We are seeing today that Insurance industry has taken up the digital drive with a zeal. A number of consumer apps are being developed by insurers as well as the brokers. The main purpose of these apps is to allow greater digital connect with the consumers. It comes at a time when the consumers have started expecting more tech-savy platforms from all their service providers. However as the insurance industry becomes more digital, we must not forget our friendly neighbourhood insurance agent. By any comparison, agents are the most important constituency in the insurance ecosystem as they are the first point of contact for every consumer.
78% Customers rely mostly on their Insurance Agents, friends and family for advice on insurance and filling application forms
– Insurance Awareness Survey, NCAER 2017
While some insurers are developing critical technology tools to automate processes such as registering new customers and issuing new policies, the pace of change is very slow. Moreover, very few insurers are aiming to empower their agents with new age technology tools which can make lifecycle interactions with consumers more convenient for the agent themselves.
Insurance primarily is a solicited product. It is because of the inherent complexities and myriads of options, customers continue to prefer insurance agent and advisors for buying as well as managing their insurance policies.
“Technology comes in as a valuable tool to empower agents with information that would otherwise be inaccessible,”
– Sharone Volk, Novidea
Giving digital power to our already trained insurance agent and advisors will make insurance ecosystem smart and responsive to customer requirements. Informed agents will be able to utilise technology tools and provide the required human touch.
For example, data sharing tools and automated voucher generation can help reduce the amount of manual labour agents do. At the same time electronic message board, chat messenger, location sharing and other mobile tools will allow agents to connect with their customers anytime anywhere.
As rightly pointed out, the role of social media is to enable more conversations while preserving this real-life social aspect of existing business engagements. While many industries have benefited from multitude of social media platforms, insurance industry has not yet taken the step forward to make insurance buying a social experience. This role, even today, is served by the friendly neighbourhood insurance agent who relies on his trust network to acquire new customers and service old ones. Agents frequently interact with their customers, building relationships at a personal level.
It is perhaps time for the insurance industry to expand and leverage its inherent social network. It is time to build a social insurance network where information flows freely and consumers thrive on transparency!
Watch out for further updates from TrueCover on how we aim to empower insurance agents.