An Agency in Your Pocket: Insurance Agent App & Atkinson Insurance Agency podcast Recap

The Insurance Perspectives Podcast involves contributors outside of HawkSoft. The participants' views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of HawkSoft.


This recap of the Insurance Perspectives Podcast summarizes highlights of the two episodes about HawkSoft API Partner Insurance Agent App, where HawkSoft host Kenny Hendricks interviews Kiki Johnson of Insurance Agent App and Heather Killian of Atkinson Insurance Agency, which uses the Insurance Agent App solution.

Kiki and Heather discuss the importance of making policy information and resources accessible to clients in a mobile app format, and how this benefits both the client and the agency.



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In this article:



Part 1: Insurance Agent App (Kiki Johnson)


Watch the video podcast - Part 1


Question 1: Why does Insurance Agent App exist? What is your reason for participating in the independent agency channel?

  • Kenny Hendricks introduces Insurance Agent App as HawkSoft’s first API partner, and a key partner in developing the Partner API used by all HawkSoft’s API Partners today.

  • Kiki Johnson shares that Insurance Agent App’s purpose is to provide the insured with instant digital access to policy data from a single login, while offering a branded experience for the agency.

  • Insurance Agent App was founded by Kiki and business partner Matt Aaron back in 2008, in the early days of mobile technology. Matt had the idea for the product after witnessing a car accident and seeing how difficult it was for the insured to contact and access their insurance from the roadside in the moment it was needed most.

  • Kiki observes that most agencies want to have better customer service tools, but don’t have the time or resources to create them.

“We came in from the policyholder and the agency side. How do we manage the carrier side? How do we create more synergy? So from our technical background in software as a service, mobile technology was a solution to all the problems that we were seeing.”



Question 2: If you had to pick one aspect of Insurance Agent App that draws in and keeps agencies working with you, what would that be and why?

  • Kiki feels users appreciate having the app as a single container for their ID cards and policy and coverage information, across all the policies and carriers they have.

  • Heather Killian adds that if the client has the app, it’s like having the agency in their pocket. The client can find the information they need, or make requests to the agency through the app.

  • Kiki mentions that agencies also love that the app is branded to the agency, rather than a carrier or generic branding.

  • Kenny and Kiki discuss how at the time of an accident or claim, the insured is often rattled and may not even remember the name of the agency, but if they search “insurance” in their phone, the app will come up so they can still find what they need.

“It [the app] is an extension of their agency. Insurance is an intangible product, and yet your clients are in very tangible circumstances. They need to do things. The insurance agent app is that container, that insurance agency in their pocket with them all the time.”


Question 3: How does Insurance Agent App approach data ownership with regard to your customers?

  • Kiki observes that the company receives data from 2 different audiences: data that comes from the agency, and data that comes from the insured. They consider each audience the owner of their own data.

  • Insurance Agent App only claims the right to use the agency’s data to deliver the services being paid for. When an agency leaves Insurance Agent App, they can take that data with them and it’s removed from the app.

  • Kiki warns consumers to pay attention to the terms and conditions of the systems that use their data, and check whether you’re granting the vendor access to your data “in perpetuity,” meaning the vendor can keep it even once you’re no longer a client.

  • Insurance Agent App also allows the agency to retain total control of communication to their clients through email, phone, and text—they can choose whether to communicate with customers through Insurance Agent App, or outside it.

  • Kenny adds that HawkSoft also allows the agency to control which partners they allow to access their data, and whether the partner has access to read data or write data back into HawkSoft.

  • Heather appreciates how easy it is to manage her data settings with both HawkSoft and Insurance Agent App.

“We don't take it [agency data]. You state usage. We're only going to use the data when it pertains to the services of the app. And if there's no longer a relationship there, we don't claim any rights to continue access.”



Question 4: What is the hardest part of working with insurance agencies?

  • Kiki feels the most difficult thing is seeing agencies struggle to integrate all the pieces of their tech stack so they work together, and not against each other.

  • Insurance Agent App works with other services the agency might be using, such as chat bots, finance companies, quoting tools, or contact forms.

  • Heather adds that technology can feel overwhelming for agencies because there are so many options available. However, having more tools can also create more problems. As an operations manager she strives to consolidate the number of tools her agency uses as much as possible.  

“If they use a finance company, it's right there [in the app] for the client to use. If they use a chat bot, it's right there. If they have instant quotes, it's right there. If they want to get their clients to just contact one person, they can do that in the app. Streamlining that customer service platform is where we see them struggle and feel that we can help them.”



Question 5: What is the best part of working with insurance agencies?

  • Kiki enjoys experiencing the moment when agencies realize what a difference it makes to have one streamlined experience for both the client and the agency.

  • The purpose of the app is actually to generate as little notice as possible, because it’s so easy for the client to do what they need to do.

“They have that moment of realizing that a customer service platform is key to the ongoing success of their agency and can keep working in the background while they're doing everything else so they can reduce workflows and do multiple things in one action.”



Question 6: How does Insurance Agent App work with the HawkSoft management system? 

  • Aside from providing the app experience as mentioned earlier, Kiki shares that Insurance Agent App also provides marketing content the agency can use if they don’t already have their own standard communications set up.




Part 2: Atkinson Insurance Agency (Heather Killian)


Watch the video podcast - Part 2


In this episode:


Question 1: Tell us about your agency. How long have you been in the business, and how did you get into the business? Do you have any specializations? What gets you excited about insurance?

  • Heather Killian is Chief Operating Officer at Atkinson Insurance Agency, located in Mechanicsville, Virginia. The agency has used HawkSoft as their management system since 2015 and Insurance Agent App since at least 2019.

  • The agency has been in business for 13 years, and Heather joined five years ago, working her way up to her current position.

  • The agency is split 87% personal lines and 13% commercial, and has acquired five other agencies during Heather’s tenure, including bringing on some of their staff.

  • Heather is excited by the fact that there’s something new and different to learn every day in insurance. She also enjoys being a resource people can depend on to understand the intricacies of insurance.

“I didn't know anything about insurance when I got into it. So I really like being that resource for people around me to explain to them what insurance is and what it does, and how all of it is important.”



Question 2: What was your agency looking for when you first encountered Insurance Agent App?

  • Heather shares the agency was looking for a tool to give their clients access to their policy information so they could find what they need even outside of business hours for the agency.

  • She also loves having the ability for clients to send in a claim report with photos from their phone at the time of the incident.

  • Ultimately, the app is a convenient location for all the resources a client might need, including links to the carrier.

  • Kiki adds that providing resources for a client’s policies across different carriers, all in one place, is part of the value proposition an independent agency can offer. The client can enjoy the best policies and coverages without the hassle of keeping track of multiple carrier apps.

“The claims reporting is huge—people being in that accident and being able to take the photos and submit the claim information to us, even if it is outside of office hours. It's all just in one place for them, and that's really important to us, our clients having that ease of accessibility.”



Question 3: What is your agency able to do now with Insurance Agent App that you couldn't do before?

  • Heather feels like her clients now have access to the agency in their pocket at any time.

  • She appreciates how well the app is integrated with HawkSoft, so that when a client sends information through the app, it’s automatically documented into HawkSoft and a suspense is assigned for someone to process it, all without any action on the agency’s part.

“The information that we get is not being passed from one person to another to another. It's being passed directly from the client to our management system. It's making it a lot easier for us to process things, and it has streamlined all of our servicing to be so much better. It’s made everything very quick.”



Question 4: What is one thing that you would change about Insurance Agent App if you could?

  • Heather has no criticism about Insurance Agent App. She feels that any time she’s had feedback on the product, the team has either been able to implement it or has shared a valid reason why it wasn’t feasible.

  • Heather values the relationship she has with Insurance Agent App and mentions they have been very communicative and quick to respond, often reaching out proactively to show her new features.

  • Kiki adds that they appreciate receiving feedback because they know if one agency is experiencing an obstacle, there will be many other customers with the same issue as well, and it helps them improve the product for everyone.

“Everything that I have ever suggested to any person on their team, they've either already implemented it in the system, or they've given me a very valid reason as to why it could not or should not be implemented in the system. I have not found any room for improvement. You get a solid gold star from me!”



Question 5: How would you describe the value that Insurance Agent App brings to your agency?

  • Heather loves the ease of use for the app, both for the client and the agency. She also appreciates that the app is still branded to the agency, rather than being generic.

  • She feels the app has helped the agency to standardize their processes, which has allowed them to grow and scale as they acquire agencies. It has been easy for her to train new staff members, and leaves more time for them to write business rather than deal with administrative work.

  • Kiki adds that the app provides a standard experience for the insured as well, and helps them know exactly where to go when they have questions.

“It is just always chaos, so anything to make that easier from any of our partners is huge. Just streamlining processes, making sure that everybody's doing things the same way, everybody's working across the same platforms and using them in the same manner. It's huge for us to be able to streamline things.”





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HawkSoft Marketing Editorial Team

Author: HawkSoft Marketing Editorial Team

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Customer Retention, Automation, customer experience, mobile app, insured app, consumer app, marketing automation, API integrations, insurance perspectives podcast