As client demands grow, insurance agencies must ensure that they have the right technology in…
Driving Insurance Agency Profitability with SD-WAN
A few years ago, The New York Times predicted the gradual demise of an age-old profession: the insurance agent. Undoubtedly, it's easy to project similarities to the well-documented plight of travel agents, who also saw their ranks dwindle as online booking services expanded. The comparison isn't perfect, though. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics actually projected faster than average employment growth (10 percent) for insurance agents between 2016 and 2026.
Whether insurance agencies ultimately remain fixtures of the everyday economy will depend in part on their technical evolutions, including how they approach their wide-area networks or WANs. The challenge from online services is real, and it merits a re-evaluation of how current network architectures support remote and branch offices, contain cost growth and enable efficient insurance claims processing in the wake of disasters.
How Traditional WANs Risk Missed Opportunities for Insurance Agencies
New automated insurance comparison apps have definitely put particular pressure on many agencies, in which agents increasingly have to do more than just serve as salespeople. At the same time, teams already face challenges in claims processing and remote office support.
Insurance Claims Processing
Not all agents participate in insurance claims filing, but the ones that do often make big differences in how quickly and effectively their policyholders' claims are processed. The typical procedures have changed in recent years, with mobile and cloud-based tech now enabling swifter transmission of photos.
This transition naturally puts pressure on network bandwidth, demanding a highly adaptive yet cost-effective WAN. Unfortunately, traditional WANs cannot efficiently handle dynamic changes in broadband requirements, measure path quality and incorporate less expensive link types such as commodity Internet. The expense and complexity of configuring them manually create additional hurdles to ensuring the flawless performance of critical apps.
Remote Office Support
The insurance industry has high exposure to IT issues at remote offices, due to its large number of such field sites. Company branches typically lack on-site technical personnel and instead must rely on central teams for assistance. They might also have to make do with older infrastructure because of budgetary constraints preventing upgrades.
This setup is far from ideal for supporting the complex performance-sensitive apps, from VoIP to video, that could enable a more agile and collaborative agency. Software-defined solutions from proven SD-WAN vendors like Talari Networks will put insurance agencies and providers on a more sustainable track as they evolve their networks to match requirements.
Application-centric SD-WANs are also critical given that agents typically living in a CRM SaaS app like Salesforce or a cloud productivity app like Office 365, in which unencumbered packets and paths ensure the highest level of WAN reliability and redundancy, and superior quality of experience.
Optimizing Network Performance with SD-WAN
A solution from an SD-WAN vendor enables superior utilization of existing investments in MPLS, and in many cases can facilitate a hybrid IT migration path to all Internet, along with the addition of other modes of transport. Constant millisecond measurement of path quality allows for real-time routing decisions that send priority traffic down the best available links leveraging the fastest route possible.
For insurance agencies and providers, a more reliable WAN is a crucial asset for everyday operations as well as the high-volume claims activity in the wake of events such as winter storms and hurricanes. To find out more about SD-WAN solutions, try a Talari demo or click the banner below.