4 Tips for Joint Power Authority Success in CRM


4 Tips for Joint Power Authority Success in CRM

Some traditional insurers tend to think about customer relationship management (CRM) technology as a tool only for finding/sharing customer information, but in the bigger picture, it’s used for extended outreach, partnership management, and cross-functional efficiencies that lend themselves to improved customer outreach, cross-selling, faster response times, improved customer retention and more.

Because of their complex operations, Joint Powers Authorities (JPAs) and joint insurance funds (JIFs) tend to follow the path of traditional insurers, evaluating CRM technology for a myriad of purposes.  Yet unlike traditional insurers, JPAs and JIFs operate within layers of complexities such as budget pressures, legislative initiatives, staffing issues, changes in elected or appointed leadership, and outdated systems that restrict efficiency of operations.   So how can they employ the right CRM strategy to leverage the most from their technology?

The answer to this question reads more like an opportunity, largely due to how these unique risk-sharing pools operate–as a full-fledged risk management community unto themselves. The variety and types of these public risk pools are as numerous as are their distinctions in risk-sharing approaches, lines of coverage, underwriting methodologies, and types of risks covered.  For example, JPAs can combine multi-peril commercial lines insurance options for its constituents across a variety of public entities, such as police, fire, transportation, city, special districts, county and state agencies.

Speaking of constituents, JPAs and JIFs have a unique opportunity to strategize around member development and customer service in this vertical market, and the following tips will help these unique risk-sharing pools make the most of their CRM strategy:

  • Pick the right technology. JPAs and JIFs typically manage more than one group, making access to customer data from anywhere with Internet access a must.  This means the technology must integrate with legacy systems as a fully digital platform that is secure, cloud-based and flexible.  This technology should deliver efficiencies at every turn, providing easy access from virtually any functional business unit to data fields that can be edited in real time by authorized users.  The right CRM module should also extend to include portals for direct outreach to members in order to facilitate the members’ own processing of information, reports, etc.
  • Pick the right technology solution provider. When evaluating technology vendors, look first for qualifications that embody the level and type of customer service you are seeking to provide your own members. This means asking if the solution provider will be available to you when you need them, providing helpful information and expedited service in an emergency. Is the solution provider mindful of your own unique resource/budget restrictions, and able to offer a low cost or customized alternative?  Finally, will the solution provider work with you on crafting the right solution for your unique customer service requirements?  If you answer yes to these questions, you are embarking on a long-term, positive partnership with a vendor that can truly make a difference in your CRM efforts.
  • Establish control of your CRM processes. A superior CRM system puts the JPA/JIF in control, enabling them to rethink existing workflow processes that create new efficiencies and allow them to execute on customer service excellence. The inclusion of powerful workflow tools makes certain that policyholder information and tasks associated with daily client management are shared with the right team members at the right time, including report generation across functional business units, whether for underwriting, billing, loss control or audit. These efficiencies, along with improved response times, play forward to increased member satisfaction, which is the goal of all of these unique organizations.
  • Follow the leaders. Amidst the inherent operational complexities and economic and political pressures faced by JPAs and JIFs, it can be difficult to effectively manage relationships with clients, members, committees, boards and partners, especially without embracing new, innovative technologies and methods of managing risk. The following recognized leaders in their respective domains are but a few excellent examples of how to leverage CRM systems to deliver extraordinary value to their member constituents:
  • Golden State Risk Management Authority (GSRMA)
  • Beta Healthcare Group
  • Montana Association of Counties (MACo)
  • Texas Political Subdivision Joint Self-Insured Insurance Fund
  • Shasta-Trinity Schools Insurance Group
  • Schools Insurance Authority (SIA)
  • Florida Sheriffs Risk Management Fund
  • Maine School Management Association
  • Association of California Health Districts
  • League Association of Risk Management

It’s often said that JPAs and JIFs are underserved as a group of non-policy insurers that experience many if not more of the same challenges as do traditional carriers.  The good news is that in spite of their limitations, with the right CRM technology and solution partner in place, these unique shared-risk pools have every opportunity to see continued growth and success.