Outsourcing Improves Agency Productivity and Customer Service

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Remote staffing improves agency productivity, customer service and employee morale -- a case study in point.

The NIP Group, Inc.--a Managing General Agent (MGA) specializing in insurance packages for arborists and landscapers -- was in a growth mode in 2005. David Springer, president of NIP Programs, knew he needed to invest in that growth, and provide better levels of service to NIP's customers. This investment meant adding non-revenue-generating staff & activities.

Springer set out to re-engineer his operations.

He did a complete core process redesign: evaluating his operations, and creating detailed process maps. The key was identifying NIP's core skills.

"I looked at all the tasks performed in our critical functions, and identified those tasks we absolutely had to perform in-house," he says. "Anything that wasn't a core function, I looked to outsource."

He identified pricing, decision-making, and underwriting as core competencies that he wanted to retain in-house. But routine tasks -- such as processing new submissions -- could be outsourced.

He looked to ReSource Pro, a remote staffing firm headquartered in New York City, with its data processing center in Qingdao, China. ReSource Pro performs routine processing tasks for MGAs, program managers, and retail agencies & brokers.

ReSource Pro provided NIP with a dedicated processing team in China, logging submissions & confirming clearance, entering application data, and verifying each application. If the submission was accepted, NIP would assign an underwriter.

Any concerns Springer had about a language barrier -- or the 13-hour time difference with the processing staff in Qingdao -- were quickly dismissed. This is because the project manager in China, who was assigned to NIP, impressed Springer; and the time difference just added to his agency's productivity…turning NIP into a virtual 24-hour operation: as his staff left for the day, ReSource Pro began processing submissions. So a process that formerly took 3 to 4 days, now was done in 24 hours.

NIP continued to give new tasks to ReSource Pro in 2006: processing GL policy audits received from carriers, new & renewal policy billing, endorsement & cancellation billing, renewal letters, sending carrier-issued policies to brokers, and assisting the underwriting staff with general follow-up. The remote staff in Qingdao, that served NIP, grew to 10 people.

Through the outsourcing process, NIP retained all of its staff at its Woodbridge, New Jersey, headquarters, but did not have to add any additional data-processing employees.

NIP's business continued its strong growth, improving both its productivity and service levels. In fact, Springer reports that the responsive service that the company provides is in the top-quartile of his peer group of agencies.

Using ReSource Pro played a big part in significantly improving NIP's revenue per full-time employee. And for the future, remote staffing from ReSource Pro will give him the flexibility to re-allocate resources easily, and manage the ups-and-downs of future business cycles.

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Dan Epstein
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