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The ‘Digital’ Insurance Broker

3 minutes, 24 seconds read

The technological advancements brought forth by insurtech will soon become routine for brokerage offices within the next few years. Digital-first approaches have finally trickled down, turning ripe for adoption for this major distribution channel. However, broker adoption has still not caught pace with their agency counterparts.

According to a 2019 report surveying independent insurance brokers across the US, Canada & the UK, the average for digital technology adoption at an independent brokerage is only around 43%, even though nearly 96% of them (almost universally) use a broker management system for indispensable day-to-day operations. Interestingly, over 80% don’t offer any form of ‘mobile apps’ or ‘self-service portals’ for customers or staff. 

Today’s insurance customers are younger and prefer digital over traditional channels — leaving a lot of unmet gaps in the value chain. The report also identified key areas where adoption is growing — such as capabilities in workflow process management, document management, sales opportunities & prospect tracking, one system-one view visibility into all departments among others. For example, the downside to not outfitting your broker operation with employee mobility tools alone translates to over 30% reduction in staff productivity. 

Today’s insurance customers are younger and prefer digital over traditional channels

Meanwhile, brokers are facing a whole new set of challenges — Insurance is being built for digital and the audience is changing. Gen Z and Millennials will form the core of their target demographic. A fully online brokerage can benefit these potential customers through simple end-to-end policy administration and by fine-tuning the customer journey.

webinar: AI for data-driven Insurers

Join our Webinar — AI for Data-driven Insurers: Challenges, Opportunities & the Way Forward hosted by our CEO, Parag Sharma as he addresses Insurance business leaders and decision-makers on April 14, 2020.

While brokers are not involved in the manufacture of insurance products or the evaluation of risk, several other value chain functions are being performed through brokers now — of which managing the customer relationship is pivotal. 

There is a lot of data across the lifecycle to look at, which necessitates the need for advanced analytics in order maximize the opportunities to up/cross-sell. At present, data analytics is widely under-utilized among most insurance brokers leaving them blindsided to customer needs.

The Case for a ‘Digital’ Brokerage

A digital broker business is built on these foundational blocks — robust broker management system, seamless mobility tools for employees, insurer connectedness, self-service portals, smart customer apps, advanced data analytics and the cloud. 

The case for digital brokerage

Taking the entire business model online requires the right business advisory and technical roadmap, without which the transformation can leave you with unwarranted gaps in the operating structure. This is where Artificial Intelligence can play a critical role in securing brokerages to be future-ready. The digital broker has to be outfitted with a staunch selection of AI-enabled tools that provide better business visibility, more unified workflows and eliminates time spent managing and updating divergent systems.  

Analysing big data (predictive analytics) and social media using AI can offer real-time insights for measuring risk, immediate demands and possible life changes for customers. For brokers, this translates to an enhanced ability to justify value to clients and ultimately retain those customers.

EY ‘The broker of the future report’

According to a recent EY report on the state of digital brokerages, ‘digital onboarding tools’ and ‘sales leads & application tools’ were identified as attributes with the lowest satisfaction among brokerages. There is a growing sense that these tools need to be a cut above the industry benchmarks — in order to improve the digital relationship with a customer or prospect.

The Digital Broker can also leverage automation to improve efficiency in agent productivity and document handling processes. For instance, enabling employees with remote digital tools empowers them to quickly take action – from quoting prospects to providing policy details and managing claims for existing customers — especially when they need it most. 

Brokers, just like insurers and agencies, need next-gen customer engagement solutions in order to maximize real customer lifetime value. Technologies like Artificial Intelligence have the potential to enhance several facets of the business from reducing back-office processing times and intelligent lead allocation to designing better customer facing products. Improvements achieved through the deployment of AI can create significant gains in operational efficiency and RPE (revenue per employee).

To learn how MantaLabs can help your brokerage begin its digital transformation journey, reach out to us on hello@mantralabsglobal.com

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Enterprises investing in Workplace Mobility Can Survive Pandemics

4 minutes, 21 seconds read

Nearly one-third of the global population is under coronavirus lockdown. Large-scale quarantines and travel restrictions are posing challenges for businesses to continue their operations. While workforce protection remains the top priority for enterprises, prolonged isolation is an eye-opener to adopt workplace mobility.

As the world continues to fight the pandemic, flatten the curve and try to maintain normalcy by working from home — teams everywhere are trying to stay productive so that daily operations can continue to some degree. But this is not an easy task. By working remotely, there are a lot of challenges especially in communication and connectivity, not to mention challenges with remaining productive throughout the day. 

There was a time when mobility at work was considered a perk. Today, almost everyone, at some point, agrees that flexibility and liberty to work from home is essential. The 2020 Enterprise Mobility Trends Report anticipates that 42% (18.7 billion) of the global workforce will embrace mobility by 2020.

The need for workplace mobility

Workplace mobility empowers people to work from anywhere, at any time and from any device. It directly impacts employee productivity as well as the speed to execute business processes. How?

Dan Ariely, in his book Predictably Irrational, categorizes human behaviour in lines with the market and social norms. Market norms apply a monetary value to every transaction — salaries or payments against skill/talent. Whereas, social norms rely on the exchange of gifts, kindness, favour, etc. and is far away from any monetary transaction. 

While stringent work policies tend to inculcate market norms (skills are calculated against salaries), flexibility instils social norms (empathy and concern). People are willing to do more on their free-will.

In this 24/7 work environment social norms have a great advantage: they tend to make employees passionate, hardworking, flexible, and concerned. In a market where employees’ loyalty to their employers is often wilting, social norms are one of the best ways to make workers loyal, as well as motivated.

– suggests Ariely

How apps and AI-driven mobility solutions for employees can keep businesses operationally afloat?

By 2025, the number of unique mobile subscribers is projected to reach 5.9 billion. Market researchers also anticipate that there’ll be nearly 25 billion IoT devices, most of which will comprise business-related connected devices. However, it’s not just handy devices that are enabling mobility at work. Technologies are also empowering businesses to readily adopt mobility. 

For instance, Google has introduced a deck of enterprise mobility solutions. It provides cloud support to collaboration apps and management tools. Apart from G Suite, Google has invested in android and chrome platforms to support workplace mobility. 

Workplace mobility apps and features

Many organizations require time logs to ensure overtime and bonuses. Apps like SecurTime provide a cloud-based time-attendance workforce management solution with real-time tracking. It seamlessly integrates with payroll/HRMS and biometric systems without any dependency on hardware.

When people work remotely, creating a virtual collaborative environment can concern businesses. While email is the channel for all formal communication, it’s usual to lose track of conversations in emails and messengers. To organize work and priorities at the team level, Slack and Trello are popular apps.

Organizations with in-house software development teams often face hassles while planning, tracking, resolving bugs & issues and releasing products. Jira — an agile project management tool helps organizations to track every phase of product development and team progress irrespective of their physical location.

AI-driven enterprise mobility solutions

Mobile devices and cloud platforms are making it easier for teams to collaborate and deliver. Moreover, employees save substantial time on travelling, which gives them time to indulge in activities that foster creativity. 

Gartner predicts that by 2021, 40% of new enterprise applications will include AI technologies. So far, the adoption of AI was seen in consumer-facing operations to enhance customer experiences. Now, organizations are also focusing on enhancing employee experiences. For example, leading organizations are using NLP-powered chatbots for handling employee-queries regarding leave, work from home intimation, business-travel, etc. 

[Related: AI in recruitment and discovering talent]

Technology can equip employees with information at hand. AI solutions like Zelros provide instant information to Insurance sales advisors regarding products, clients, etc. 

AI-powered applications are becoming more human-centred and they can execute commands without touching/pressing a button. For example, with gesture recognition technology and voice user interface, simple tasks like sharing a file, reading a report, etc. can be done while driving, spending time with kids, evening walks, etc. removing dependencies that delay work.

[Related: How does AI recognize hand gestures]

The use of AI is evolving to automatically prioritize problems and send notifications to the concerned departments. SVM (Support Vector Machine) and CNN (Convolutional Neural Network) are machine learning algorithms for building classification models.

The bottom line

While one can prevent wars, natural calamities and pandemics are unavoidable. In the current context, the heat of the Corona outbreak is severely impacting industries including aviation, e-commerce, education, tourism, entertainment, hospitality, electronics, consumer and luxury goods. Businesses are thriving to remain operationally afloat. 

Embracing mobility at work today can prepare organizations for tomorrow’s pandemic resilience. 

Mantra Labs is helping enterprises invest in building their pandemic resilience by planning and scaling their mobility infrastructures, and enable greater use of mobility as a service. Talk to us today to know how we can help you, or reach out to us at hello@mantralabsglobal.com.

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