Jayson Cohen first came to us with a request to build a new website for his business, Thrive Insurance, an insurance company that operated as both an agency and brokerage. He was unable to find any out-of-the-box systems that would help him and his team effectively manage all admin aspects of the business. He wanted ATAK to help him build a business management system for their insurance brokerage, one that could better manage the backend of their business: handle leads, get more organized, manage accounts, pull reports, and more. In the end, he also wanted a finished product, not just for his team’s usage, but also one that was a complete backend management system he could sell to other insurance agencies and brokerages. This complete backend management tool became known as Back Office Advisory.
While there are a number of helpful back-end management tools for insurance companies, there isn’t one single solution that combines a robust number of features that help insurance professionals work more efficiently. Unable to find an out-of-the-box solution, Cohen originally tried to cobble together a number of products from different sites. The resulting site was clunky, impossible to customize, and, because he was having to pay for each of these various products a la carte, not at all cost effective. Also, his original solution did not have the power to be clonable, which meant that doing this for other like-minded businesses in the future would have been cost prohibitive.
Time Frame: 1 year
When we started tackling this project, we quickly realized that instead of creating a system that could be used just by Thrive Insurance, we could make the whole system clonable so that it can be sold to other agencies. This means Cohen can resell and reuse this same model for other agencies as needed. Now, Thrive Insurance is just one of the agencies using the Back Office Advisory backend management tool. Now, the Back Office system can be customized to suit the exact needs of various insurance agencies and brokerages. Read on to find out how we did it.
The biggest problem that needed to be solved was finding a way to integrate all of the platforms into one. The old sites framework was built using InfusionSoft, Cohen was trying to stack more software onto it, making the site complicated and expensive. After analyzing this, we realized he would reduce his ongoing recurring costs if we built a new site from scratch; it was much more sustainable and would set him up for growth. If we were going to work off the site’s old code, we couldn’t customize as much as we’d want to, so starting with a clean build meant we had access to all the code and could bake in the exact features Cohen wanted. Also, since he’d be licensing this to various companies in the future, we made sure the dashboard was fully customizable to include features future agency clients needed.
We decided to build the new site on CodeIgniter, choosing it for it’s lightweight PHP framework, making it easy to extend and customize. First, we built a clean and functional dashboard for brokerages to use on a daily basis. The new dashboard is able to handle a large amount of data, allowing brokers to see a wide range of user information with just a click of a button. It also allows teams to set goals and chart progress so managers can have an eye on how their team is performing, individually and as a whole. There’s also a helpful calendar tool, synced both ways with Google calendar, which sends notifications and reminders about team member and client birthdays and anniversaries, to help create positive customer touch points. With a sleek internal messaging system, team members no longer have to switch back and forth between email and the dashboard, they have all means of communication streamlined into one place.
Within the dashboard, we built a number of helpful tools made specifically for insurance agents. We added a “Quick Quote” tool so prospective clients could fill out a service form so agents have all the information they need to pull a quote, at their fingertips. We also made an easy workflow, so agents and brokers can move customers down the funnel–from lead to client to policy holder–and easily update their policies. For the newsletter tool, we connected it with an updated Mailchimp API and loaded it with templates, so agents can send newsletters right from the dashboard, without having to go back to Mailchimp. Finally, we outfitted the dashboard with robust reporting tools so agents could quickly pull policy numbers that were pertinent to their clients.
We helped design the public Back Office Advisory page, adding lead generation and showcasing a mini-agent sub site. To date, ATAK has helped build four different websites for Cohen using the Back Office Advisory management tool. For each of these sites, we’ve helped design basic marketing assets.
Our work includes:
- Redesigned and built new website
- Added Advanced Search for a faster user experience (UX)
- Developed a custom Business Management System (BMS) for managing “Prospects,” “Clients,” and “Policy” details
- Developed a custom Content Management System (CMS) for general site updates such as webpage content, staff updates, and contact information.
- Developed a custom Staff Management System to manage various agents and brokers.
- Created/Digitized a Custom Reports section (which used to be a manual effort) of the BMS to grab specific data site administrators need to be able to pull..
- Optimized site for search
- Integrated newsletter signup tools via Mailchimp
- Performed a complete data migration from old site to new site so as not to lose old records.
- Created system training documentation and performed live training sessions for staff as needed