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Webinar Highlights: Insurance Intermediaries in the Digital World

By June 6, 2023No Comments

Thank you to everyone who attended this webinar that happened on 30 May ‘23! As always, fret not if you missed out on this webinar. This article will bring you highlights of what was shared at the webinar!

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As shared at the webinar, we are excited to announce that our biggest feature release yet – Personal Website Builder – is now available to ALL Surer users for FREE!
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Key highlights

With the theme of the webinar being ’Insurance Intermediaries in the Digital World’, we broke the webinar down into four key segments:

  • Transforming in the digital world
  • Outlook of the insurance industry vis-a-vis the digital world
  • Customer engagement in the digital world
  • Leveraging what the digital world provides to drive business efficiency 

Transforming in the digital world

The seminar started with a sharing of the importance of digital transformation.

Importance of digital transformation

Four key reasons were shared to drive home the point of the importance of digital transformation for insurance intermediaries.

1) TQ is as important as IQ and EQ

  • TQ = Technology Quotient
    • The ability to adapt to technological changes 
    • The ability to develop and employ strategies to take advantage of technology in work and life
  • An intermediary with high TQ:
    • organises work to take full advantage of available technology  
    • reaps a payback from taking technology risks  
    • takes advantage of the opportunities technology presents
  • This is not a matter of genes but that of attitude!
  • It is training yourself to be receptive to adapt and flourish to advancement 
  • We were not forced to learn how to use smartphones, the computer or the internet; so we should not be worried at the prospect of learning to leverage tech!
  • Tech helps you do more by working less, drives your business faster and ultimately, empowers you to spend more time on more important matters.

2) Allows intermediaries to be an advisor not an order taker

  • Clients lean on you for expert advice; someone who has our best interest at heart. Intermediaries should not be bogged down by repetitive administrative matters.
  • 4 types or stages of relationship a client
    • Stage 1: the order taker
    • Stage 2: the vendor
    • Stage 3: the value-add salesperson
    • Stage 4: the trusted advisor
  • At stage 4:
    • The client views the you as an extension to his or her business
    • The client trusts your advice is all they need
    • They will have so much confidence in your advice that they are likely to go with your recommendations without further consulting anyone else.
  • You are all experts in your field! Do not let a tedious process hinder you – this is why digitisation is important.

3) Bespoke products vs packaged products

  • Benefits of packaged products
    • ‘One size fit all, one system solves all’
    • Helps with scaling and ease of sales
  • Downside of packaged products:
    • Not everything within this package is required by the client
    • Some are forced to take up coverage that they obviously do not need, for the purpose of obtaining one that they do.
  • Packaged products are essentially, by design, policies built to cover a generalised representation of the risk rather than the specifics of the policyholder’s business.
  • Imagine a world where the effort to get your clients exactly what they need vs pushing them packages is the same.
  • Customisation can be mentioned in the same breath as scalability and ease of distribution. Technology is here to help unlock this shift; to enable disbursement of bespoke policies.

4) Client-first mindset

  • What does this mean?
    • Start with having the client’s problem in mind first
    • Not ‘how can I close him/her’
  • When done right:
    • the client will appreciate the extra effort placed in assisting them 
    • and that is really the stage you want to be on with your clients; being an advisor!
  • A successful intermediary should strive to help their clients find the best solution to their problem
  • Tech helps you do this more simply – for e.g. sourcing for multiple quotes / working with multiple parties to find the best cover

Why the new age intermediary cannot be replaced

In establishing the reasons for an intermediary to digitally transform, the speaker then shared how such a new age intermediary will not be easily replaced for the following reasons.

Supercharging the efficiency of the sales force

  • Insurers will deploy technology to empower intermediaries much more, leading to an even better experience and performance. 
  • Much like how Insurers are looking to automate processes in their back office, a world where the intermediaries can automate processes that take up so much of their time they are unable to prospect or service their clients (the purchasers of insurer’s products) is not that far away.
  • By combining technology with human intermediaries, insurers can deliver better conversations and higher customer satisfaction

Not disrupting for the sake of it

  • Insurtech should focus on creating solutions to problems the aim should not be to disrupt for the sake of it… 
  • ‘Delivering the proposition better’ or success, for this matter, is ultimately brewed with the same basic ingredients – there’s a risk to be underwritten, someone needs to underwrite this risk, a fee is paid for this underwriting – and the end product is similar; a coverage plan or policy!
  • HOWEVER, what can differ is the efficiency with which this success is ‘brewed’ and how the end product is distributed.

Enhancing your value with technology

  • Your business model is not built purely on a transactional level with their clients. And this is something that cannot be replaced.
  • However, the opportunity for the intermediary is to enhance their business by leveraging technology; not fearing it.

The speaker shared that in summary, digital transformation is important because it allows intermediaries to serve the client with more care AND digitalisation is here, not to replace this relationship, but to supercharge it!

Outlook of the insurance industry vis-a-vis the digital world

The topic then shifted on to have a view of what the industry is thinking when it comes to an intermediaries’ place in the digital world.

Reading into what is being written

The speaker then ran through a number of articles and picked out key points to be digested.

Article referenced: 2022 insurance industry outlook

  • Key insights: Insurers are increasingly dependent on emerging technologies and data sources to drive efficiency, enhance cybersecurity, and expand capabilities across the organisation. However, most should also focus on improving the customer experience by both streamlining processes with automation as well as providing customized service where needed and preferred.
  • Takeaway: Insurers will support your digital transformation because you are the key to customer satisfaction…

Article referenced: How Agents and Insurtechs Can Work Together

  • Key insights: This is where agents’ insights can steer the insurtech in the right direction. Agents are on the frontlines using the products. They know how a new solution fits into their workflows. Does it save them time? Do they need to develop workarounds because it doesn’t meet their needs? Is the tool adding any real value? If it doesn’t, are there changes that would make it more useful?
  • Takeaway: Insurtechs will work to build to intermediaries’ needs

Article referenced: 5 reflections on the insurance industry in 2021

  • Key insights: Human connection matters more than ever as customer trust falls. We saw in our Insurance Consumer Study 2021 that the right Human + Machine mix restores consumer trust and better engages them. Though approaches will vary, the Human + Machine combinations will continue to be essential for incumbents and insurtechs alike.
  • Takeaway: There needs to be a right mix of human + machine combination

What intermediaries bring to the table

Establishing that the trend of tech is to build towards supercharging intermediaries, the speaker than shared a number of reasons on why this is the case.

As advisors to the policyholder 

  • Intermediaries provide customers with the necessary information required to make educated purchases/ informed decisions. 
  • Intermediaries are there to explain what their clients need, and the options available to them.

Saving time spent on searching and researching

  • Intermediaries act as the person with the knowledge to get the client started.
  • Without a wholesome knowledge of the insurance industry, it is hard to even get going to do research OR trust the research you have done; essentially, clients don’t know what they don’t know.
  • Intermediaries 
    • know their clients’ risks
    • know the insurers willing to cover those risks
    • know the best way to secure that coverage

Bringing certainty to uncertainty

  • Clients: may know what risks they want to cover but do not have a wide overview of the right insurer
  • Insurer: may have all the information in the market but are ultimately in a tough position to fully understand the prospective client
  • Enter the intermediary. You know the marketplace, you know where to get answers to questions, and you know what information is required on both sides.

Decoding intermediaries’ pain points

Having shared about the tech trend that is moving in the direction of supporting not replacing the intermediary and the reasons for such, the speaker then moved on to share some internal research done by Surer.

This was to share the pain points Surer believes are hindering intermediaries; only when one understands the pain points, can you build tech solutions to solve them.

Top pain point faced…

  • 61.8%: Difficulty in getting multiple quotes for clients due to multiple systems by insurers
  • 50%: Too much administrative work
  • 47%: Difficulty obtaining quotes due to slow or non-replies

Tedious quote sourcing practices

  • Every potential new deal also means a lot of time having to be spent on tedious, repetitive administrative tasks.
  • From the get go, we saw that sourcing for a quote can be quite daunting, especially if multiple of such is required.

Manual, labour intensive tracking of deals

  • The days of having to look through email threads and whatsapp messages to track a particular deal NEEDS TO BE SOLVED.
  • The tediousness of having to repeat actions like informing multiple parties of the same thing NEEDS TO BE SOLVED.
  • The lack of automated communication on key actions to be undertaken, during and after a deal is concluded NEEDS TO BE SOLVED.

Slow network growth

  • Especially so for new intermediaries
  • We believe that by facilitating intermediaries to work as a collective, they can be empowered to grow the overall business pie to the benefit of everyone!

Customer engagement in the digital world

The webinar then jumped to the next segment in which the speaker shared how intermediaries could better understand the mindset of a client and how that would be relevant in terms of engagement via digital means.

Understand the client’s decision making process

Before considering how best to engage a client, it is important to know how they typically make a decision.

The 7 stages of a decision making process

  • Stage 1: Identify the decision to be made
  • Stage 2: Gather relevant information
  • Stage 3: Identify the alternatives
  • Stage 4: Weigh the facts
  • Stage 5: Choose among alternatives
  • Stage 6: Take action
  • Stage 7: Review your decision & its consequences 

The speaker deep-dived into stages 1, 2 and 5…

Stage 1: Identify the decision to be made

  • This is the stage where the client is prompted to think about insurance needs.
  • At this stage, the client has consciously or subconsciously come up with a problem statement of which he needs to make a decision to solve.
  • This is where you help the client uncover the needs in relation to the problem statement.

Stage 2: Gather relevant information

  • This stage is where the client does a little bit of self assessment and education.
  • The client will likely look to do so on two levels.
    • One is on the internal level where they ask themselves a series of questions – things like ‘what would give me a peace of mind?’, ‘what are bare essentials and what are good-to-haves?’
    • The other is external. This is where they find external sources to educate themselves. 
  • In asking the right questions, you are effectively influencing the internal thought process 

Stage 5: Choose among alternatives

  • You should not take this stage as a done deal
  • This is the stage where you present the power of your knowledge from the questions you have asked…
  • Tangibly, this would be the kinds of quotes that you are able to get and how closely they fulfil the needs and why.

Content for engagement

The speaker then shared some tips around content creation in the digital world that could help with engagement.

In terms of content creation, we shared that it should not be something that intermediaries should fear or think of as ‘I am not an expert in content creation – how?’ Rather, intermediaries already have very key knowledge and experience in the space and sharing any of these WOULD BE good content.

The key points shared on this front:

  • Channels to consider
    As long as this channel allows you to write/create video, a url is generated when posted and can easily be shared… you are good to go! FB, Linkedin posts (like literally the post itself), tiktok or even a google drive collection of doc or pdf!
  • Picking the right ‘style’
    There are various styles of content like The “How-To” Post, The listicle type post, Thought-leadership post and Newsjacking
  • Continuous engagement
    Value of content creation is a long-tail one. It might not be immediately relevant to the recipient today but actively and continuously engaging them with different topics gives you that chance to one day hit them when they need it the most. When the time comes when they need your service or have a friend who is asking them for recommendations, that you will come top-of-mind.

What is a CRM system and what it should do?

It was further shared that engagement is one thing, managing clients that have been brought into the funnel is another.

In the digital world, there are CRM tools aplenty to help intermediaries to do this. However, the speaker was keen to share what intermediaries need to discern to decide what is the best CRM tool for their purpose.

In theory, CRM = Customer Relationship Management. A tool to:

  • Improve business relationships
  • System that helps you stay connected 
  • Streamline processes, and improve profitability.

For the intermediaries, they should consider that this CRM helps on the following front:

  • Proposal tracking should be automated
    A CRM for your business should help you be well aware of the status of a deal at any point. This does not mean furiously updating SPREADSHEETS. It should be a system that allows for automation in generating a ‘case file’.
  • Keeping track of a deal at point of closing
    “I need to go back to their excel spreadsheet to update it”, “I need to let all parties involved (like the underwriter) know about it”, “I need to get policy and share with client” etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. – these were some examples the speaker had shared of what you SHOULD NOT be doing when you have a proper CRM tool. A proper CRM would have all of those tasks fully automated.
  • Storage, performance, renewal
    A proper CRM tool would help intermediaries digitalise policy file storage, track your business and sales performance, track premium collection status, track and record anything peculiar about the deal and of course easy renewals in future.

The speaker then summarised this segment by sharing that intermediaries need to first understand the mindset of the customer, then decide on how to engage them and what tech tools should be leveraged for such engagement.

Leveraging what the digital world provides to drive business efficiency

The final segment of the webinar was focused on the practical digital tools that intermediaries could leverage.

Before sharing such, the speaker shared a section of ‘Myth vs Facts’ when it comes to digital tools. To help intermediaries to discern what they should look out for.

Myths about business productivity solutions

MYTH 1: Productivity solutions add more layers to and complicates tasks

  • FACT: Productivity solutions should be removing silos and encouraging productivity by streamlining complicated or mundane processes such that more business can be done FASTER and at SCALE

MYTH 2: These productivity solutions help you multitask

  • FACT: The act of multitasking has been proven to make someone less productive – a good multitasker might not be a productive person! We actually lose about 40% of our productivity when we multitask. Productivity solutions or tools are here to help you take care of repetitive tasks or automate processes to ensure you can… TAKE YOUR MIND OFF IT

MYTH 3: These productivity solutions overly up-play the value of task tracking

  • FACT: Task tracking is tedious UNLESS IT IS AUTOMATED. Task tracking is highly valuable in both the short and long term. In the short-term, automated task tracking helps you relax in the knowledge that your attention is not needed unless prompted. In the long-term, task tracking allows you to look back at past deals and give you a full picture of what transpired for a particular deal

MYTH 4: Productivity solutions overload us with information and forces us to be ‘always-on’

  • FACT: Productivity solutions do not want you to be connected all the time – they want to help you shut down, with a peace of mind.

Leveraging Insurtech: Surer case studies

A feedback that the team had gotten was that we should include the showcase of tangible features / functions that intermediaries can leverage; to be able to draw parallels between what has been shared and what can be used.

The speaker did exactly that by sharing some of Surer’s features that helps an intermediary digitally transform.

Personal Website Builder

  • The speaker shared about this Surer feature and mentioned this to be something that will be released in early March ‘23
  • Essentially, this feature allows any intermediary, regardless of tech savviness to be able to build and launch their personal website in minutes via Sure
  • The website will allow intermediaries to showcase the products they sell (and clients to submit their own information for such products), their specialisation, their achievements and various ways to collect leads

Product Customisation and creating your own ‘package’ template

  • The speaker shared how several products on Surer are fully customisable
  • Using the FWD Surer Maid Insurance product as an example, the speaker shared how this product was co-created between Surer and FWD where intermediaries can fully customise the different lines of cover that goes into this Maid policy
  • On top of that, the speaker shared how intermediaries can create their own ‘packages’ and save them as templates once customisation of the product is done

Instant Quote

  • It was shared that Surer has an ‘Instant Quote Marketplace’ built specifically for intermediaries
  • As the name suggests, this is where all products with instant quote functionalities are listed
  • Using Zurich’s Marine Cargo product as an example, Intermediaries can get quotes in seconds and share these quotes digitally via Surer with their clients

Binding and issuing policies

  • For selected lines of products, intermediaries are empowered to manage the full cycle of a deal including binding and issuing policies
  • Once again using Zurich’s Marine Cargo product as an example, the speaker showcased how a recent integration between Surer and Zurich allowed for issuing of policies to happen

CRM features

  • The speaker then went on to share a couple of CRM related features including 
    • Digital Personal Assistant: Never miss a beat when it comes to outstanding tasks, recent activities and sales tracking
    • Deal Tracker: Digitise your entire workflow, from proposal creation to client accepting a quote
    • Policies Watch: Track premium collection status, policy renewal reminder and “one-click” policy renewal process.

The parallels of tech helping to drive leads, qualification and speed in deal closing were drawn in relation to the above features was shared to be as follow:

  • Personal Website Builder <> Leads
  • Instant Quote <> Qualification
  • Product Customisation and creating your own ‘package’ template <> Closing
  • Binding and issuing policies <> Closing
  • CRM features <> efficiency in managing business

Once again, here’s taking the opportunity to thank all our users who made time for this and we hope to see you again in our next Webinar!

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