Why Trust and Connectivity Hold the Key to Your Success in 2019
Insurance | Steve Whitelaw, Applied Systems | Sep 19 2019
I am thrilled to be part of the now 20-plus-year legacy of insurance technology and industry leadership that Applied Systems affords. Upon my appointment in April as VP of industry and partner relations for the Canadian marketplace, I was excited to see the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) report that its member brokerages contributed approximately $5.4 billion to the country’s gross domestic product, demonstrating the longevity and viability of our industry.
When it comes to technology, the insurance industry is not alone relative to its cries of “digital transformation.” According to Gartner’s recent CEO Survey, 93% of CEOs indicate that digital transformation will either have a moderate, substantial or radical impact on their industry over the next five years, which is about as much agreement as you can ever get among CEOs.
The Advisory Role
Customer trust is vital for all businesses, but absolutely essential in the world of insurance. Without trust, insurance simply does not work as an industry. This is largely because any insurance product is essentially based on a future promise. That said, independent brokerages are actually performing quite well in terms of customer trust. In a recent Accenture survey, 92% of respondents expected their insurance provider to help them manage their risk rather than simply insure against it.
Consumers are looking to their broker as a proactive risk advisor. Taking things a step further, Accenture’s Why Claim’s Service Matters survey indicates that 75% of consumers are willing to share additional personal information in exchange for relevant, individualized advice. They instill this trust because they need you and appreciate advice that is targeted to their requirements. Simply put, your customers need you. My advice? Make sure that your technology supports your ability to offer solid advice to your customer base. Brokerages that leverage technology to engage with customers throughout the policy lifecycle will be much more likely to compete and establish life-long customers.
The brokerage of the future — a true Digital Brokerage — is one that is emerging as a proactive risk advisor, using technology to support customer advice. Digital transformation is often associated with a reduction in the importance of relationship, but I believe it can actually deliver the opposite. Digital investments can enhance retention and improve customer relationships and satisfaction. Hammad Rafique, managing director of Accenture’s Insurance Practice, probably said it best…
“Technology provides the very opportunity for agencies and brokerages to reinvent themselves and get closer to the customer than they have ever been before.”
A Bright Future: Opportunities
Digital trends and a changing workforce offer many opportunities to insurance brokerages of today. When it comes to engaging industry stakeholders and enhancing operations, I suggest you look no further than automation and connectivity.
Digital Workplace Group’s third annual State of the Digital Workplace Report echoes this with 87% of respondents noting that digital tools help them serve clients faster and 72% recognizing increased productivity because of digital transformation.
How can Applied Systems help?
Better Connectivity With Consumers
Increased and enhanced connectivity with consumers is a digital differentiator that brokerages should be capitalizing on. More and more customers expect businesses to make it easy for them to solve their customer service issues themselves. In fact, the 2018 Aberdeen Customer Experience Trends Report found that self-service is the new customer service, which means that convenience is key for today’s consumers. Consumers have more complex needs and are more knowledgeable about their choices than ever before, and they want personalized offerings and tailored communications — and this is why insurers must digitize services and optimize all interactions.
Applied supports automated data exchange between brokerages and their insurer partners. Integrated into Applied Epic and Applied TAM, this complimentary online tool provides an easier way to track current and new download connections within a single application.
Applied eServicing Capabilities
Applied eServicing is an end-to-end integrated solution that enables brokerages to instantly connect with insurer partners for policy, billing, claims and payment inquiries directly from an agency or brokerage management system to an insurer’s policy administration system.
In short, as your brokerage technology partner, we want to make your day-to-day more efficient and productive, and are always working to find new ways to do so. It is critical that all constituents of the industry are working together to ensure the broker distribution channel is competitive and positioned for growth over the long term, and I look forward to seeing where we go next.
Steve Whitelaw is vice president of industry and partner relations for Applied Systems Canada.
Interested in learning more from Steve? Keep up with the latest from Applied Systems as a member of Applied Client Network and check out Steve’s recent webinar via on-demand Webinar Replays.
Tags: Insurance , Applied Systems , Webinars , Thought Leadership , Canadian Brokerage Landscape