation with a customer or prospect. Finally, optimize your article for search engines.
POSTED JULY 08, 2020 12:53 PM
|4 Tips for Insurance Agencies to Market with LinkedIn
Many of us have LinkedIn tucked away neatly into a box. A box that we only open on Tuesday afternoons, during yet another meeting that could have been an email. However, LinkedIn is much more than the refuge of wishful thinking.
As of February 2020, LinkedIn was the seventh-largest social media website based on active monthly users. Of its 310 million users, 40% visit the website daily.
LinkedIn is a powerhouse for business-to-business (B2B) marketing. It is an environment focused on professional development and networking.
People join LinkedIn to show their expertise, find a career, and find content that makes their professional lives better. That environment can be useful for your business.
So how do you leverage LinkedIn’s unique properties to market your insurance agency?
Here are four tips to help you take advantage of LinkedIn.
1: Personal Profile vs. Company Page
Having an updated profile may seem like an obvious suggestion. But, are you aware that you are responsible for two profile pages? As an insurance agency owner, you need to manage your personal profile AND your agency’s company page.
If a person visits your company page, they may make their way to exploring your profile page. Both pages present an opportunity to make an impression.
Your personal profile should be as complete as possible. If you add a new professional skill, reach a new goal, or achieve something of significance, add it to your personal profile. Don’t be shy. That’s what your profile is all about!
This is your chance to share that you’re an expert at what you do. Don’t miss an opportunity to show why someone should do business with you.
Your LinkedIn company page is your agency’s profile. Everything about your personal profile applies here, too. Your About section should consist of your company’s mission statement, bio, and achievements. Don’t forget to put your address!
2: Remember, Content is King
According to a study by HubSpot, LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate of all social media channels. Their conversion rate was 2.74%. That was 277% higher than both Twitter (0.69%) and Facebook (0.77%). To take full advantage of LinkedIn’s superior ability to convert new leads, you need to create a content plan that engages your audience.
Why Do You Need Content on LinkedIn?
You need content on social media platforms for three main reasons.
- To build brand awareness
- To grow your brand’s reach
- To create consumer engagement with your brand
Every time you share content on social, you’re building a stronger relationship with your audience and generating new relationships with new people.
But why do you need content on LinkedIn specifically?
Your content on your LinkedIn personal page is about establishing your professional expertise. Everything from presenting endorsed skills, to your resume, to your certifications.
The same goes for your agency’s LinkedIn page. The content on your LinkedIn page adds value to your agency because it informs your audience that your agency is an expert. LinkedIn has published studies on thought leadership because they understand the value of businesses differentiating themselves from their competition by posting content that proves their expertise.
Your content on LinkedIn is important because it’s an opportunity to establish credibility in an environment almost entirely composed of professionals.
What Should Your Content Look Like?
Your content should be engaging and SEO friendly. Make sure it’s relevant and includes keywords. You should also share content from your partners and industry leaders/influencers.
Blogs are great. But so are other mediums. Video, for example, is very popular on LinkedIn. You don’t need to produce a video a week. If you have videos about your products on your website, repurpose the content. Create short segmented videos out of already existing videos. Your goal should be more than two minutes in length but under five. If you can, transcribe the videos. Adding transcriptions and closed captions contribute to search engine optimization (SEO).
Create a conversation! Blogs, FAQs, videos, and other shared content are valuable. Keep doing those. But content on LinkedIn can be as easy as posing a question and starting a conversation about your industry expertise. No matter what you share, always engage, and respond.
Don’t forget the call to action. Sprinkle in a link to your website in all your content. Don’t be shy. People won’t know about your agency and what you offer unless you tell them. LinkedIn content, like blogs, can drive traffic to your website using backlinks.
3: Your Employees Are Great Resources
Here’s an important point about thought leadership to keep in mind. Take into consideration why people follow your personal Facebook page versus why they connected with you on LinkedIn. A LinkedIn connection is, for most users, inherently rooted in a professional relationship. Facebook is, for most users, a medium rooted in social relationships.
For that reason, your thought leadership content, as well as your marketing content, will be more successful on LinkedIn.
The same goes for your employees. Generally speaking, your employee’s friends on Facebook or their followers on Twitter didn’t follow their personal account for their expertise on insurance. They followed them because of a personal relationship.
It doesn’t matter if you have three or 300 employees. They are living, breathing opportunities to have brand ambassadors on any social platform. It is not out of the ordinary for employees to share content from the company they work for. In fact, on LinkedIn, it’s the norm. Therefore, your employee’s LinkedIn followers are more likely to trust the thought leadership content they share.
Ask your employees if they’ll be advocates of your brand. Chances are they’ll say yes.
If an employee is sharing your content, their profiles should look professional. Check with your employees and make sure they’re putting their best foot forward on LinkedIn. Once their profiles are complete, you will have an army of brand ambassadors sharing content and creating new leads.
4: LinkedIn for Business-to-Consumer
You might be saying to yourself, “Why should I use LinkedIn? I don’t sell business insurance?”
That’s a good question. LinkedIn is widely known as a powerful business-to-business tool.
However, if used correctly, LinkedIn can help your agency generate new leads for personal lines.
As we briefly touched on before, contributing helpful thought leadership content can raise your follower’s eyebrows. Everyone who follows you requires insurance, so your goal is to gain their trust and stay on the radar of potential clients. That way, when the time comes for them to shop, your agency will be top-of-mind.
For most agencies, standard operating procedure dictates that your contact information is displayed prominently. What most don’t consider displaying are links to subscribe to your newsletters and email marketing. If you haven’t already, get them posted!
Every contact you make on LinkedIn is a potential lead. That doesn’t mean you should treat them that way, but at least get your foot in the door. For every new contact you make, send a personalized message reminding them of your agency. Provide them with your contact information and ask them to subscribe to your emails for updates about insurance. That allows you to drop them into your drip campaigns.
Just like Facebook, LinkedIn offers sponsored content. You can pay to have your content placed onto an individual’s LinkedIn feed. By creating quality content for specified audiences, you can make sure your content is getting to the right people.
More so than other social media platforms, LinkedIn is not a marketplace. It is about building relationships in a professional environment.
Review your LinkedIn profile and those of your employees for professionalism. Add everything you’ve ever done in the workplace to your profile.
Use LinkedIn as an extension of your website. Publish content. Use it to enhance your personal image and market your agency. Share with your LinkedIn network what you’re doing for your community.
Learn more about the power of marketing with social media with these free resources from Resources.GetITC.com!
POSTED JULY 02, 2020 1:01 PM
|Google Ads: Keywords and Bidding Tips
Google Ads or internet advertising can be scary words for people beginning to market their agency online.
There are many factors and moving parts that go into effectively bidding on keywords. Running your Google Ads campaign on the correct keywords can significantly impact your campaign's performance.
Join Digital Marketing Account Manager David Ray on Thursday, July 16 at 12:00 p.m. CT for Google Ads: Keywords and Bidding Tips. Use this link to register to attend. We'll see you there!
POSTED JUNE 29, 2020 12:26 PM
|The Micro-Moment and The Modern Insurance Shopper
Digital consumerism is a train that can’t be stopped, and in fact, the global pandemic has accelerated it. Many businesses spent months working remotely. Company leaders have learned that this is a tenable option for the long term. Buyers became used to the luxury and convenience of services that can meet them where they are. Or in the case of COVID-19, where they are stuck.
Here’s a stat that you might think is irrelevant. Amazon reported $75.5 billion in earnings in the first fiscal quarter of 2020. This may seem like an outlandish number, but keep in mind their profit actually declined.
From Market Watch, “Amazon (AMZN), 0.85% reported first-quarter earnings of $2.5 billion, or $5.01 a share, down from $3.56 billion, or $7.09 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue grew to $75.5 billion from $59.7 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated $6.23 a share and revenue of $73.7 billion on average.”
Consumers have relied on Amazon for all their pandemic essentials over the last few months… masks, paper towels, toilet paper, and the oh-so-valuable disinfecting wipes. So, it’s easy to assume Amazon would be making more money than ever. But, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos began shifting his focus to COVID-19-related expenditures and looking toward the future. That means keeping his employees safe and ensuring orders ship on time.
This underperformance in the first quarter is actually a sign of growth. Bezos and his army of analysts understand that COVID-19 is poised to create a new level of long-term demand and usher in a heightened age of remote consumerism.
What’s important to ask is why. The obvious answer is they have created an empire capable of providing goods faster than any competitor. The less obvious answer is they have reformed how consumers think about buying products.
Bring on the micro-moment.
What is a Micro-Moment?
Google coined the term in 2015. They define micro-moments as the critical touchpoints within today’s consumer journey. Consumers are acting on a desire or, in their mind, a need. These actions resemble one of these four things:
- To learn something
- To do something
- To buy something
- To watch something
Consider these micro-moment scenarios:
Scenario 1: Want to find a restaurant near you?
- Open Google.
- Type in restaurants near me
- Pick from 50 restaurants near your saved current location.
Scenario 2: Want to watch a trailer for a new movie?
- Open Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or any social media app.
- Type in the name of the movie.
Want to order groceries? Want to research that appliance you need to replace?
All these scenarios take less than ten minutes for the modern consumer. Technology has improved the customer experience and reduced our decision-making process to minutes. The expectation has been set.
Here’s a search scenario you might relate to on a more professional level.
Independent insurance agency near me. Would your agency show up in this search?
The Micro-Moment and Its Effect on Customer Loyalty
What happened to customer loyalty? The simple answer is that nothing happened. Customer loyalty still exists, but it’s more complicated.
A good product used to be worth the wait and maybe a little extra money. Excellent service and support used to mean retention and returning customers.
The digital marketing boom of the last two decades has created brand saturation. Establishing relationships with prospects is now more complicated.
It’s now the responsibility of insurance agencies to effectively cater to consumers' individual needs and provide an experience that makes the process easy.
From a J.D. Power study, “As consumers increasingly take control of the shopping process to find the value they desire, they are finding simple ways to compare carriers. Independent agents offer multiple quotes, and browser auto-fill makes gather several online quotes a job of minutes. Choice reigns supreme, and the consumer holds the reigns.”
With that in mind, it’s important to consider the buyer journey and how you can improve the shopping process.
Here’s a simplified version of the buyer journey:
Step 1: Become aware of a product
Step 2: Consider the product
Step 3: Buy the product
The buyer journey is not a straight line. It is more of a tiered, multi-variable tree chart.
Step one plays an exceedingly influential role in steps two and three. Creating product awareness can take time, especially without established, substantial brand equity. Some digital marketing channels that play an important role in growing brand and product awareness are…
- Online reviews
- Email campaigns
- Social media
- Social media ads
- Pay-per-click ads
Here are some statistics to consider when thinking about whether or not the list above is important to your overall marketing strategy.
- According to a 2019 study, search traffic generated 65% of total eCommerce sessions. Thirty-three percent was generated through organic search, and 32% was generated through paid search.
- By 2023, the number of social network users in the U.S. is expected to reach 257.4 million. The number of global users is expected to reach almost 3.43 billion.
- Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Your goal should be to create a consistent digital presence during the awareness stage so that your agency is considered and purchased when the micro-moment occurs. For additional information on these topics, check out ITC's resource hub.
These digital marketing channels also help support a good experience in the micro-moment, helping you earn loyal customers.
So, How Do You Earn Customer Loyalty?
Here’s why the micro-moment is a good thing. Yes, people want what they want when they want it. But, for the most part, they don’t have a clear idea of WHOM they want it from. They turn to their smartphones for that.
Here’s another scenario.
Someone is shopping for insurance. This person doesn’t know a single thing about insurance. They find it to be a complicated subject matter. They are looking for someone to guide them through this process.
That someone is you.
Here are some tips to make sure your insurance agency is ready for the micro-moment:
Make It Easy
According to a 2019 Global Consumer Study on Insurance, 66% of consumers don’t care how you reach them. Consumers are more focused on getting their service completed quickly and easily.
This sentiment is reflected in the data. A bad experience is now a reason to switch brands. Thirty-three percent of Americans would consider switching companies over just one bad customer experience.
Retention rate is a key metric that defines the performance of many agencies. (Though be careful with a blanket retention rate.) So, I highly recommend an automated email platform as consistent communication with your clients can improve your retention rate.
According to a 2019 study, 95% of customers expect businesses to communicate proactively, not reactively. Get ahead of the customer service issues and notify your clients beforehand.
Get the most out of your website. We like to say that your website should be your best employee. It’s true.
Technology is the cornerstone of consistently excellent customer experiences. Insurance is a low-touch industry. This term refers to industries that only require annual attention. Because the process only occurs once a year, consumers are more likely to notice a poor experience. Therefore they are more likely to become hop at renewal time. A J.D. Power study states that customers who experience poor customer service are eight times more likely to shop for new insurance. Your technology must be smooth and seamless for those micro-moments.
Make finding out what your agency offers simple. Ensure that your clients can find what they need with ease. And if something complicated cannot be avoided, notify your clients and walk them through it.
The micro-moment is just beginning, and consumer expectations are still growing.
The buying process should be relaxed, sleek, and easy. The insurance agency that saves their clients time will retain those clients. Being ahead of the curve can’t be understated. Stay vigilant to consumer trends, so you always know what people expect from their experience with you.
With these three tips, you can insert your agency into those micro-moments and thrive in the modern consumer market.
POSTED JUNE 25, 2020 2:41 PM
|What's in Release 184.108.40.206 of InsurancePro
These are the enhancements that are included in the next release of agency management system InsurancePro (Release 220.127.116.11).
- Corrected issue when importing information from Insurance Website Builder
- Corrected issue with coverages when renewing a policy
- Corrected issue when bridging
POSTED JUNE 22, 2020 5:44 PM
|The SEO Trends That You Need to Know
Search engine optimization (SEO) is always evolving. New technologies, insights, and best practices come along frequently. Google uses more than 200 ranking factors that Google. So, it can be challenging to decide what to focus on. Let’s take a moment to review these SEO trends that are at the forefront of digital marketing.
Secure Websites are a Must
Data privacy has always been a non-negotiable in the insurance industry. That sentiment extends to websites.
We have seen an increase in significant data breaches in the last few years, and it should come as no surprise that there is a growing concern about data privacy and security amongst consumers. A survey by HubSpot showed that 82 percent of respondents would leave a website with a Not Secure warning.
Enabling HTTPS protocol for your insurance agency website is essential for modern websites. If you are collecting any personal information on your website, you need a secure site. That includes web forms. The extra cost to implement security measures on your website each year is worth the peace of mind and those potential leads you may be missing.
Google has explicitly stated that website security is a top priority for them. Since 2014 they have used HTTPS as a ranking signal. We can see evidence of just how important HTTPS protocols are to Google based on their actions. Other than the benefit of data security itself, most benefits of HTTPS are tied directly to SEO.
If your website is still on HTTP, website visitors simply will not trust it. You have probably seen what happens when you visit a website that isn’t secure. A notification appears in your window that says, “Your connection to this site is not secure.” That’s a red flag many won’t ignore.
In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the importance of backlinks. If your website is still on HTTP and backlinking from an HTTPS website, that data will not be recorded by analytics services like Google Analytics. The inability to record actionable data from backlinks to your website is a big missed opportunity.
In short, the pros vastly outweigh the cons when considering whether it’s worth the time and money to migrate to HTTPS.
The Importance of Mobile UX
On April 15, 2015, Google released its mobile-friendly update that SEO marketers now refer to as Mobilegeddon. It doesn’t just sound important; it IS important. Website pages began being marked as mobile-friendly or not. It’s written in black and white. There is no gray area. This is called mobile-first indexing.
Not only do we have Google valuing how mobile-friendly your website as a ranking factor, but we are also seeing an increase in mobile usage. Roughly 78% of traffic that comes to Insurance Website Builder websites comes from mobile devices. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you can expect to lose traffic in the coming years.
But, it is no longer as simple as having a mobile version of your website. The user experience needs to be smooth and easy to navigate. Your website content should quickly answer questions and keep visitors engaged.
Voice Search Optimization
As we have already discussed, the use of mobile devices is starting to far outpace desktop computers. A relatively new technology, voice-search, is also on the rise. Consider how many homes now host Amazon’s Alexa or a Google Home. Think about how many times you've seen someone use Siri on an iPhone. Roughly one in four U.S. adults own a smart speaker.
Optimizing your website for voice search can help you generate more organic traffic. But how exactly do you do that? For starters, you can no longer solely focus on head keywords (one or two words that tend to be broad). Since voice searches are all about asking a question, you must optimize for long-tail phrases and more fruitful answers.
One way you can optimize your website for voice search is by creating a Frequently Asked Questions page. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client and consider what questions they would be asking. You can also talk with your CSRs and agents to see what questions they’re commonly asked.
Include definition statements to help Google automatically find answers on your website. Finally, be sure to focus on the who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Taking Advantage of Featured Snippets
Right above the organic results on Google is the Featured Snippet section. Sometimes referred to as Google’s Answer Box or Position 0, this coveted position plays a crucial role in voice search and local SEO. Optimizing your content to take advantage of this Google feature can help drive more clicks to your website.
For reference, here’s what the Featured Snippet section on Google looks like.
To take advantage of the featured snippet, you need to provide clear and concise answers to common questions on your website. A study done by seoClarity found that the following 25 keywords trigger more than 20 percent of featured snippets. Take these top question and description words into consideration when writing content for your website.
Image Source: seoClarity
The Demand for Excellent Digital Experiences
Your website could have the most compelling and informative content out there. However, that will not matter if your website takes too long to load. Not only will it irritate your visitors, but it is also another ranking factor that Google uses.
We know that capturing the attention of your website visitors is important. Improving your page speed is one part of the formula for providing an excellent digital experience. Beyond the load time for your website, consider are how easily the average consumer can navigate your site.
Insurance agencies deal with a diverse set of clients, and not everyone has the same level of digital competency. Make sure anyone and everyone could navigate your website.
Focusing on SEO is an essential element of any digital marketing plan. The algorithms and ranking factors are in a constant state of flux. It is important to keep an eye out for new changes, new trends, and new best practices that you can add to your strategic plan.
POSTED JUNE 15, 2020 1:05 PM
|This is the Way: Mark Vitali of All About Insurance
Mark Vitali has been an independent business owner and entrepreneur for more than 30 years. After owning a successful restaurant, Mark made his entrance into the insurance industry in 1993 when he joined Nationwide Insurance.
His entrepreneurial spirit did not stop when he joined Nationwide. Mark’s other businesses include commercial properties, construction, restaurants, and a radio station. Over the years, Mark and All About Insurance have achieved Nationwide All-Star 15 times and been inducted into the Nationwide Insurance Hall of Fame.
We asked Mark, “What is one word that describes how you like to work?” His answer was “Winning.”
That begs the question, how does one win across such a diverse collection of industries? Mark believes in the power of embracing challenges, being unconventional, and thinking outside of the box. That’s usually where the solutions no one has thought of are.
Although Mark’s business interests are scattered, his heart and his family are All About Insurance. Mark is married to his wonderful and successful wife, Fai. Together they have a son, Nick, who works for Nationwide corporate. In their downtime, they like to drink wine, travel the world, and occasionally do interviews with us.
This is the way Mark Vitali works.
Chapel Hill, NC.
CEO All About Insurance.
One word that describes how you like to work.
Current mobile device:
Project(s) you’re currently working on:
Moving from Exclusive Nationwide Agent to Independent.
Accomplishments you’re proud of:
Achieved Hall of Fame from Nationwide Insurance (only 50 in the history of the company) and achieved 15 years of All-Star only 3 in the history of the company.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Successful Independent Agency with award-winning staff and sales/retention activity with the companies we partner with. State of the art technological agency.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
Technology and linking systems to have them working efficiently and with ease of use.
What do you like most about your job?
Helping people, protecting their most valuable possessions. Building a successful business.
What technology, apps or tools can’t you live without
Exercise equipment, aaptiv, audible.
Describe your workspace.
Three monitors and little to no clutter.
How do you manage your to-do list?
Good memory and written calendar on my desk.
What’s your best time-saving tip or hack?
Delegate, delegate, delegate, and trust who you delegate to and follow up.
What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office?
Check my email and daily numbers.
What do you listen to while working?
I have stock market on TV with no sound.
What are you currently reading?
The Four Disciplines of Execution by Sean Covey.
Coffee or Tea?
Night owl or morning person?
What are you watching on Netflix right now?
What does a typical day look like for you?
Very long walks early in the morning, then hit the office, but it varies by day. I visit my office regularly and check on the other businesses I own as well.
Who are your business idols, and why?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never give up and Reach for the stars.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
Tony Robbins- I love to motivate people.
Who would you like to see in the future This is the Way post?
Maybe the President of AAI Bill Aster.
POSTED JUNE 10, 2020 12:06 PM
|How to Build a Newsletter Your Clients Want to Read
Keeping up consistent communication with your clients is how you build trust. However, not every client needs every email update. Too much communication with clients and prospects, especially with information that doesn't apply to them, generally equal more people who unsubscribe. That's not what you want.
In this edition of Masters of Marketing, marketing automation expert Henna Javed covered the basics of email newsletters and how they enable your agency to provide all your updates in a more digestible format for your audience.
Watch the recording here.
Register once for all Masters of Marketing webinars!
POSTED JUNE 09, 2020 2:17 PM
News – Insurance Journal
|Court Upholds Immunity in Case of Iowa Officer Who Stomped on Suspect’s Ankle
A Davenport, Iowa, police officer who stomped on the ankle of a suspect used unreasonable force but cannot be held liable for doing so, a federal appeals court ruled on July 9. The 2015 stomp by officer Brian Stevens allegedly …
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 11:38 PM
|HUB Employee in California Suing Firm for Discrimination During Pandemic Lockdown
A former insurance account executive in California has filed a lawsuit claiming she was fired from her job in retaliation for complaining about discrimination against her by a supervisor who didn’t like her caring for her two children while she …
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 8:21 PM
|May 2019 Tornadoes in Missouri Caused Nearly $190M in Insured Losses
The May 2019 tornadoes that ravaged several parts of Missouri caused significant damage to both residential and commercial properties, and resulted in close to $190 million in insured losses, the state Department of Commerce and Insurance reported. The department has …
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 4:35 PM
|Louisiana Governor Signs Law Protecting Schools from Most Virus Lawsuits
Louisiana’s K-12 schools and colleges will be shielded from most civil lawsuits if a student or teacher contracts the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus under a bill that Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law on July 8. Lawmakers …
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 4:22 PM
|2 Workers Hurt in Boiler Room Fire at Tyson Chicken Plant in Arkansas
A boiler room outside of a southwest Arkansas chicken processing plant caught fire and exploded early on July 9, injuring two employees, an official said. The explosion was reported at about 1:30 a.m. at a Tyson Foods plant in Nashville, …
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 4:19 PM
|1 Dead After Tornado Hits Western Minnesota, Authorities Say
At least one powerful tornado damaged farms, left one person dead and two others injured in western Minnesota as severe storms moved across parts of the Midwest, authorities said. A 30-year-old man was killed near Dalton when a twister destroyed …
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 4:17 PM
|Volunteer Firefighter in Louisiana Arrested for Arson
A volunteer firefighter has been accused of starting a fire in south Louisiana. The State Fire Marshal’s Office, in a news release, said Kentrelle Beasley Jr., 18, was arrested on a charge of simple arson for setting an abandoned house …
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 4:17 PM
|Keystone Adds Dansig Insurance Risk Advisors in Illinois to Network
Dansig Insurance Risk Advisors (Dansig) of Decatur, Illinois, has joined the Keystone Insurers Group (Keystone), expanding that agency network organization’s footprint in the Great Lakes region. Led by Dan Reynolds, president and CEO, and Darren Reynolds, senior vice president, Dansig …
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 3:53 PM
|German Officials Seize Server With U.S. Police Files Stolen in Data Breach
At the behest of the U.S. government, German authorities have seized a computer server that hosted a huge cache of files from scores of U.S. federal, state and local law enforcement agencies obtained in a Houston data breach last month. …
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 3:52 PM
|Allstar Underwriters Expands Vacation Rental Insurance Program to Arkansas
Atlanta-based Allstar Underwriters has expanded its existing vacation rental insurance program into the state of Arkansas. The program has been offered in Tennessee since 2015, according to Laura Richardson, Allstar Underwriters vice president/property & casualty broker. The agency will offer …
POSTED JULY 10, 2020 3:44 PM