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November 10, 2016
Cutting corners without cutting customer service — that’s what makes or breaks you in the business of insurance these days. Customers will scurry to the lowest price before you can say, “They don’t cover that,” but still demand the very best in coverage, flexibility in terms of deductibles, and 24-7 availability of an agent.
One of the ways that insurance companies are keeping pace with customer demands while keeping costs at a bare minimum is by taking advantage of managed service providers. These specialists can take over most or all of the insurance company’s IT needs, and do so much more affordably than it costs to have these same products and services onsite.
But the wrong managed service provider doesn’t save your insurance company any money. Instead, they’re likely to overcharge you, fail to provide all the services you need, or worse, cause lots of downtime and even some data security problems. What questions do you need to ask before settling on a managed service provider for your insurance business?
1. Does the Managed Service Provider Understand the Heavily-Regulated World of Insurance?
The first step to choosing the right MSP is finding one with experience in the insurance industry. No other industry is more regulated or has more legal hoops to jump through than insurers. Most MSPs specialize in a few different industries and are able to stay on top of the regulatory compliance and other issues those industries are subject to. Look for an MSP with experience in insurance so that they offer the right products and those products meet your compliance requirements.
2. What are Your Records Concerning Uptime & Security?
Downtime is a killer. While systems are down, you are unable to accept new business or to service the customers you have. It can cause you to lose customers and make customer satisfaction levels plummet. Look for a managed service provider that has a history of maintaining what the IT industry calls the “five nines” of uptime, or 99.999% uptime. Also, ask about their security record. What security measures do they have in place and how effective have those measures been so far? You can learn more about what to expect when you get your complimentary copy of Greg Hanna’s book ‘Computers Should Just Work!’.
3. What Kind of Support Comes with Your Services?
Some service providers offer a very low monthly price, but all their services and support cost extra on top of that. Others don’t offer rock-bottom prices, but most or all of the customer support and/or technical support you need is included. While the first dangles a sweet, low price, the second often comes out cheaper, because you aren’t paying extra for Every. Single. Thing. If little or no support comes with the MSP’s services, ask yourself how good that deal really is. Most insurance professionals aren’t tech gurus, so plan on needing at least some support.
4. Do You Offer All of the Managed Services We Need?
More than likely, your insurance company needs more than just one or two services that are offered by a managed service provider. For instance, you may need some cloud storage plus a cloud-based application or two, along with some mobile access and perhaps backups and disaster recovery. Since you’re taking the time to find an MSP for one of these needs, you might as well find a partner that can meet all those needs. Even if you don’t want those services now, find one that can serve your insurance company’s needs as you grow and prosper.
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