TL; DR: After a stint selling computers to insurance agents in the 1980s, the Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC) continues its forward-thinking approach to technology with the Insurance Website Builder. More than the standard drag-and-drop builder, ITC’s platform includes personal consultations, custom designs, and software programs that enable agencies to attract and serve online customers without needing to learn how to code. ITC President Laird Rixford walked us through the company’s process and explained how the platform ensures localized insurance success.
Even before the internet gained widespread appeal, the Insurance Technologies Corporation, or ITC, was pushing forward with new technologies.
The company started in 1983 as a hardware and software vendor for insurance agents before releasing TurboRater, a comparative rating program that allows customers to receive quotes from multiple insurance providers at once. As a teenager fresh out of high school, Laird Rixford created the software’s website in the mid-1990s.
“Even back then, it was a different take on the industry,” he said. “Most of the time, you would give your information to an agent and wait for them to call you back with all the different rates that were available.”
More than 4,000 insurance websites later, ITC and President Laird Rixford have streamlined the process so agents without design experience or coding knowledge can build a successful online presence. The company’s Insurance Website Builder enables agencies to launch a professional marketplace in 10 days or less.
“As we developed more and more websites, we found the need to adapt to the special requirements of certain regulatory standards such as HIPAA or FINRA,” he said. “That can be very challenging for insurance agents who are not experts in web design. With our hands-on approach to both support and site building, ITC enables clients to build and maintain effective sites that appeal to customers and increase revenue.”
ITC Inspires Agencies With Consultation and Creative Designs
Although ITC’s site-building platform is a departure from traditional drag-and-drop site builders, such as Wix and Weebly, it allows users a surprising range of flexibility and customization. With more than 75 templates to peruse, insurance agents can enjoy the site creation process as one that is simplified yet customized to fit the client’s needs.
Insurance agencies can pick and choose which elements of the templates to include in their personal site and leave the hard work to ITC consultants and developers.
When viewing the company’s collection of templates, the insurance agents can pick and choose which layouts, colors, and other elements are most appealing. From there, the client discusses website goals and designs with an ITC consultation team, which puts the pieces into production.
“It’s a dedicated platform that builds each site in real time based on what the agency wants to have set up for the consumer,” Laird said. “With all of our sites hosted on a single platform, we are able to quickly update and make changes to those sites.”
Although the idea of using templates and automated processes may seem restrictive, ITC aims to inspire clients and guide them toward industry-proven design principles that boost conversions.
“Agents may not know what works or what consumers are clicking on,” Laird said. “For example, I’ve seen sites built on Wix with a button to get a quote all the way at the bottom that I’d have to scroll down two or three times just to see. We help agents find that optimized design that helps them better accomplish their business objectives.”
Helping Clients Adapt and Update According to Consumer Needs
Beyond the initial development and launch of an insurance agency’s new website, ITC also helps customers with ongoing maintenance. Laird told us frequent updates not only keep consumers informed about insurance products but also help maintain a site’s favorable search engine rankings.
“When someone gets a new site, they get a natural bump in traffic from Google and Bing,” he said. “If you don’t touch the site for the next three or four months, however, then Google goes, ‘Oh, this site is static and dead, and I don’t need to keep sending people there.’”
If ITC notices customers have not updated their websites in a while, a representative will contact the agencies by phone or email to remind them and provide helpful resources. The clients can choose to post new content themselves or allow ITC to shoulder the work.
“When they have those consistent gentle reminders to update their content and features, then we see they actually do more and more,” Laird said.
Localized Searches for Insurance Boost Customer Interactions
To make things even easier for insurance agents, ITC offers rating tools and holistic agency marketing plans. The Insurance Website Builder team contributes regular marketing advice to the Agent Resource Center and hosts a free monthly webinar.
Based on initial assessments of an agency’s performance, ITC consultants help devise and implement improvements to both online and offline marketing practices. As for comparative rating systems, agencies can automatically produce multiple quotes for consumers, saving time and increasing revenue.
To keep up with customers’ specific needs and help insurance companies make themselves more marketable, Laird said he’s personally excited about Insurance Website Builder’s local search functionality.
“With the advent of being able to buy shoes and shampoo at any hour of the day and instantly have it delivered via Amazon, people have grown accustomed to just ordering things on the internet,” he said. “Insurance is different. Most of the time, people like to have that local touch where agencies understand the neighborhood and natural disaster risks.”
Maximizing Results With Improved Integration and Lead Generation
For 2018, Laird told us that ITC is focused on improving lead generation for clients. A site may seem to perform well by accumulating high numbers of pageviews, but the true effectiveness should be measured by conversion rates.
“Sites that are just online business cards are not designed to funnel the consumer to some kind of call to action,” Laird said. “That’s where other platforms fall short. You need to look at a platform that is actually consultative.”
Among the primary sources of online lead generation for ITC customers, according to Laird, is the company’s TurboRater solution — which is built into each site.
“Now, consumers can come to an agency’s website, fill out a form, and actually receive live quotes from multiple carriers directly on the website,” Laird said. “That’s a value proposition that goes above and beyond a direct writer of insurance because now you can choose the carrier that best meets your needs and has the best coverage at the right price.”