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Agencies to Increase Tech Investments: What Carriers Should Know

After an increase in profitability, insurance agencies anticipate investments in social media and improved management systems for 2014.

The 2013 Best Practices Study by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) showed an industry-wide increase in plans for technology investments.

For agencies with revenue under $5 million, these investments will include Internet marketing and social media. Carriers should note that despite the proliferation of social media in today’s marketplace, agencies may face marketing difficulties.

[Underwriting is another major investment in the insurance industry. Make the most out of yours: 5 Ways to Get the Most of Underwriting Investments. ]

“Agents are still struggling with the whole issue of social media, and how to best reach and serve their customers,” said Shirley Lukens, principal and senior consultant at Reagan Consulting.

Because agencies don’t have much time to create content, she explained, insurance companies would be wise to contribute. Some carriers already assist agencies by providing promotional content that isn’t carrier-specific, said Lukens. This helps those who are beginning to explore social media and how it can be used to their advantage.

Agencies with revenue over $5 million are expected to prioritize new agency management systems, as most struggle with managing producers. Social media was ranked fourth in importance among these companies, likely because they already employ social media and marketing strategies.

The study also concluded that agencies across the industry had problems with finding new employees. A lot of baby boomers are retiring, Lukens explained, leaving many open positions. Carriers can assist agencies with implementing strategies that will help find qualified candidates, most of whom can be reached through technology such as social media and Internet job boards.

[Trying to find top talent? Read: 5 Lessons for Employers Looking to Hire. ]

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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