The insurance industry has always been a mix of somewhat old-fashioned sales and marketing and newer technology. It’s fairly common, for example, for a medium or large agency to have a Salesforce.com or SAP Business ByDesign platform already implemented—less so for smaller agencies.
For smaller agencies, which tend to move a bit more slowly toward technology, Software as a Service (or SaaS) is a lifeline they can’t afford to miss. With SaaS, companies can essentially "rent" software monthly instead of having to buy, install and maintain expensive systems. Agencies simply pay for what they use.
The SaaS or "cloud-based" applications available to the insurance industry have exploded in the past few years. For example, Cameleon’s (www.cameleon-software.com) Configure/Price/Quote (CPQ) solution helps agents generate price quotes and sales proposals. iPipeline (www.ipipeline.com), another insurance-focused SaaS solution, offers a quote engine, electronic policy delivery, an agency management system, access to forms from more than 100 insurance agencies for brokers, and a CRM system designed specifically for insurance sales. iPipeline is a particularly good choice for companies that don’t have an existing CRM system. ProspX (www.prospx.com) is another good choice, offering a full array of insurance-based tools.
For insurance agencies that have already standardized on SAP’s BusinessByDesign or Salesforce.com, there are even more options. Salesforce.com, for example, integrates fully with Cameleon CPQ, ProspX and several other SaaS-based insurance apps including InsureVue and PolicyTrak.
There are other SaaS-based options as well, from larger, well-established vendors with large portfolios. One is SAP Business One, billed as software for insurance providers, which has recently moved to the cloud. Another is IBM's Genelco, which can be used to handle life and health policy processing as well as annuity product portfolios. Accenture also has a life insurance platform suite with a cloud interface that helps identify underwriting risk and enables collaboration, along with much more functionality.
There is clearly a SaaS solution for every size and type of insurance company. It’s a field that tends to move more slowly than some, but the benefits far outweigh any potential risk, and insurance agencies that want to move forward, improve customer service and increase profits should strongly consider it.