Applied Net Preview: Digital Trends Shaping the Insurance Landscape
Technology | Steve Anderson | Oct 2 2018
Technology is changing faster than ever. You feel it every day in your personal life and your work life, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up. This this is especially true for a traditional, risk-averse industry like insurance.
There are many opportunities technologies present, however, if we approach each with an open mind and a willingness to experiment. Those opportunities span several trend categories and impact every person your agency or brokerage touches, including agents, brokers, other insurance companies, technology vendors and, most importantly, clients.
The changing consumer is forcing all types of insurance organizations to update their internal operational processes. One area that seems especially problematic is forcing a paper mindset to work in a digital world. It doesn’t work. The industry needs to rethink its reliance on outdated paper-based processes.
In 1983, Reliance Insurance Company (my first insurance job) had a slogan “Paper Free in ‘83.” It’s 2018, and the industry is nowhere close to being paper free. Just take a look at your desk and around your office. What is your organization doing to remove paper from client transactions?
Speed is the core of creating a great customer experience. Technology has not only increased the pace at which we live our lives but has also affected our expectations regarding the speed at which services are provided. Recognizing this is the first step in taking action that will positively change operations at your agency or brokerage, therefor increasing the speed at which you engage with clients as you provide the thoughtful and expert advice you deserve to be known for. Clients don’t necessarily need you for information anymore, but they do need you for advice.
Insurance Company Digital Transformation
One of the barriers to digital transformation for the insurance industry has been legacy technology systems. There is a massive transformation going on right now as old systems are being tossed out and replaced with modern technology platforms. This is significant for the entire industry as it will allow the current silos of information to be pulled together to enhance agent and broker communication as well as client communication.
Data Analytics and Machine Learning
We now have access to more data than ever. Services are available that allow you to look up property information and receive a report on details that you can use to better serve clients. Automobile event data recorders provide analysis of everything that happens when a person drives. When an accident occurs, that data can then be used to reconstruct precisely what happened, rather than relying on someone’s faulty memory of what happened.
Advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms help all parties in the insurance ecosystem better understand hidden patterns within the data to make more informed underwriting and risk profile decisions, making data data-actionable.
Chatbots — or what I like to call guided conversations — are another a tool that the industry can use to effectively engage clients when they don’t want to talk to an actual person. The machine-learning techniques that chatbots employ are available for agencies to augment employee knowledge and information, allowing clients the opportunity to have questions answered more quickly and, thus, yielding improved customer service.
The Changing Nature of Risk
New technology developments are changing the very nature of risk. The sharing economy, the increased use of drones by individuals and businesses, autonomous vehicles, smart homes and buildings, blockchain, 3D printing, and even electric scooters all present unique insurance challenges. It is incumbent on agents to keep up with technology, identify and analyze the risks involved, and understand the insurance implications in order to continue to provide the advice clients need.
We as an industry need to be intentional about keeping up with these changes and providing new insurance solutions that protect consumers.
The Changed Consumer
Another effect of technology is the emergence of a new type of consumer. Empowered by mobile, today’s consumers are able to get exactly what they are looking for instantly and effortlessly. As a result, they are more curious, demanding and impatient than ever before. For insurance agents, this means consumers are also tougher to reach and tougher to please. Your ability to leverage data to anticipate consumer needs will go a long way in engaging with and retaining clients.
People have become more research obsessed, even about the small stuff. Because of this, every decision — big or small — is an informed one. According to Google, there has been an 80 percent growth in the number of mobile searches that include “best.” If someone is searching for the “best insurance agent,” will your company show up?
Consumers are also more demanding, expecting every digital experience to be personalized just for them, even when they include few details and don’t explicitly spell out their request.
Is your organization keeping up?
If you have an interest in any of these topics and how they will affect your future, then I encourage you to add my session to your agenda for Applied Net 2018, where I will present an open discussion on these topics alongside Matt Foran, Head of Alternative Distribution, MM VP, at The Hartford.
Not yet registered for Applied Net 2018, October 14–18? Register online today.
Steve helps agents and brokers understand how to use and maximize technology to achieve operational excellence. You can find him online at www.SteveAnderson.com.