This post is part of a series sponsored by AgentSync.
Data and workflow silos cost your insurance business time, money and good people. It’s time to shed some light on these common problems and start breaking down these barriers.
Does the phrase “but this is what we have always done” sound familiar? If you are in the insurance business, and you do, you are definitely not alone. Many things in our world have been “done this way” for decades, if not centuries.
Sticking to the same old way you have always run your business may seem like the easiest way, but when it comes to making your business competitive, the status quo is not enough. The truth is that insurance companies, insurance agencies and MGA / MGU are filled to the brim with silos. Whether they are due to outdated processes, outdated technology or people who do not have the resources they need to share information effectively both within and outside their organization, silos are the couple for the course in today̵7;s insurance world.
Maybe you realize that these silos exist and have tried to find solutions, but without results. On the other hand, you may have been happily unaware and did not even know that your status quo was causing problems. In either case, keep reading to learn more about the common pitfalls that keep many insurance companies from reaching their full potential.
Do you want to jump to the quiz? Find out if your insurance company may be suffering from a case of silo * by taking it now.
* This quiz is intended to diagnose possible cases of datasilos within your organization. If you think you or someone you know is suffering from information or workflow silos, contact us to learn how AgentSync can help.
What is silos?
Like the wonderful grain silos that beautifully stretch across the American agricultural landscape, silos in your business are great ways to keep information and processes locked in and free of contaminants. Unfortunately, this also means that the people who need access to that information or processes are likely unable to. Unlike cereals and other raw materials, institutional knowledge needs the ability to move freely in your organization. As much as we love farmers, we are convinced that silos have no business in your business.
Information silos occur in your business when information travels vertically but not horizontally. For example, the head of your legal department communicates an update to the compliance team members below them in the organization chart, which then communicates the information to the administrative staff below them. But no one mentions anything to the operations manager, so the information never reaches the staff in that department. This can lead to confusion and conflicts between departments because everyone works with the information they have, but not the same (exact) information.
In addition to information silos, there are workflow silos. This happens when different parts of a larger organization follow different processes and workflows. If each department is a gear in a large machine but each gear swings in its own unique direction, the machine as a whole will not work.
Information and workflow silos that are built between departments within an organization are what we usually think of. It’s easy to imagine how the sales team and the HR department can have completely different ways of doing things and places to look for information. Most of us have worked in a company that has suffered from internal silos at least a little.
Perhaps just as common, but less frequently recognized, are the information and workflow silos that exist between different organizations that should and need to work in tandem with each other. In the insurance industry, an insurance company, an insurance agency and a supervisory body would benefit from having an open, real-time, multi-directional flow of information. If they did, everyone in each organization would have access to the same knowledge as the others and everyone would be on the same page, without effort. We probably do not need to tell you that this is not usually the case.
Workflow silos can also exist between different organizations just as they can internally. Most of us are aware of the pain of two processes that are in conflict between organizations, which makes both sides frustrated at how difficult it is to do business with the other.
What causes silos?
Much has been written about the causes and the negative effects silos have on companies. From revenue, to efficiency, to employee morale, the consensus is that no good comes from a down-to-earth organization.
In many cases, experts attribute the formation of silos to poor leadership and antagonistically competitive internal teams. But we also know that silos can not exist out of malicious intent but simply out of a lack of resources spent on preventing them. In an industry as old as insurance, silos can easily be formed when a company does not adopt new practices that are specifically designed to centrally accommodate information and allow its sharing across the entire company.
How to tear down information and workflow silos?
That’s the million dollar question, right? Breaking down data, workflow and communication silos in your insurance business can feel daunting, but it does not have to be. Some expert tips include:
- Encourage horizontal collaboration: Create opportunities for team members to work with each other, not just with those in their vertical chain of command.
- Creating a common goal: When each person on the team shares a vision and is dedicated to working together to achieve it, it becomes less important to gather information and more important to share it.
- Implement technology to do heavy lifting: More systems is not always the answer. But having the right system in place can be. When your organization invests in a solution that gives each employee the right level of insight into the same single source of truth, it is difficult for information silos to thrive.
Of course, everything is easier said than done. But tearing down your information silos does not have to be an impossible task. With the right tools, it can be easier than you think!
Could your organization use a healthy dose of silo breaking technique? Take our quiz to find out.
How to tear down information and workflow silos?
If you are looking for a better way to handle producer introduction, ongoing compliance management, contracts, operator appointments and many other parts of your business in a way that provides transparency throughout the organization and makes your internal and external stakeholders happy, see how AgentSync can help you .