One of the most common reasons brokers turn to an automated solution for commercial lines is because a staff member, typically one with the most experience in commercial, is leaving. Many brokers don’t think about the state of their brokerage's commercial book until a key staff member gives notice, and at that point it's often too late.
If the principal or manager is lucky, the staff member will give more than two weeks notice. During this time the details of each file can be passed on to another staff member, reducing the likelihood of something falling through the cracks. But what if only two weeks notice, or worse, no notice, is given? What then? Do you confidently know where the most recent copy of each file is? What about the history of each policy?
Don't wait for someone to give notice; putting processes in place now reduces the impact of someone leaving. Here are three ideas.
1. Create a standardized process for managing commercial files
Regardless of what tools you're using, create a standardized process for managing the different aspects of your commercial files. One place to start is by thinking of your policies as being in one of two states: marketing (new business) and inforce (existing business).
From there, map out a process for the different stages of a policy. Having a standardized process that everyone working in commercial lines follow makes it infinitely easier for a staff member to take over a file. The reason? They won't have to spend time learning how someone else did something. All they will have to be concerned about will be the details of the file.
One key benefit of this approach is a consistent customer experience. Maintaining your customers' trust through a staff transition is paramount.
2. Create templates for each line of business written
Have experienced team members create templates, or apps, for each line of business you write. Why? Because if someone leaves, so too does their expertise and knowledge. Institutionalizing knowledge that already exists (within the members of your team) is a great way to begin working towards a best-practice approach to managing your commercial files.
There are many benefits to capturing the best practice knowledge that exists, but one of the most important is that managers and principals will have faith that less experience staff can continue doing the job of managing various types of business.
3. Create a standardized file naming protocol for all commercial policies
This might seem like a small thing, almost trivial to many principals. But it’s not. Brokers using Word and Excel to manage their commercial policies, whether it's a marketer, CSR, or producer, often have their own naming convention for files. This is a nightmare for anyone trying to takeover an account and navigating through a sea of files. Or worse, the same file is overwritten year after year, which means you've lost history on that account.
Come up with a standardized naming protocol so each commercial file is properly named. It can be as simple as something like, 'InsuredName_Submission_Insurer_Date'. The actual naming system is less important than actually having one. And once you have one, ensure everyone across the commercial department uses it.
These three ideas are not exhaustive, but they should help reduce the stress that is usually associated with having someone leave a brokerage.
Policy Works helps brokers bring a standardized, automated approach to managing their commercial lines book. If you have someone leaving your brokerage, or want to put some processes in place in the event someone does leave, we'd here to talk.