Technology doesn't stand still, and business intelligence software is the most recent example of cutting edge, innovative improvements in data mining. Historically, business intelligence tools served up 5500 filing data from the Department of Labor that insurance brokers and agents spent hours gleaning through. This graveyard of information was arduously sifted and sorted to prospect for potential new clients. The reality, and rightly so, is much of the data found in 5500 business intelligence software was inaccurate, stale and wasted valuable time, and that's if you even knew what you were looking for.

Business intelligence tools have changed. What is the new reality? 5500 data is available with fresh information that is easy to access and save. Clients still need to complete their annual 5500 filing, so the real game changer happens when you can quickly view the 5500 filing data and know if a client is in danger of an overdue filing or is actually overdue.

Now, brokers and agents can easily identify current clients they need to contact and assist with filing, and also identify potential new clients that need education and additional resources to stay in compliance. If a client isn't working with their current agent on the 5500 filing process, then this is a tremendous opportunity to bring immediate and measurable value to them.



Endless information

Non-compliance and overdue filings are just a fraction of the information available. Search engine technology improvements provide rapid sorting and filtering of intelligent information. Being able to review a client or prospect's entire line of business and understand the current premiums and compensation levels is a powerful tool and ensures identification of opportunities that will produce the highest return on investment. Again, being able to educate a client on industry standards for premiums and compensation levels brings credibility and trust to the business relationship.

Interfacing with social media is getting a lot of hype, but may leave many agents scratching their heads on the best way to go about it. Business intelligence tools that can offer integration with social media venues shorten the learning curve and allow for greater adoption. Utilizing one-click integration with LinkedIn gives agents the opportunity to view both the company and primary contacts' LinkedIn profiles. They quickly identify any mutual connections to optimize, and since LinkedIn is a trusted professional platform, the agent can quickly initiate a credible introduction.

Expanding your center of influence is vitally important in today's competitive environment. Understanding the variety of methods to do this is a challenge. When you can identify a client's accounting firm and begin the necessary relationship building for introductions to companies you want to know, it becomes easier.

5500 Filing Data is public and accessible by anyone. Being able to manage the millions of data bytes within this public information is the real key. When this type of information is easily accessible and affordable, it begins to create a new information transparency paradigm for the health insurance industry.

Smith, ACII, CIC, is founder and CEO of New Boston, N.H.-based miEdge.

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