Most insurance agents are relying on outsourcing to get their work done in time and with accuracy. This not only aids in leveraging expert assistance for the job done but also doubles up the quality standards, productivity levels and performance output.

There are many services in the marketplace for insurance agents according to the information procured from the members of the IIAT. However, there are yet many functions that certain agents would like to consider bearing in mind the satisfaction of their clients and fulfilling the HR requisitions of their organization.

There are many fictitious facts about outsourcing that need to be busted in order to understand the merits, making informed decisions and implying the outsourcing solutions.

Firstly, not all outsourcing solutions come cheaper. Even if they do, they may fail to serve the purpose, i.e. enhance overall productivity and reduce cost expenditures.

Secondly, the fear of loss of control is another myth that needs to be busted. This can be ensured with a well chalked out contract of terms and conditions with mutual agreement of the vendors based upon your specific requirements.

Outsourcing could be both a short term and a long-term solution to help your organization free up internal resources to comply with other core agency operations. Hence, the duration of the outsourcing solution should not be measured as criteria for a long-term strategy.

It is untrue that being an independent entity the outsourced resource would not take up the responsibility to keep things moving, in fact it is an added objective for the for the outside source to meet up to the level of expectations and quality standards. Even the fear of losing control and not being able to bring it back to the house is a common phenomenon however; this fear could be kept at bay by mitigating specific tasks to the outsourcing agent under well-defined procedures, controls and supervision.

Outsourcing does not imply that your company is not competent to handle the functions outsourced but it is actually a supportive feature to enable the company focus it’s attention on its clients and designing better products and services for the same.

Most members and staff of the company do feel that outsourcing would mean loss of jobs. It should be understood that it is not an alternative to staff reduction or downsizing rather it helps in relieving the overburdened experienced skill set allowing them to be more productive and enhancing their caliber.

Finally, one must always help establish their own processes and standards that they want their vendors to follow suit this will not only enhance the operational efficacy but also lead to standardization of the workflow.

Merits of outsourcing

  • Accepted and acknowledged as a healthy business practice by most organizations in U.S
  • Helps focus on prime functions by shifting responsibilities to be handled by the outsourced partner.
  • Aides in development and expansion, Enhances cost efficiency
  • Streamlines and speeds up back office operations with greater agility
  • Offers access to specialists skills with access to combating turnover in the absence of internal staff and reducing the need for overtime by the staff eliminating excess strain on staff.
  • Organized and monitored control of staff and security with reduced management oversight to help relieve the owners.

Requirements to be outsourced

  • Publications, Web Development and I.T
  • Accounting and Financial Services
  • Licensing and Database maintenance services
  • Policy checking, claim reports, billing, data entry, loss of summaries, data conversions and processing related to business mergers and acquisitions.
  • Issuing routing certificates, requests and endorsements, direct bill reconciliations, assemblage of submissions etc.

Answers to seek before deciding whether to outsource or not

  • Need to outsource?
  • Does the organization have a basic minimum of 160 policies a month to adopt outsourcing solution?
  • What is best for my organization seasonal temporary workers or staff overtime during the year?
  • Will the higher paid higher skilled staff have to fill in the lower level work?
  • Time and money to be invested in training and retraining of certain agency functions?
  • Types of problems, bottlenecks can the outsourcing solution help evade?
  • What type of outcome to be expected?
  • How to involve staff members in the solution?
  • How to measure the success?
  • What kind of monitoring to be done?
  • Could it be brought back in-house?
  • What their references say?
  • When considering overseas vendor ensuring that they do have a home branch in U.S, also checking English proficiency and arrangements for international outsourcing.
  • All communications to be in writing and with ease of implementation for the outsourcing solution.

Common setbacks experienced for not implementing an outsourcing program.

  • Development of a low office morale created due to lack of communication and trust among key staff members
  • If within the community, some people might object to work being carried out by foreigners or people outside that particular community.
  • Making outsourcing a severe downsizing equipment
  • Extended job responsibilities for employing making them bear the strain and pressure.

Steps to follow when ready to outsource and qualities to look out for in your Outsourcer

  • Designing and developing a detailed plan of requirements and goals to be achieved
  • Determine the cost of vendors , their set up fee and monthly expenses
  • Deciding whether quick returns’ of a long term objective
  • Deciding on the processes to be outsourced, which needs to be outsourced and which can be easily handled by the staff
  • Detailed agency procedures for each function to be outsourced
  • Obtaining the buy-in of key personnel
  • Developing a communication plan that both agency and the outsourcer can comfortably follow
  • Considering industry scions for the project
  • Performing due diligence
  • Requesting a calibration period
  • When looking for an outsourcing partner ensure that it fits well with the agency culture and values
  • Should be expert in the field and understand the requirements
  • Should have open communication and offer genuine reporting of operations
  • Should have ample experience with similar agencies
  • Insist on a firm that offers to allocate employees solely for the agency operations along with account manager responsible to the agency for the agreed outcome.
  • The vendor should have the infrastructure to be even remotely well connected to the agency management systems

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