How digital tools are finally empowering the insurance broker
Despite many attempts from insurers to reach out directly to customers, the position of the insurance broker is as strong as ever in 2020.
Over the last years, upcoming technologies have raised at least three existential questions for insurance companies: should we bypass the intermediary channel? Will we lose our competitive advantage if we don’t? Is our business model here to stay?
Indeed, insurers have tried to establish a closer relationship with their prospects and customers on several occasions. However, they soon discovered it takes more than simply launching an app.
And so, thanks to their human touch, proximity and product knowledge, the broker remains essential in the insurance value chain. This is especially true for complex insurance products.
It’s 2020 though, so why not give the right digital tools to brokers and put them even more firmly in the driver seat?
Let’s see how to go about it and create a win-win situation for insurers and their distribution network.
The moment of truth
A claim remains the ultimate moment of truth. If handled poorly, it leads to customer churn, reputation and profit loss.
Customers appreciate to handle claims with a familiar face. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer to make sure the trusted advisor has the right tools at their disposal to guide the customer through the claims process. Also, the broker should be able to transparently communicate the current status of the claim in order to gain customer trust and satisfaction.
Once this is set up, you can consider full claim automation for quick claim payment and AI for advanced fraud checks.
While traditional insurance processes focused on a quick sale, it now makes sense to re-orient toward advice giving.
With the use of dynamic questionnaires for risk and needs analysis, interactive storylines, gap analysis simulators and portfolio analysis tools, the sales conversation with the customer is off to a smooth start. It’s about giving the broker the right insights to truly counsel the customer based on their personal needs.
Customer analysis processes can be simplified and automated by integrating with the right data sources and leveraging business rules engines. Still, a truly personalised approach benefits from a human touch. Indeed, handing the broker the tools to create tailored insurance products is essential in today’s insurance business.
No more back-and-forth
Shifting typical back-office processes, such as underwriting acceptance, to the front-office plays an important role in empowering brokers. By introducing a strong engine in the front-office, a large share of medical and financial acceptance tasks can be processed automatically. In essence, this reduces the typical game of ping-pong between broker and back-office employee – asking back and forth about status, validations, exceptions and so on – to a very limited number of non-standard cases. In general, the broker will be able to independently finalize the sales process.
Legal obligations regarding MiFID, AML, KYC and others can be a time consuming and a frustrating process for both customer and broker. By leveraging Robotic Process Automation (RPA), we can reduce the number of manual tasks.
The biggest benefit for brokers is the reduction of manual and repetitive tasks that are prone to human error, by enhancing data collection from different sources and removing the need for double data entry where possible. In so doing, the broker can focus on doing what they do best – advising customers.
The best of both worlds
A customer does not feel like arriving to the broker’s office and having to fill out a pile of paperwork. A needs analysis or underwriting questionnaire can be dealt with from the comfort of the customer’s own home and when the time is right, they will sit together with a trusted advisor to learn more about the ins and outs of the insurance policy.
With a truly omnichannel platform, a broker can give seamless advice to the customer – even if meeting face-to-face is difficult. Ideally, the customer is connected via a dedicated portal and always has real-time information at hand.
On the one hand, enabling brokers to handle after-sales requests completely independently truly gives the broker credibility as the go-to person for all insurance matters and allows the broker to become a trusted advisor.
On the other hand, in shifting part of the processes to the intermediary channel, the workload for back office employees can be significantly reduced, allowing them to focus on high priority and complicated cases. Yet, real time assistance is always at hand by connecting back-office employees to the platform.
This creates a win-win situation where the insurer can focus on its core activities, while brokers reinforce their go-to position as trusted advisors for many years to come.