Let’s Talk About Agency Procedures Again

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We all have similar agency management concerns. Grace Bauer reminds you why we develop procedures and why we need to keep them up-to-date. 

Small, mid-size, and large agencies alike have the same reasons for wanting to document procedures.

  • “Let’s find out what is truly going on inside the agency.” Increase efficiency.
  • “I know all the employees aren’t doing the same things the same way.” Attain consistency and help prevent E&O claims.
  • “How long is it taking us to train someone new?” Save time in training, coverage, and backup.
  • “I just answered that same question last week.” Save time and develop a good reference system for staff questions.
  • “I’m retiring in three years and I want to make sure that I have a perpetuation plan.”

Because we all have the same concerns, every once in a while we need to remind ourselves why we developed these procedures and why we need to keep them up-to-date.

WHAT’S GOING ON? INCREASE EFFICIENCY

What’s going on? Are your employees still doing things the same way — the way you outlined — exactly the way things need to be done? You might have spent three, four, five, maybe even six months preparing procedures. You identified the problem areas and learned what employees were doing and not doing. You found out exactly what was going on inside the agency, reviewed all the details of each process, and agreed on the most efficient way to do things.

Do you really know that everyone is still complying with all of these procedures? Make sure that you still know what’s going on. Have meetings to review procedures and keep everything up-to-date. Continue to keep your agency as productive and efficient as everyone agreed after the procedural process.

ARE WE ALL STILL DOING IT THE SAME WAY? PREVENT E&O

Having everyone follow the same procedure in the same way should go far to curbing E&O claims. Again, have those meetings, continue with the auditing process, and make sure that all employees are conforming to the documented procedures. Continue to attain consistency and help prevent that E&O claim.

HOW LONG IS IT TAKING US? SAVE TIME ON TRAINING

Are you still saving time training new employees? Are you finding that the training process takes a bit longer? Are your procedures up-to-date? If not, you might as well forget them: They’re worthless in training someone new. Yes, here we go again.

Remember to keep procedures up-to-date, have those meetings, and check for changes. Unfortunately, the growth of Web capabilities these days means that procedures are changing, if not weekly, at least every other week. Continue to save lots of time training someone new.

I KNOW YOU ASKED ME THE SAME QUESTION LAST WEEK — HAVE A GOOD REFERENCE

If you’re one of the people in the agency who keeps getting questions day after day, consider this: One of the reasons that you developed procedures was to create a good reference source for employee questions. So why do you keep answering questions whenever anyone comes to you?

Always refer employees to the procedures. Refer everyone to the procedural manual. Refer everyone to the procedural manual! I say this twice because most of the time it doesn’t happen. Save time and increase efficiency by having everyone use those procedures the agency spent so much time developing. Refer everyone to the manual.

I’M RETIRING IN THREE YEARS — SECURE A PERPETUATION PLAN

When you sell the agency or pass it on to your successor, you’ll need a detailed perpetuation plan that covers everything from answering the phone through selling, to day-to-day account maintenance.

Preparing this procedural document gives you the security of knowing you can leave the office to either sell more or just plain take time off. When have you ever taken time off just for you? Are you still planning for that long, once-in-a-lifetime vacation? The office is running exactly the way you want it to run — your way. You were a part of the procedural process. Your ideas are included in each procedure. You enjoy peace of mind because you’re ready for that next step — your step.

CONCLUSION

Why do you have procedures? Why do you keep having those meetings week after week? You know what’s truly going on inside the agency. You’re improving your efficiency. You know that employees are still doing things in the same way to prevent possible E&O claims. You’re saving a ton of time in training. You have a good reference system that saves time and increases efficiency. You have a perpetuation plan that prepares you for your retirement.

That’s why you have procedures. So keep those meetings going and continue to enjoy the benefits of up-to-date procedural documents.

Grace Bauer helps insurance agencies put together customized insurance procedural manuals to secure consistency, protect against errors and omissions, attain security, and increase efficiency. She can be reached at (800) 896-4226, or e-mail gracebauer@aol.com.
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