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Webinar Highlights: The Digitally Transformed Intermediary

By March 14, 2023No 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. 

Did you know you can launch your personal website for free via Surer?

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!
Find out more >>>   

Key highlights

With the theme of the webinar being ’The Digitally Transformed Intermediary’, we broke the webinar down into four key segments:

  • Embracing Digital Transformation
  • Asking the right questions and using tech to find solutions
  • Blending the best of both worlds – Tech and the Human Advisor
  • Case studies: tech solutions to help you manage your business efficiently

It was shared that the above four segments are matched back to a deal-closing funnel, from lead generation, to qualification and finally closing.

Embracing Digital Transformation 

The seminar started with a sharing of some pain points that team at Surer had identified across its survey and user research.

A survey conducted in November 2022 found that the top pain point faced by intermediaries is the difficulty in getting quotes due to slow/non-replies.

It was further shared that in a user research conducted:

  • 84% of intermediaries said they want to source for more quotes for clients but the process is too tedious to do so.
  • 71% said they have problems tracking and managing their deals efficiently (close to 100% are using either spreadsheet or their emails)
  • 56% said they have experienced communication breakdown or lost threads with key parties in a deal before
  • 92% said they forgot to either inform or update underwriters or intermediaries of matters that are important (deal closed, gotten a quote etc.)
  • 62% said it is hard to be an expert in every single area of a broad spectrum like GI
  • 91% feels they are working in silos and collaboration amongst intermediaries is important

Understanding the problem to be solved is as important as providing the solution – this helped shed light on where digital transformation can play a role as a solution.

The topic then shifted on the practicalities of getting going with digital transformation, starting with embracing ways to better market oneself and specifically, through content creation.

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
    Channels you can use are already at your disposal! As long as this channel allows you to write, a url is generated when posted and can easily be shared… you are good to go! FB, Linkedin posts (like literally the post itself) 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.

It was further shared that intermediaries should consider digital transformation for good reasons and not just because it is a buzzword.

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!

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.

The speaker then shared a few more case studies to answer the questions of ‘Why digitise your business?’ citing these as examples of how the industry is building tech to support not disrupt the business of an intermediary.

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

Asking the right questions and using tech to find solutions

The seminar switched gears to touch on ‘what next once you get a lead’.

It was then shared that asking questions correctly allows an intermediary to not only find more opportunities but to also handle objections.

The importance of asking the right questions is essentially the same as the importance of being curious.

To give context, it was shared at the webinar that Surer started off its product building efforts by asking intermediaries questions about their pain points as well. It is only when you understand the problem, that you can start building solutions.

Asking the right questions, helps you uncover needs of your clients and this was demonstrated with a couple of scenarios/examples:

Magic question 1: How willing are you to change?

  • Most powerful question – asking the client their propensity to change
  • Example:

    For a client who already has an existing policy…

    If the answer you get is a ‘oh actually, it’s best but at a lower price lah’; now you understand it is more a budget issue than a new set of requirements.

    If the answer you get is a ‘Yes. I don’t think my existing policy can cover the 2 other new restaurants I intend to open…’; here you understand that the client’s needs are driven by business expansion.

Magic question 2: What prompted you to start exploring?

  • This question goes deeper than ‘what are your needs?’.
  • ‘What are your needs?’ requires the client to  list what he thinks is good / suited
  • However, this might not actually be the best answer to get. 
  • What if the client has a lack of understanding of what the possibilities are?
  • By asking the client what prompted them to start exploring, you are essentially asking the client to explain the ‘why’ not the ‘how’ or ‘what’ – that is your job!

Magic questions 3 – 6: Targeted follow-up questions

  • Once you have ‘opened the door’, you can now jump into the nitty gritty or the details of what the client needs…
    • When you say ‘cover’ what do you imagine this to be?
    • Can you share the specifics of your business?
    • Do you have an example of what you have in mind?
    • What are some policies that you have come across that definitely did not suit you?
  • The whole point is to uncover needs: you need to get them to be as specific as possible about their needs by asking targeted follow-up questions

Asking the right questions also helps you handle objections

Besides uncovering needs, it was shared that questions can help handle objections as well. This was much to the surprise of many attendees.

We then shared some questions that can be used to handle timing objections:

Magic question 1: ‘If money were no object, would you be willing to give it a try?’

  • If your clients were to say ‘no’ to this question, do remember to ask why.
  • This then gives you the opportunity to relook your suite of products/services and get back to your client with something that might be of a better fit.
  • If your prospect says “yes,” it is an opportunity to dig deeper to discover what hurdles are standing in their way to determine whether or not you can accommodate.

Magic question 2: ‘What are your other priorities right now?’

  • One of the most common reasons for timing objections is pretty straightforward – your client might have other bigger priorities in his/her life or business.
  • If you are able to get a full picture, you might have the opportunity to then offer other ways of helping.
  • This also opens the door for you to offer other products that match this priority.
  • The client might not always know what I want or need and so, will not spell it out to you in our discussions.

Magic question 3: “If I call you back in X weeks, will anything change?”

  • A response to this question could go two ways…
  • One, could be a literal, ‘No. I am sorry.’ Of which gives you the clarity to move on.
  • OR, it could be the client elaborating to you what kind of situation will be ideal for you to approach him/her again – this is valuable because it not only shows you what is taking up your client’s mindspace but also the opportunity for you to show concern the next time you try to re-engage.

Blending the best of both worlds – Tech and the Human Advisor

Moving into the third segment of the seminar, the speaker shared how the closing of a deal is still very much dependent on the intermediaries’ advisory skills.

We started by sharing how technology cannot replace the human touch and shared some stats and reasons for this….

It was shared that especially in Commercial Insurance, In Europe 75% of complex insurance ‘researched online, purchased offline’ while In the US Intermediaries accounted for 70.8% of commercial premiums.

Diving deeper into this, we shared about key stats in a research where:

  • Majority (71%) of clients WANT to hear from a salesperson
  • 82% of clients say they will take a meeting
  • 67% of clients say tailored solutions will get them even more interested
  • >90% of clients feel a sales meeting is more valuable if you help them better understand their needs

We then shared a little about our perspective of why this could be the case – fear and optimism bias.

Optimism Bias:

  • Our brain is built to be optimistic as a default. We will first believe that that we are less likely to suffer from misfortune and more likely to attain success.
  • What has it to do with insurance?
    One of the reasons why the industry always say ‘insurance requires selling’. It is a built-in resistance to purchasing / or being motivated to purchase Insurance.


  • The brain is trained to to be more afraid of what we can understand, rather than one that seems foreign or abstract
  • What has it to do with insurance?
    So, how we fear or how we have learnt to ‘prioritise’ fear can explain some of the resistance some Insurance. How I die seems to take higher priority over dying itself.

In general, technology will not be able to replace the ‘spark’ to get clients to think about insurance proactively – our brain is just not tuned to WANTING insurance

Moving on from the above, we then shared about how technology can help with digitalisation, automation and network collaboration, with tech, the intermediary of tomorrow can now

  • Increase their TQ (which will be as important as IQ and EQ)
    Tech helps you do more by working less, drives your business faster and ultimately, empowers you to spend more time on more important matters.
  • 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.
  • Allows you to adopt a client-first mindset
    A product or service aims to solve a problem for a client and the client in turn, pays for this product or service. So, your first instinct should always be ‘how to solve my client’s problem’ not ‘what I want this client to buy’

It was shared that the most tangible benefit that a digitally transformed intermediary can expect would be lesser 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!

Surer case study: how can technology help you find answers

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 late 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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