New AMS Innovations for the Digital Age
At the recent Applied Net 2019 conference in October in Las Vegas, NV, Applied Systems announced new updates to Applied Epic and its digital agency and brokerage portfolio intended “enable agents and brokers to further revolutionize the ways they create value for their business and the end insured,” according to Applied Systems’ senior vice president of Product Management, Michael Howe. “The digital revolution of insurance is creating opportunities for agencies, brokerages and insurers to leverage technology to automate operations and connect to each stakeholder in the insurance lifecycle in new ways.”
More concretely, this means Applied has introduced several new features to Applied Epic that conform to the definition of what a “digital brokerage” is and what it needs to succeed. As laid out in this presentation, Applied argues that “a single application with centralized customer data, sales automation and seamless insurer connectivity is necessary to effectively manage a digital brokerage. It provides seamless integrations to third-party applications, proprietary systems and other data sources for a single view of the entire business.” Many of the added features align with that view.
For example, in line with the financial oversight aspect of a “foundational brokerage management system,” as described in the presentation, the new direct bill commissions feature in Applied Epic will streamline the recording of direct bill commissions “with added ability to select search filter criteria and then directly record commissions from that filtered list.” Connectivity is another major aspect of the kind of management system Applied describes, and several of the new features, including mobile bill pay and mobile certificate issuance, aim to address that need.
Additionally, another aspect of a “foundational brokerage management system” is how it enables brokerages to “mine and analyze the vast amount of data found within the system for business insights” and “quickly identify cross- and up-sell opportunities via a single view.” Naturally, several of the new additions to Applied Epic focus on data analytics. Brokerages can now use Applied Analytics to display “dashboards on specific datasets,” construct risk maps built on Google Maps’ datasets and filter data sets by time, which would hypothetically allow brokerages to glean additional insight from their data.
Applied is using the digital brokerage of the future as a guiding light for its innovation. Not only is the company updating its AMS based on what it believes a digital broker needs, it is even hosting a digital scorecard on its website for agencies to gauge how much of a “digital agency” they are compared to the average. Even if a brokerage does not use Applied, the company’s recognition that brokerages need to transform into digital brokerages to succeed is important. Software solution providers—legacy systems and startups alike—are investing in forward-looking tools to help brokers automate processes and improve the customer experience, meaning broker-focused technologies are available in all shapes and sizes. What will differentiate the winners and losers when it comes to implementing new technologies is the brokerage’s ability to incentivize and evolve its digital culture.