Five Technologies That Are Transforming Insurance Brokerages
Technological innovations are making breakthroughs in a number of industries, and it’s no different for the insurance space. From evolving the ways brokers and brokerages serve customers to reducing the costs of operations and sales, such as through automation, or reinventing business models (i.e. direct online insurance), few other factors affect the insurance industry to the same extent as technology. In fact, insurance companies and brokers are constantly trying to evolve to meet the changing demands of customers and the increasing pressures of both existing insurance companies and online aggregators. Those who are able to adapt and leverage the changing technological environment to their advantage are able to benefit; others face serious challenges.
Let’s take a closer look at the top five technologies we believe are impacting insurance companies, brokers and brokerages.
Technology #1: Online and Mobile
Okay, this one isn’t exactly new, but it is always evolving and changing, which means so are the requirements for keeping on top. It’s all part of the multi-channel game. You can’t just have a website with information about your services anymore; now you also need to have a variety of interactive and educational online services (i.e. quote finding services and finance tools) to keep your visitors engaged—and those online tools had better be mobile friendly too. If they can’t be accessed as easily from a smartphone or tablet as they can from a desktop computer, then you are going to get overlooked. You need an optimized online design for a variety of screen sizes, quick loading times, and smooth navigation among channels to move clients from your website to an email page where they can get in touch with you.
That’s how you differentiate yourself and attract new prospects in this day and age—but that isn’t the only advantage it provides. Your online channel also equips you with additional tools and services. For instance, LSM Insurance provides its members with access to a separate informative platform, where they can get information about mandatory regulation and compliance for each province along with other tips, insights, and coaching hints.
Technology #2: Chatbots
Have you ever opened a webpage and been prompted to ask for extra information via a chat screen? The chances are that it is not a live agent but a chatbot who is welcoming you. Chatbots offer a new to provide your clients with immediate and easy-to-access assistance for their online inquiries 24/7. Chatbots use artificial intelligence to respond to customer inquiries, either by providing FAQ answers for the more simple or common questions or by creating a connection between the client and a live agent for more complex problems and inquiries. Chatbots are a positive solution for the clients who feel a bit alienated by the mechanization of many phone systems. When they log onto the page, someone says hello and responds to their questions right away. It’s a personal touch—even if it’s a bot—and it also frees up more time for your brokers to spend focusing on more value-added tasks (like financial planning and advice, development of tailored insurance plans, etc.).
Technology #3: Robotic Process Automation
Robotic process automation, or RPA, is a young but very mature and it has been proven effective. Essentially, RPA technology is special software (called a software robot) that can repeat any activity related to any software that is normally completed by a human. This includes logging into applications, copying and pasting data between applications, drafting a standard email, compiling a document as a PDF, attaching that document to an email and sending it to a customer, and more. RPA works with most systems, whether it’s web-based, main-frame-based, or installed on your computer, and it further frees up time for your brokers to focus on value-adding work because it eliminates their need to perform those simple, repetitive, tedious tasks.
Technology #4: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
From machine learning to natural language processing, artificial intelligence (AI) has a major technological impact on all industries right now, and insurance players are searching for ways to incorporate AI into their businesses. AI can also help in areas like actuarial space building (building better actuarial models), underwriting (helping to make better underwriting and pricing decisions) and claims management (helping to make better claim adjustment decisions based on past experiences). The possibilities are limitless and ever-changing. Brokers can benefit from AI is some areas, e.g. using AI-enabled chatbots that are able to understand the same question asked in 10 different way. AI can be also used for better customer segmentation and outreach.
Technology #5: SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important technologies for brokers because it improves customer acquisition. It essentially embodies the shift from outbound marketing (where brokers have to sell products to customers) to inbound marketing (where customers who are looking for the specific services the broker offers are connected right to their page). How does it work? When it’s applied properly, a customer will search for something like “whole life insurance“ or “disability life insurance quote” on a search engine, and your search engine optimization of those common keyword searches will put your page to the top of their Google or Bing search result list. However, it isn’t as easy as building links from other websites anymore; now you need to create compelling and engaging web content that you can distribute widely through hundreds of social platforms, syndicated content, press releases, infographics, etc. to reach a wide variety of the right visitors—the ones who will convert to customers.
We hope you will find these insights helpful. What technologies do you leverage as a broker to grow your business and serve insurance customers?