Last updated: 3 Ways to innovate the insurance agent onboarding process

3 Ways to innovate the insurance agent onboarding process


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In a world that’s going digital, insurance is still one of the industries where talking to a person to get advice is still popular. In fact, insurance intermediaries are still the number one channel where insurance is being sold globally.

This being the case, insurance carriers need to ensure that they have the best agents on the job to push their business forward and to control the customer experience. Historically, the turnover of insurance agents in this role are quick and when onboarding processes are tedious, by the time the agent onboarding process is completed, then POOF, a short duration later, they’re gone.

Houston, we have a problem: How to improve the agent onboarding process

What companies need to focus on is making the onboarding process simple and efficient and getting a real return on their investment by allowing agents selling as quickly as possible.

Not only do successful onboarding processes establish stronger relationships between agents and carriers, but they can also improve new hire retention by over 80 percent, and productivity of agents by more than 70 percent.

Here are three ways carriers can innovate the agent onboarding process and drive more business, quicker:

1. Embedded Portals: In order to get a wider pool of candidates, carriers need to allow candidates to find them via other methods than recruiting.

Typically, insurance carriers know what type of agent they’re looking for, so they create job descriptions, then send targeted invitations to interested candidates who they believe have the necessary experience, accreditations, and are compliant to do the job. However, this method alone makes companies lose potential talent because it’s dependent on the company’s database and lists of available agents, which could quickly become outdated and irrelevant.

More companies are adding embedded application portals onto their websites so interested candidates can apply for positions, as well as add their information on the carrier’s website without the need of a targeted invitation. Yes, perhaps all candidates will not be winners, but this expands the talent pool by adding a channel for available agents to find you.

2. Self-Service Features: Insurance carriers sometimes struggle to gather and process the paperwork needed to bring new agents onboard and get them up to speed quickly. Through traditional, paper-driven approaches to the agent onboarding process, this can take weeks.

This is due heavily to the fact that traditional agent onboarding processes rely on hand-written applications, faxes, data entry, and lengthy issue-resolution procedures. Carriers that still follow this method often lose promising agents to more streamlined competitors that onboard their new agents and partners digitally.

Carriers need to invest in tools that will allow a clear, step by step process for onboarding, where necessary credentials and documents can easily be uploaded, issues can be flagged quickly, and needed trainings are readily available for agents to complete. It’s also important for carriers to invest in solutions that allow for customized steps that are relevant for their specific organization, mixed with the more out of the box onboarding steps that are normal for all carriers.

3. Automation: The irony is, intermediaries don’t need a middle man, but most insurance carriers use middle men to onboard intermediaries. This only prolongs the agent onboarding process.

Here’s what a typical hiring and onboarding process could look like: 1. Candidates fill out their applications 2. An onboarding administrator manually pushes the information to compliance and background check agencies 3. A few days pass for an answer 4. The administrator manually approves or declines the application or 5. The administrator manually reaches out to the agent to answer any open questions. This can be a convoluted process and not a great use of administrators’ time or talent.

Most steps in onboarding don’t need to be manual. If the onboarding process is standardized and varies little from agent to agent, automation can literally cut out the intermediaries and evaluate applications quicker. This helps carriers get qualified agents on the field and ready to sell, or move on to the next worthy candidate without wasting too much time.

It’s time for carriers to invest and innovate the agent onboarding process for their potential workforce. The quicker the onboarding process, the faster agents can be on the field, pushing new business and gaining new revenue for your company.

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