Who doesn’t want to gain an advantage. Of course we all want an advantage, I don’t care what it is. Whether it’s on a court or on the pitch, the courtroom or the classroom, your brick and mortar or your online services, everyone wants to gain an advantage, beat their competition, improve their end product! Insurance is no different. It might be looked at as a boring industry, not one that gets the competitive juices flowing. That’s just not the case though. Behind those eApps and rate tables are some fighters.
When it comes to being an Advantage Insurer, I’m not talking about a single magic pill, some magic platform to purchase or some can’t miss product to push out. Yes, modernization efforts, utilizing a knowledgeable advisor for selections, new product combinations are all key to gaining advantages, but I want to step back and talk about a change in mindset. A change in mindset to continuously look at your platforms, processes, products, producers and policy holders, to identify existing advantages or a lack there of and get to where everywhere you look in your company you have advantages, and most importantly you keep them.
Continuously looking for and creating advantages are key, but keeping them is more important to your success. And most of the time you have to manufacture your own advantage, meaning it won’t just fall in your lap. Not everyone can afford the latest platform. Not everyone has a superstar on their roster. Lets look at another multibillion dollar industry for an example, the NBA. What does the NBA have in common with insurance? Well…….nothing, but lets not focus on that. Sometimes you need to look around a bit to get fresh ideas, influences, to get the competitive juices flowing!
Quin Snyder, head coach of the NBA’s Utah Jazz, went through some adversity with his team this past year. He went through significant roster changes, no longer had a superstar that created an inherent advantage just by showing up. He risked fielding a stagnant team, a poor product, one that wouldn’t satisfy the customer. He had to kickstart a new culture, one that would allow his team to maximize their potential and compete. He decided to focus on creating advantages, advantages utilizing all facets of the game, every player on his roster, every process in the organization, on and off the court……coining it advantage basketball. They would focus on one portion of a play, utilizing strategy to create space over an opponent, operating more freely, creating an advantage. Once an advantage is created, it’s easier to build upon, creating more. And most importantly, once you gain an advantage, you keep it! And once the new mindset is in place, when the next superstar comes around and is infused into the culture properly, there will be an even greater advantage. You might be thinking, well no kidding, this is common sense, everyone thinks this way, regardless of your industry……right? Wrong!
In our industry, people get complacent, can have tunnel vision on maybe one roadblock, whether it’s C level, mid-level, front line. Don’t just think about certain weaknesses, think about continuously gaining and keeping an advantage, using everything at your disposal. Your inability to take eApps may frustrate you, your old legacy system (which we need to talk about by the way) will make you pull your hair out, and these are legitimate issues in today’s market and should be addressed. But don’t solely focus on that. Change your mindset to look at your current landscape and ecosystem, strategize, find and/or create advantages with your current toolsets, then keep them while you continue this process. You can’t just focus on what you don’t have, as I guarantee you there will be lost opportunity, lost advantage to be had. Change your mindset, create advantages, and when you bring that new platform (superstar) in and properly integrate it, the advantage is even greater.
Lets start small. Do you have a great CSR team for a certain product, does it give you an internal advantage over servicing other products? That’s great. Keep the advantage you have, assess how to create that advantage with your other teams, and keep that moving forward. Soon you won’t just have an advantage internally, you’ll create an advantage over your competition in that area (customer satisfaction). And regarding your legacy toolsets, utilize an external advisory to jump start the selection process (I know a good one), giving you an advantage that you can run with. These are small pieces, small starts, but you combine that with an agent advantage, a NB intake advantage, a claim advantage, an overall customer experience advantage, utilizing people you have, people you hire, partnerships you have or create, external advisors you utilize, platforms you have (the nice shiny ones you very well may need), and most importantly you never change this mindset…….you’ll become an advantage insurer. And that’s your best bet, as you’re probably not good enough to join the Utah Jazz and play advantage basketball……..I know I’m not.