Data, It Is Your Business!
Let’s say you’re competing against another agency to retain a client.
What if your competitor had an edge when they acquired your client’s data in a legal, albeit highly questionable way because your agency unknowingly facilitated the “Sublicense” of that data? What if that other agency bought your client’s information from a lead gen and now knows everything about your client? That’s right, everything! What if this agency had this edge because your clients, on your suggestion, agreed to Terms of Service (ToS) that gave the vendor the right to use or sublicense any client data the client gave them access to? What if your agency had no control to draw back the data?
This isn’t a theoretical scenario. It is happening in our data-driven industry, and it’s precisely why agencies must proactively manage agency and client data. Your data has high value, and it’s your job to protect it.
Your agency’s client data, enriched by your agency’s unique insights, is a significant asset that can make a lot of money for organizations looking to sell information to anyone who would like to compete against you. When you don’t read ToC & ToS, you risk unwittingly paying someone for a product and unwittingly giving away your most valuable assets.
What To Do?
Start by properly vetting your vendor partners. Insurance agencies are veritable treasure troves of data and not all third-party vendors/integrators believe – as the Insurance Agent App does – that your agency and client data should ONLY be used to deliver the vendor’s services.
The questions to ask are “How will the data be used?”, “Who controls it, in which products; Agent, Vendor, or Customer?”, “What can be done with it?”, “For how long?”, and “Is data purged from dashboards and client-facing products when the client is no longer a client of yours, and when you’re no longer a client of the vendor?”
Conduct a thorough audit of HOW your data is used. As painful as it might be, the audit starts with understanding a vendor’s Terms of Service / Use (ToS / ToU), specifically the USE OF CONTENT / DATA for your agency and your clients. Look for data usage and service agreements that allow data use in ways you never thought it would, could, or should be.
Unfortunately, your agency’s data stewardship goes beyond merely understanding the ToS / ToU a vendor uses with your agency. If your agency deploys a client-facing tool, it is essential that you fully comprehend what you’re committing your clients to as well!
Surprised? Don’t be! Your clients place their trust in you, and they will blindly agree to a vendor’s ToS / ToU (specifically written for your clients) without fully understanding the implications BECAUSE YOUR AGENCY RECOMMENDED THE TOOL!
The above issues underscore the importance of your agency’s role as a data steward. Simply put, your clients trust and expect your agency to PROTECT their data. This starts with thoroughly reviewing and understanding the ToS / ToU for your agency and any ToS / ToU that apply to your clients.
Doing so will help steer your clients away from potential data misuse opportunities and reduce the odds of your agency competing against itself to retain your clients!