Technology Trends Changing the Insurance Industry
Insurance | Connections Editor | Mar 16 2018
Traditionally, insurance was not a technology-oriented industry. Everything was paper, there was a physical trail for all transactions and processes were largely manual.
Today, insurance has been identified as industry ripe for modernization and technological advances. The day-to-day business of insurance agencies and brokerages looks much different now than it did even 10 years ago. Although there are larger technological advances on the horizon for the insuretech industry like blockchain technology and machine learning, there are also quite a few advances affecting the daily operations of agencies and brokerages.
Applied Client Network spoke to insurance agency professionals about the technology trends shaping how their agency or brokerage operates. Some are issues affecting their day-to-day operations, while others are important future initiatives that will take years to deploy as an independent agency. Regardless of duration these are all issues at the forefront for today’s insurance professionals. Hear what some Applied systems users have to say, and share your own thoughts on the Connections community page.
Increasing Client Communication Through Texting
The first text was sent in 1992, but texting didn’t become the norm on cell phone plans until the early 2000s. What started out as an upsell for cell service providers has become a regular medium of communication for anyone with a cell phone. That pervasiveness is starting to be felt by independent insurance agencies and brokerages as they communicate with their client base. “We’ve had a lot of people wanting to text us photos of driver’s licenses, green cards, etc.,” said Kristen Goodwin, Information Systems Manager, Kemner Iott Benz. “Text messaging is definitely on the rise with our agency. Right now we don’t really have any capabilities besides having clients text my phone, but we would love to have it be more integrated.”
In an era where we can use mobile devices to deposit a check, it is a natural trajectory for clients to want to send documentation and information from their mobile device as well. Fax machines, scanners and copiers don’t reside in every person’s home anymore, so taking and sending photos via a cell phone seems to be the next best option when documentation is needed for a new policy. The question is: How can insurance agencies and brokerages do more with text messaging capabilities, beyond simply receiving information from the client? What outbound communication can they send via text to initiate that conversation?
Building the Digital Client Experience
Almost everything today is accessible online or through an app. If you’re going to a baseball game, you need to download the MLB app to get your tickets; if you need to change your 401k contribution, you do it online. This ease-of-use is pervasive in society right now, and consumers often expect to have a compatible app or digital experience for most facets of their lives — including their insurance.
“Building the digital client experience is one of the leading issues we’re dealing with right now,” said Marie Hansen, Risk Management Operations Manager, True North Companies. “We do have apps that we use for clients, and we have external applications, so [the biggest challenge] is implementing them all and making them function… to work together with everything else. As expectations of the clients change, we’re trying to be proactive and give them the tools they need to take care of their business.”
A huge part of providing those necessary tools is accessibility. Digital access — whether through an app or online portal — is crucial for clients to understand their policies and coverage and be able to reach out to their insurance agency or brokerage with questions.
Leveraging Existing Systems for Mobile Applications
Taking it one step further, having all information not only available online, but also through clients’ smartphones (whether mobile- or app-enabled) is becoming a consumer expectation. Mobile, on-the-go information is the norm today, but many insurance agencies aren’t set up for it.
Kristin Barsch, Office Manager at Laporte Insurance, says that going more mobile is the biggest technology trend her agency is focusing on right now. “We have a lot of clients who feel that their iPhone or iPad is their life,” she says. “It’s not the computer necessarily anymore; it’s technology on the go, and that is impacting us. We’re needing to change the way our agency operates, and by using some of the products Applied offers, we can give the product and services we need to our clients.”
Insurance agencies and brokerages need to consider how they can be more mobile-compatible. How do clients want to receive information on their mobile devices? What tools are available today to make that transition possible? How can they be implemented?
Want to learn more about leveraging mobile technology with Applied Systems? Ask other users about their experience in the Applied Mobile discussion forum.
Tags: Technology , Insurance , Trends , Disruptors