Higginbotham Insurance has become one of the largest insurance brokers in the US by following a two-part strategy. First, the company offers something most agencies can’t: a single source for personal insurance, business insurance, a wide range of financial services, and even HR consulting. Second, Higginbotham offers unparalleled service—taking as much time with each client as needed to find just the right coverage and other services to suit their needs.
But in the insurance industry, a key component of outstanding service is always being accessible to clients by phone. As Higginbotham acquired smaller agencies across the country—along with those agencies’ disparate phone systems and carrier relationships—the company found it increasingly difficult to maintain a cohesive, efficient telephony infrastructure.
Dozens of locations, and almost as many phone systems
When Higginbotham first began acquiring businesses, IT Director Arthur Eastes explains, the company relied on each new location to continue managing its own telephony system. Higginbotham’s IT team offered support, but they did not have expertise with many of these outdated systems. Over time, this led to internal communication challenges and lack of a consistent telecom experience for employees across the company.
Also, because most of the businesses Higginbotham acquired were smaller agencies without much in-house IT expertise, Arthur’s team would often find that their existing telephony setup was inefficient, and they were needlessly overpaying for it.
“One common scenario we’d encounter was that the business had gotten itself into a bad arrangement with a local carrier,” says Arthur. “In some cases, they were paying for services they didn’t use; other times they were getting double-billed for the same service.”
Unifying the company around one platform, one vendor, one bill
After thoroughly researching cloud communications solutions, Arthur’s team selected RingCentral’s unified platform for phone, SMS text, chat, digital fax, and video. “The RingCentral solution was so user-friendly that even our non-technical employees could go to the web portal and do things like update their personal greeting or routing instructions—without IT’s help.”
Migrating onto the unified RingCentral platform, and giving every employee access to RingCentral’s desktop and mobile apps, allowed Higginbotham to offer its staff more mobility and telecom functionality than ever.
“Before RingCentral, an employee who was away from the office and needed calls forwarded would have to call a coworker and ask them to set the routing on their desk phone. Now they can go into the RingCentral portal from anywhere and easily set their own forwarding rules.”
Having a single cloud-based platform—which didn’t require any on-prem hardware, wiring, IT management—also made it easy for Higginbotham to integrate a new company into its corporate communications environment. “We’d bring their phone numbers into our RingCentral account, set their employees up with the desktop and mobile apps, and that was it—that new team would immediately have all the communication tools they’d need to be productive.”
And as Arthur’s team sets up these newly acquired companies on Higginbotham’s RingCentral platform, he is also able to terminate their existing, costly carrier relationships—which, he points out, saves many of these locations a significant sum.
“Now that I can end our acquired businesses’ telecom bills and place them on our RingCentral account, in many cases I’m essentially cutting those locations’ phone bills by 50%—which also makes it easier for them to show a profit.”
Originally published Jun 15, 2021, updated Jul 11, 2021