Virtual Management – a concept for agencies who don’t have competent local managers for their employees or producers:
We are involved in many programs that improve and monitor insurance agency performance. Almost 20 years ago we took our first assignments as “virtual” Operations Managers and “virtual” Sales Managers for agencies around the country. The agencies did not warrant hiring full time managers for various reasons, but the owners inherently knew that they were not the right folks to manage the functions for which they assigned us responsibility.
The agencies that hired us for these roles were our clients. We analyzed the agencies and found that the owners desired the professional management that would enhance their growth potential, and also permitted them to continue serving in the capacity where they provided the greatest value and return to their business, usually in sales. We performed the roles and became de-facto managers for them at vastly lower cost than they would have paid for full time managers, including benefits, until growth permitted the assumption of full time managers which were developed within their own agencies.
In the past few years, we have found a larger number of agencies coming to us to “virtualize” these roles that the owners (or others) previously occupied for a different reason. They saw no reason to add layers of management if they have trusted employees that perform their roles and whom only need monitoring and reporting. So we continue to serve in “virtual” management capacities throughout the U.S. with the sponsorship and support of agency owners and, in many cases, to serve as supervisors and department managers to implement growth plans for agencies that have been relatively stagnant in recent years.
Dashboard Reporting – Providing Succinct Measures of Success to the Agency Owners
Since we began discussing the term “Dashboard Reporting” over five years ago, it has become the latest “buzzword” defining a means of gauging the success local management or of our virtual management — or any form of monitored program. We’d like to remind you about the concept of Dashboard Reporting so that you can use it as your day-to-day mechanism for measuring the status of your projects and progress.
A Dashboard Report is like the dashboard of your vehicle. It tells you at a glance the status of various measures of the efficiency of your car. Similarly, if you establish a Dashboard Report in your agency, you will have a daily, weekly and/or monthly means of defining your own measures of success in those goals that you establish as important for the performance of your agency.
We initially created our first Dashboard Report for absentee owners of an agency who wanted to know (in two pages) “everything” that were going on in their business. So we created a Dashboard Report that told the owners the following statistics:
1. New Business – How much NB was written in the period, by whom and the annualized value in commission/fees for that business
2. Lost Business – How many policies or clients we lost, who they were, why we lost them and the annualized value of the lost business
3. Agency Growth – Net number of clients and current annualized value of all insurance in force compared to the previous period.
4. Sales Activity – Numbers for Prospecting activity, Sales Calls made and Proposals Generated in the period
5. Aged Accounts Receivable – Debit Only – Pre-bills, 0-30 day, 30-1-60 day, 61-90 day and over 90 day.
6. Claims – number of claims opened, number of claims closed, number of claims or reserves considered in the Large Loss category by virtue of payments or reserves
7. Cash Position – Initial dollars in the bank; revenue received in the period; expenses in the period (in 3 categories – to carriers or clients, to payroll, to operating expenses); Closing dollars in the bank
8. Processing Workflow – Prior Period Backlog; Current Period Incoming (phone, mail, all other); Current Period Ending Backlog; Production (Prior Period Backlog + Current Incoming – Current Backlog)
9. Client or Carrier Problems not resolved by the end of the period listed by client name with an explanation of the problem.
10. Personnel issues arising during the period with the name and synopsis of problem and solution.
The agency for which we did our initial Dashboard Report went through several iterations before determining that these ten items was what they needed to know what was going on in the agency. We determined that the agency staff or management responsible for their contribution to this report had to KNOW what was going on in order to construct the report. The owners tested this by asking for details and backup documentation when they noted aberrations or unusual issues arising from these ten management modules.
In the ensuing decades, we have honed Dashboard Report to bring them to every level of agency management, from the report above to local department Dashboard Reports that permit staff and local management the capability of measuring their success, efficiency and workload and business standards at all times.
We are known for our mantra, “information isn’t just important, it is the most important asset of any business”. The more you know about your business from the overall view to the detailed view, the more successful you can become. We should never “guess” or use “gut feel” when making changes to our business. We use the information that we gather to prove or disprove our theories.
Please call Al or David Diamond at (800) 779-2430 if you would like to discuss Virtual Management roles in your agency or if you would like to institute a Dashboard Report to provide you with solid information about the status of your agency at all times.