One such agency that has already taken the plunge is the Appleby & Wyman Insurance Agency. Founded in 1903 in Concord, Appleby & Wyman currently serves over 10,000 personal and business clients via its three locations in Beverly, Dedham and Westford. Lisa Marciano, CPCU, CIC, Appleby & Wyman’s Senior Vice President of Operations spoke with Agency Checklists about her company’s decision to use The Hanover’s Customer Service Center and the benefits and challenges any agency will face in contemplating a similar move.
How long have you been using Hanover’s Customer Service Center?
We have been using The Hanover service center for about 2-3 years.
What is the most important thing agents should know about using a Customer Service Center like The Hanover’s?
The service center is a team approach to serving the client, you are not sending your client off to the carrier for servicing. Both the carrier and agent are working together to provide service. It is an extension of our service team.
What are the advantages for agents in using a service/call center like Hanover’s?
It allows the agency to service our clients faster and better. They [Hanover] send out the paper in commercial lines, they will call out to try to round accounts, if we take a call we can send an email to the service center to process any necessary endorsements or follow-up.
Lack of documentation in our agency management system from what the carrier did. There needs to be a way to download all activities from the service center into our system. We can always call the service center to find out what happened but that is not very efficient. Second, they can only service the accounts they write. So if a client needs a certificate of insurance and one policy is with the service center and one with the pool you have to give them two certificates.
Was it easy to incorporate this service into your agency?
No, it takes a lot of detail leg work, change in workflow, managing and adjusting to each of the service centers, managing and training staff, cleaning up your database. A carrier service center does not solve all of your servicing challenges but it does help with improving efficiencies.
How much does it cost?
The cost ranges from 1/2 point to 2, maybe 3 points of commission if it is a small book.
What else you would mention to agents contemplating this service?
There needs to be a procedure in place for any issues that come up from the staff or clients and any challenges need to be fixed clearly.
Any final thoughts?
Changing how an agency operates and implementing a service center is a big step, requires some thought, and the acceptance that there will be some glitches along the way. Nothing is perfect!
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