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Insurance Agent – Would INSURTECH Complement or replace them?

I remember my young days when one of my close relatives started working as an Insurance Agent, and it was considered to be a precious job. A few days back when I met him, I asked him – Has the latest technology affected your work? I was expecting a negative answer, but instead, he showed me the flip side of how insurtech is helping him make a more personalized and long-term relationships. While some of the mundane jobs like data entry, reminders, quotes comparison, underwriting has been taken up by the insurtech technology, individuals, business owners or firms are yet inclined to interact with a human being and close the deal.

He mentioned a couple of analogies to strengthen his case – he said e-commerce industry in India that is worth US$125 billion as of April 2017 was not able to displace the brick and mortar industry. Or has the automobile industry removed pedestrians from the road?

Or the most important one – has the digitization removed the government agents that help citizens in getting their vehicle registered or apply for the PAN card?

Or has the financial inclusion initiative detached Banking agents or business correspondents from the chain? With a big smile on his face, he was sure digital move will only enhance his powers as insurance agents and not displace them.

Let’s take a look “HOW INSURTECH WOULD STRENGTHEN INSURANCE AGENT”

CHATBOTS HELPING IN CONVERSATION

Let’s accept it, on the one hand, people are busy and may not be available for sales pitch even it’s a tedious job for the insurance agent to repeat the same introduction to every prospective client, and that’s why – chatbots are handy. Start a conversation at your ease, and get full information handy. If you are satisfied, book an appointment with the agent, and he would come and guide you further.

DATA DATA EVERYWHERE

InsurTech is helping the insurance firms in churning the data that supports them in analyzing their needs and preferences. The same data could be used by insurance agents to grab more clients. Just for example if an individual is a wanderlust, he might be more interested in getting customized travel insurance rather than home or term insurance. Such kind of data when provided to an insurance agent, he could use his expertise to present a sales pitch to the client and help him in also getting customization if needed.

VALUE ADDED SERVICES

While play store may be filled with apps that provide dos and don’ts of insurance, individuals expect a human touch that offers “personalization with freebies.” Insurance agents could tap into this domain by also offering value-added services to make their client feel special. Just for example – using a robo advisor to generate a financial planning portfolio for your prospective client could help in trusting the agents and building a long-term relationship.
Undoubtedly technologies’ like Artificial Intelligence[AI], Natural Language Processing [NLP] would help in improving the financial decision, but they are also strengthening the agents in providing value-added services and making it a more engaging experience.

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References:

https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/asia/news/breaking-news/tech-to-complement-not-replace-insurance-50228.aspx

https://dailyfintech.com/2017/11/30/insurtechisagentspinach/
https://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/mag-features/2017/04/03/446012.htm

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Retention playbook for Insurance firms in the backdrop of financial crises

4 minutes read

Belonging to one of the oldest industries in the world, Insurance companies have weathered multiple calamities over the years and have proven themselves to be resilient entities that can truly stand the test of time. Today, however, the industry faces some of its toughest trials yet. Technology has fundamentally changed what it means to be an insurer and the cumulative effects of the pandemic coupled with a weak global economic output have impacted the industry in ways both good and bad.

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Source: Deloitte Services LP Economic Analysis

For instance, the U.S market recorded a sharp dip in GDP in the wake of the pandemic and it was expected that the economy would bounce back bringing with it a resurgent demand for all products (including insurance) across the board. It must be noted that the outlook toward insurance products changed as a result of the pandemic. Life insurance products were no longer an afterthought, although profitability in this segment declined over the years. Property-and-Casualty (P&C) insurance, especially motor insurance, continued to be a strong driver, while health insurance proved to be the fastest-growing segment with robust demand from different geographies

Simultaneously, the insurance industry finds itself on the cusp of an industry-wide shift as technology is starting to play a greater role in core operations. In particular, technologies such as AI, AR, and VR are being deployed extensively to retain customers amidst this technological and economic upheaval.

Double down on digital

For insurance firms, IT budgets were almost exclusively dedicated to maintaining legacy systems, but with the rise of InsurTech, it is imperative that firms start dedicating more of their budgets towards developing advanced capabilities such as predictive analytics, AI-driven offerings, etc. Insurance has long been an industry that makes extensive use of complex statistical and mathematical models to guide pricing and product development strategies. By incorporating the latest technological advances with the rich data they have accumulated over the years, insurance firms are poised to emerge stronger and more competitive than ever.

Using AI to curate a bespoke customer experience

Insurance has always been a low-margin affair and success in the business is primarily a function of selling the right products to the right people and reducing churn as much as possible. This is particularly important as customer retention is normally conceived as an afterthought in most industries, as evidenced in the following chart.

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        Source: econconusltancy.com

AI-powered tools (even with narrow capabilities) can do wonders for the insurance industry at large. When architected in the right manner, they can be used to automate a bulk of the standardized and automated processes that insurance companies have. AI can be used to automate and accelerate claims, assess homeowner policies via drones, and facilitate richer customer experiences through sophisticated chatbots. Such advances have a domino effect of increasing CSAT scores, boosting retention rates, reducing CACs, and ultimately improving profitability by as much as 95%.

Crafting immersive products through AR/VR

Customer retention is largely a function of how good a product is, and how effective it is in solving the customers’ pain points. In the face of increasing commodification, insurance companies that go the extra mile to make the buying process more immersive and engaging can gain a definite edge over competitors.

Globally, companies are flocking to implement AR/VR into their customer engagement strategies as it allows them to better several aspects of the customer journey in one fell swoop. Relationship building, product visualization, and highly personalized products are some of the benefits that AR/VR confers to its wielders.  

By honoring the customer sentiments of today and applying a slick AR/VR-powered veneer over its existing product layer, insurance companies can cater to a younger audience (Gen Z) by educating them about insurance products and tailoring digital delivery experiences. This could pay off in the long run by building a large customer base that could be retained and served for a much longer period.

The way forward

The Insurance industry is undergoing a shift of tectonic proportions as an older generation makes way for a new and younger one that has little to no perceptions about the industry. By investing in next-generation technologies such as AR/VR, firms can build new products to capture this new market and catapult themselves to leadership positions simply by way of keeping up with the times.

We have already seen how AR is a potential game-changer for the insurance industry. It is only a matter of time before it becomes commonplace.

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