In today’s increasingly digital world, consumers expect to be able to access online information on insurance products, compare prices and carrier options, and apply for coverage using a simple and efficient process.
But many agencies and brokerages are falling short of providing their consumers with such easy options – and those that fail to adapt to the new digital ecosystem will surely get left behind. However, there are some simple steps agents and brokers can take to re-engage with the modern online consumer.
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A 2017 PwC report found that 56 percent of insurance companies believed their revenues were at risk of disruption from insurtech. However, the report also found they were becoming more proactive in looking for insurtech opportunities, with 52 percent exploring the insurtech landscape. As consumers start to demand change from their financial institutions, insurers and brokers need to invest in tech to stay top of clients’ minds and remain competitive.
It will be the companies that invest early and dive the deepest into the digital realm that will be best prepared to stand the test of time, and will benefit the most financially.
Here are three things insurance agencies and brokerages can invest in to provide their customers with a better experience:
Very few agency websites are informative or, in too many cases, even helpful for today’s consumers. Your website needs to be more than merely an electronic brochure or a landing page for potential customers to find your phone number.
Transforming your website is critical. Today’s insurance consumer wants instant satisfaction – that is the reality of the modern economy. Consumers now, whether they’re shopping for shoes, streaming movies, ordering a cab or comparing internet providers, want to be able to see exactly what they’re getting. And once they have decided on a product – they want it right now. Insurance agencies need to cater to this consumer.
Comparative raters can be a huge differentiator for your site – and your business. Websites that allow users to quickly compare insurance products, features, and rates side-by-side, as well as offer personalized recommendations, are invaluable to consumers at the beginning of their purchasing journey and doing their initial research.
Today’s consumers still want agents’ expert advice, but first of all they want to investigate carrier premium pricing. As a result, consumers may want to explore the options available from smaller agents and brokers, which also can use comparative raters. Such comparative raters can be hugely beneficial in giving consumers all the information they are seeking up front.
If you have all the information on your site, they won’t feel the need to continue shopping elsewhere. Comparative raters also allow customers to purchase directly from your website, while you still can generate your broking fees. It’s a win-win.
Some brokerages have also started using artificial intelligence and chatbots. Many offer real-time insurance rates from multiple carriers with in-built comparative raters.
Chatbots are computer programs that are able to communicate with your users and customers. They not only can answer questions, participate in conversations, and fulfill requests, but they also allow your agency to be accessible 24/7. Insurance-savvy chatbot developers can work with you to develop the exact language you want for your webpage. The bot will be able to answer questions and provide detailed information to prospective clients, and can also log call-backs for your staff to finalize those all-important sales.
And, while you’re at it, develop a website that is mobile friendly. According to data from Statista, mobile internet shopping in the United States will account for almost 50 percent of all internet commerce by 2020. Talk to your tech partners about going mobile to stay ahead of the digital curve.
Intelligent software platforms allow agents and brokers to understand and use data in ways that give them better insights on customer behavior. Carriers and agents alike generate and retain vast quantities of customer data; intelligent data analytics can package that data to make it work for you.
For example, intelligent management platforms allow you to view, in real-time, overviews of each of your clients’ portfolios. A good system will alert you to clients with gaps in coverage and will allow you to search for the coverage available in the market to fill those gaps. This means you can target your sales pitches while also contacting clients with suggestions that are relevant, which will highlight your value as a trusted adviser and show how you are thinking of them. A smart computer algorithm can actually narrow down the clients who are statistically most likely to buy additional policies.
Data analytics can also monitor and interpret the best ways to reach your customers by logging phone, email and social media interactions as well as website usage. Combined with policy and profile information, knowing who your customer is, and how and when they interact with your company, helps you service them in the most targeted way.
By their very nature, insurtech companies will be digital-first. But that in itself is not enough. When you’re looking to futureproof your agency, you need to ensure your chosen tech partners are obsessed with improving your understanding of how customers find and acquire insurance products, as well as how to raise retention levels and bring value and trust to the insurance transaction.
According to the PwC report mentioned earlier, the most significant gain from insurtech for insurers is cost reduction. The same applies for agencies and brokerages. Outside the initial up-front costs, ongoing infrastructure costs will be lower, and you will free up staff to sell more policies and make more money.
Smart tech partnerships – including building better online experiences, intuitive systems, automation and analytics – will lead to further savings, more efficient operations and will help you lead the field.
Canada Fintech Firm Ratehub Raises $12M to Grow Insurance & Mortgage Offerings
About Alyssa Furtado
Based in Toronto, Canada, Alyssa Furtado is the CEO of Ratehub.ca, a leading Canadian financial comparison site for insurance rates, mortgage rates, credit card deals and deposit rates.
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