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Webinar Highlights: Tech and the efficiency boost it gives to insurance intermediaries

By September 13, 2022No Comments

Thank you to everyone who attended this webinar! As always, fret not if you missed out on this webinar. This article will highlight some of the key insights shared at the webinar. 

Key highlights

With the theme of the webinar being ’Tech and the efficiency boost it gives to insurance intermediaries’, we broke the webinar down into five key segments:

  • Sharing by Delta Underwriting
  • Business efficiency and what it really means
  • In a highly efficient world, what are the tangible benefits for your business
  • Case studies: how the industry is viewing ‘human enablers’ (intermediaries) vis-a-vis tech
  • Digital transformation to drive greater efficiency amongst intermediaries

We were honoured to have the good folks from Delta Underwriting join us as a co-host for this webinar. 

As part of Surer’s partnership with Delta Underwriting to help intermediaries gain simpler access to Tech and Cyber related products for SMEs, the team shared key insights into how SMEs who are leveraging tech for their own business efficiency, can better protect themselves against Cyber threats!

Sharing by Delta Underwriting

The webinar was kickstarted by Delta Underwriting as they shared about how Cyber Liability and the context surrounding SMEs with digital platforms.

Why does a business need this cover? 

  • Cyber – No. 1 risk for organizations 
  • PDPA exposure for breach of data
  • Regulatory action for breach of personal data 
  • Cyber threats such as hacking, malware, virus intrusion 
  • Rapid rise of ransomware attacks and extortions 
  • No other GI policies able to address this exposure

With this in mind, the team went on to share about misconceptions some SMEs may have about Cyber protection.

Misconceptions among SMEs

  • Too small to be targeted 
  • Fail to recognize that they are entry point to access large corporations
  • Do not see the need to invest on network security
  • They do not have online website and presume themselves to be safe
  • By outsourcing their IT functions are outsourced, they thought the responsibility is outsourced too
  • Do not see the risks or consequences of privacy breach, confidentiality breach or network security breach

One of the key issues when it comes to cyber attacks would be a breach in PDPC and what could result from such.

Main issues from PDPC enforcements:

  • Failure to put in place reasonable security management
  • Phishing emails; employees lacked awareness & training
  • Ransomware attacks
  • IT vendor negligence
  • Human error

The topic then shifted to what Cyber Liability Insurance is about.

Cyber Liability Insurance

  • Covers for cyber threats, including data breaches
  • Business operational risk (rather than an IT risk)

What does it cover?

  • Crisis Management (1st Party) – 24/7 crisis response team to manage an incident
  • 1st Party Cover – Business interruption loss; Ransom Cover
  • 3rd Party Cover – 3rd party liabilities including regulator

The three core pillars of coverage is further emphasised as per the illustration below:

The team went on to share common or key policy triggers as can be seen in the illustration below:

To further educate attendees, the team share about the break down of percentage of expenses incurred for Cyber claims:

With this, the segment was wrapped up with the team sharing about how the partnership between Delta Underwriting and Surer will be able to give insurance intermediaries a greater, fuss-free way to access products including their SME Data & Cyber Security Protection product which is pre-underwritten where instant quotes can be generated!

Learn more about Delta Underwriting’s suite of product offerings on Surer here >>>

Business efficiency and what it really means

Following Delta Underwriting’s sharing, the webinar continued with this segment to give attendees the full context of what we mean by business efficiency.

This was done by taking the approach of looking back in time and then comparing it to the times we are in right now.

The following chart form a report byOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was shown:

It was shared that technology drives efficiency and eases workload. But it also potentially replaces the jobs of many. Almost half of all jobs could be wiped out or radically altered in the next two decades due to automation.

However, the speaker also shared that specifically for intermediaries in the insurance industry, that if intermediaries constantly search for ways to be on the right side of technology – harness the power rather than be overpowered, this trend will not be something that will impact them. 

It was also shared that here in Singapore, we see the government already trying to act ahead of the curve to encourage digital transformation; for example, the Digital Acceleration Grant for insurance intermediaries announced by MAS at the middle of this year.

To further prove this point, the following quote by John Maynard Keynes from the year 1930 (British economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments) was shared with attendees:

We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come–namely, technological unemployment. This means unemployment due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour. But this is only a temporary phase of maladjustment. All this means in the long run that mankind is solving its economic problem.

Essentially, there was a huge lost of jobs as technology started picking up – however, as John Maynard Keynes rightly predicted (now with hindsight), it is only a period of maladjustment and in the long run, we have invented tech to solve or handle our economic problems by being more productive.

The key takeaway, looking at this, is that intermediaries should look to harness the power of technology rather than be overpowered by it. 

This thought on the importance of the role of the intermediary as a human advisor was further echoed in an interview article with the president of GIA in April. The following excerpt was shared:

But while we are observing a growing preference for purchasing general insurance products digitally, our survey work with YouGov also reaffirmed consumers’ preference for the human touch – purchasing policies from agents and brokers – even among digital natives. Despite operating remotely, general insurance representatives play a critical role in enabling the sector to fulfil its promise of protecting customers, boosting financial literacy, and narrowing protection gaps. To this end, efforts to expand the talent pool and upskill the sector workforce to keep pace with an increasing digital economy should and will continue to be a priority for the sector.

How the pandemic has ‘forced’ this upon us

We then switched gears to focus on the what we had previously experienced the last couple of years – the pandemic – and how we have learnt to adopt tech for our own betterment (whether by choice or not).

We have learnt the benefits of automation

  • General Insurance policies are not the simplest to understand or digest. 
  • During our user research for Surer, 9 out 10 consumers (i.e. clients of General Insurance agents) mentioned that the quotes that were presented to them were simply too difficult to digest.
  • Quotes can now be generated and presented automatically in a digestible format

We have learnt to work more collaboratively with peers

  • Intermediaries do have clear target audiences and have a define set of services they provide to them
  • However, we have seen more collaborations happening
  • Intermediaries are starting to expand their network and work together to better serve clients by sharing expertise

We have learnt to free up more time by leveraging tech

  • Intermediaries are starting to use more sales tools to increase productivity. 
  • Tools that have features to track your deals, to help communication and path planning can help you increase your productivity significantly
  • Essentially, we have learnt to free up more time on process management so we can spend more time on sales.

Decoding sales and process efficiency related pain points of an intermediary

We then jumped into decoding the specific pain points that we understand hinders intermediaries when it comes to sales and process efficiency.

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!
  • We then shared that in a recent survey we had conducted, the top 3 pain points intermediaries faced today (ranked by % selected) were

We then shared that in a recent survey we had conducted, the top 3 pain points intermediaries faced today (ranked by % selected) were

  • 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

This segment of the webinar concluded that many of the pain points are related to manual and laborious processes. Sales and process efficiency basically means not being hindered by such to scale your business.

Attendees were then taken to the next segment of the webinar that touches on the idea of what can be expected when intermediaries leverage tech to drive efficiency.

In a highly efficient world, what are the tangible benefits for your business

The first point shared was that this will result in Zero GI business leakage

  • Many times, we do not realise a leaky bucket because we have the ability to constantly top it up with more water than what is leaking out.
  • Some do realise it, but can live with the knowledge… and honestly, there is no shame in that. Especially if it takes more effort to fix the leak than to top it up.
  • Whichever way you see it though, a leaky bucket is a problem; and every problem, especially a rampant one, calls for a solution.

Having defined what we mean by ‘leaky bucket’, we went on to break down what causes such.

Cause of the leaky bucket: ‘too troublesome’

  • While it is indeed too much of a hassle to expand the number of Principals just for a couple of deals, that does not mean that an intermediary should self condemn and not do the deal!
  • We hear a lot of non-GI focused agents sharing this with us. 
  • They want to help their clients, to the best of their abilities when it comes to General Insurance – as a service and to retain their client, if for nothing else.

Technology can drive greater efficiency to enable intermediaries in similar situations to be able to work with insurers and peers via automation!

Cause of the leaky bucket: ‘too complicated’

  • It is better to stay focused and specialise in certain segments, given how broad General Insurance can be.
  • However, an intermediary should not have to pass up on an opportunity just because it is outside of his/her scope of expertise.

Technology can provide automated guidance through templated forms, suggestions and process ‘hand-holding’

Cause of the leaky bucket: ‘small money’

  • It does make sense to weigh opportunity cost
  • The amount of work one needs to put in versus the amount they can earn is an important factor in how you allocate your time

Technology makes light work of previously tedious tasks, so that this supposed ‘small money’ is income that you can easily keep.

Sharing about the ‘leaky bucket’ and the reasons for such is to heighten the awareness amongst attendees that tech helps to minimise hassle to allow you to capitalise on business opportunities!

Supercharged relationship and processes with insurers

We then shared about yet another benefit that can be derived from a highly efficient process; that of a supercharged relationship between intermediaries and insurers.

There is enough evidence in the industry today that showcases the fact that this is as important an initiative for the intermediary as much as it is for the insurer.

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

Research online, purchased offline

  • The internet has changed the game. 
  • It has changed how people are informed and get informed.
  • Consumers can readily do their own research 

Research has shown that the majority of customers still WANT to hear from a physical salesperson, even at the early stages of their research. What has changed is the expectations of the customer, when they speak to an intermediary.

Syncing the two worlds

  • Tech will cannot replace the ‘feelings’ side of an insurer’s relationship with customers 
  • Especially for non-commoditised insurance products that are not so much about price sensitivity.

Tech will remove efficiency barriers but one needs to be mindful to not ‘over-digitise’ and for insurers to run the risk of becoming ‘less human’.

Of course, the goodness of tech is what we propound. However, it was also shared that intermediaries should do so for the right reasons!

Digitalise for the right reasons

The speaker used the analogy of ‘adding chill to laksa’ and said

You add chilli to your laksa to make it spicier. And you do it because you like it spicier. Not because you see everyone adding chilli and you just follow suit right?

Essentially, trying to drive home the point that one should not just follow a trend just because it is a trend! Do it because it helps the business.

Know your why… then think about how

I want to close a deal faster Cut out all the (repetitive) effort you have to put in to source for multiple quotes
I want ease in managing my business Automate the tracking of all your deals (past, present or future)
I want to close more deals Expand your network digitally to get more referrals

The above table was shared to illustrate identifying the ‘why’ and then determining the ‘how’. Going back to the Laksa analogy… the ‘WHY’ = I want my laksa to be spicier. the ‘HOW’ = add chilli!

Essentially, tech is available to help rid process and sales efficiency barriers. But how you leverage it and how the users are trained to use it will require effort.

Case studies: how the industry is viewing ‘human enablers’ (intermediaries) vis-a-vis tech

In this segment, the speaker shared a number of case studies on how the industry viewed the intermediaries; the human enabler that is so important in the ecosystem.

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 organization. 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 need to find ways to balance tech adoption with maintaining the human touch

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: The views of intermediaries are crucial for insurtech to work

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

Article referenced: Embracing the Human Side of the Bionic Insurer

  • Key insights: …bionic business models that marry humans and technology more closely than ever before, they tend to focus on the delivery and technology aspects. Too often they overlook the human changes, which are the hardest part…A bionic company needs a robust balance of technology and human enablers.
  • Takeaway: The needs to be a robust balance of tech and human enablers

The key takeaway that was shared from the above articles was that human enablers, and specifically, intermediaries, play a more important role now, more than ever. To leverage this importance would mean the help they will require from using technology in the business

Digital transformation to drive greater efficiency amongst intermediaries

We entered the last segment of the webinar by sharing how, whether we like it or not, that the digital evolution has begun.

What this digital evolution entails is that expectations of the customers have vastly changed as well – they know how technology IS available and will expect a more efficient experience. Having said that, the new age intermediary will still have their place in the ecosystem and an important one as long as they focus more on consulting instead of selling. To uplay their advisory skills now that they can leverage technology to free more time to do so.

Efficiency in customer interactions

  • The rise of f2f video communication
  • The reason physical meetings still happen, even with the rise of multiple communication services (from email to chat platforms) is because nothing can take the place of good old eye contact, body language reading and spontaneous responses.
  • However, what the pandemic has taught us is that video communication such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype etc. really is a good alternative to such.
  • It retains the key value of physical meetings and rids the cumbersome nature of physical commuting.

Automation will be an expectation 

  • With the rise of AI (artificial intelligence) and bots, all of us are kind of spoiled when it comes to getting quick responses.
  • While arguably not immediately relevant to General Insurance intermediaries, what this inadvertently does is create an expectation from the client’s perspective 
  • Tech savviness to help you be more efficient is now a necessity not a luxury!

Why the new age intermediary cannot be replaced

Don’t disrupt just 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. 
  • It is a model steeped in intangibles… relationship, market knowledge, understanding of the products and services that is available vis-a-vis the client.
  • The opportunity for the intermediary is to enhance their business by leveraging technology; not fearing it. Technology has the power to complement, enable and support many of the core processes that underpin the intermediaries’ work

Technology can help improve not replace

  • Technology can help to improve the efficiency of placement – to get a proposal out faster, and get as many quotes simultaneously.
  • It will not replace the relationships between intermediaries or insurers, rather it helps all parties analyse, structure and ultimately serve the client better, closing a deal faster.
  • Technology still needs the guiding hand of the intermediaries, and if leveraged well, will enhance their position within the entire value chain… not diminish it!

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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