Adopting e-signature is one of the very first steps that can help independent insurance agencies move toward more digital ways of doing business.
The ability to sign documents electronically makes things convenient for your customers and your staff. Most clients would rather quickly sign a document on their computer on their own time than have to go out of their way to visit your office to sign paperwork.
Using e-signature can be a first move toward a paperless office. Adopting cloud management systems for document storage can free up office space, make it easier to find and organize documents and reduce the risk of important documents getting lost or damaged.
Here are some tips from insurance agents and industry experts for making the move to a paperless office:
1. Go all-in
Majda Baltic, owner of Majdas Touch Insurance, advises agents to go all-in with digital documents instead of using a mix of physical and digital.
“I think it’s crucial to make that full shift versus being in no-man’s land in-between analog and digital,” she says. “My advice to other agents would be to stop printing papers. Stop using physical documents and sending things through the mail. Switch to an online platform for all filing and transactions.”
Making the switch to paperless will save agents time and money, she says. It’s also better for the environment.
Baltic said that being paperless was a huge advantage for her agency during COVID-19 lockdowns. Her staff didn’t have to send files through the mail. They didn’t have to figure out how to safely meet with clients in-person to sign paperwork. They could simply send clients documents for them to sign on their home computer.
2. Do it overnight
After an agency has the technology tools and infrastructures in place, the switch to digital can happen fast.
“Moving to an e-signature solution also best done essentially overnight: one day you use pen and paper, the next all documents are signed via eSignature,” says Carrisa Pawell, associate program manager for Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance. “Once e-signatures become second nature for your staff, the move to a truly paperless office becomes much easier.”
Digital agency owner Erin Nutting agrees.
“Once you have the core tools in place, the first step toward becoming more digital is simple: Stop putting it off,” she says.
If you want to stop using paper documents, she says, stop accepting physical paperwork.
“There’s no ‘by next Friday …’ It’s like sleep training a toddler – you have to immediately say no.”
3. Condition your clients
That said, an overnight transition to paperless may take some adjusting for your clients who are used to more traditional ways of doing business. Most will likely be happy with the change once they understand how it’s more convenient for them.
Nutting suggests conditioning clients by setting the expectation of how you now do business and staying consistent.
“I’ve found that customers will do business with you how you ask them to do business if you set the expectation and communicate the change,” she says. “For example, start responding to every single service request, every change that needs to be made, every VIN number modification with, ‘Absolutely, we definitely can take care of that for you. Please send your service request to firstname.lastname@example.org.’ Your customers will listen to you – they’re not going to fight you on it as long as you are consistent.”
E-signature is the first step on our framework to digital transformation. Click here to explore the framework and learn about more digital capabilities.