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It’s Time for The Insurance Industry to Embrace the Digital Age

It’s Time for The Insurance Industry to Embrace the Digital Age

Various industries are adapting to the current digital revolution and embracing digital concepts to streamline their business operations — including the insurance industry.

Although the insurance industry has fallen behind in accepting digital best practices in the last few years, it is now finally catching up. More insurance carriers and insurance marketing organizations are adopting digital platforms each day. Data analytics and new technology enable the insurance industry to improve its processes, develop new business models, and transform the competitive landscape.

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Embracing the Digital Disruption

Adopting insurance technology platforms make it easier for insurance agents to reach out to new customers and build stronger relationships with current ones. As part of the increasing push to embrace technological advances, some insurance carriers provide benefits to agents and clients who take advantage of their electronic application service or online platform.

The expectations and preferences of the industry’s consumer base are a driving force behind its adaptation of digital technology. Consumers’ daily lives are immersed in digital technology — from the smart home systems and digital assistants to the smartphones that rarely leave their sights and their increasing dependence on the Internet. Meeting them halfway helps you make more meaningful and lasting connections to future-proof your business amid the digital disruption.

Successfully transforming an entire insurance company’s business strategy to embrace digital technology is no mean feat, though. Neither is it something that’s accomplished in a short span of time.

Paying attention to three key attributes helps companies make significant progress:

  • Focus on the bigger picture. A company will see better results and integration of new digital technology and practices through a company-wide, all-encompassing strategy for the digital age, not just a strategy for using a certain digital platform or just for the agents. Conducting a thorough diagnostic of business shortcomings, competitive strengths, and perceived challenges enable the company leaders to see where they should start and what they should prioritize. It also helps them identify where they want to go.
  • Prioritize technological literacy. Proficiency in different technological platforms or applications is necessary to thrive in the digital age. Establishing regular training sessions, providing free or discounted access to tech seminars or conferences, and giving other educational resources will help insurance agents build confidence and adapt to the new environment faster.
  • Understand value drivers. Insurance firms, from carriers to marketing organizations, would get more value from their digital transformation by focusing on their existing core business functions. Although adopting new technologies to form new revenue streams at the same time is possible, adapting core business areas to the digital age should take precedence.

Additionally, potential clients are more likely to sign on with agents who exude confidence in their job and show an in-depth understanding of their tools.

Focusing on that deal with customer needs generates fast results and helps boost the value of a company’s digital transformation. For instance, using technology to provide better operational transparency in the claims process, offer assistance services, and automate interactions for greater efficiency improves customer experience and the company’s reputation and attracts potential clients.


 

Pro Tip: Keep a running tab on insurance carriers that truly put the ideals above into practice for your clients. Use the ones that make your job easier as an agent and treat your client with respect.

Consumer Engagement in the Digital Age

Insurance agents today now have more technological capabilities than ever to carry out their business. You have more tools at your disposal to help you engage with consumers who are often immersed in the digital culture.

For instance, you can conduct client interviews via a video conferencing or web conferencing system. This lets you maximize your time and give more consideration for your client’s busy schedules. Additionally, it helps lessen the discomfort some clients may have about meeting a stranger and welcoming them into their homes.

A survey shows that out of 23 percent of customers who expressed interest in buying life insurance through digital channels, only 11 percent were able to do so due to insurance provider capabilities. Determining what your clients expect from you will help you get more clients, better address their needs, and improve engagement.
  • 1
    Personalized. Consumers are looking for insurance plans that would work exactly how they want and need it to — nothing more, nothing less. They wouldn’t want to pay for insurance coverage with elements they deem unnecessary, especially with the expected economic slowdown.
  • 2
    Customer-centric. Providing exemplary customer service is essential in the business. In today’s digital age, a dissatisfied client can bring down your business with a single, scathing social media post. Customers are looking for insurers that put their needs first, instead of focusing on making more sales.
  • 3
    Tech-savvy. Expect your younger clients (Millennials, Generation Z, and younger Baby Boomers) to know their way around modern technology and online platforms. Similarly, they’ll expect insurers to be comfortable with digital tools and would appreciate those that can offer tech-friendly features for greater convenience.
  • 4
    Security. The need for greater cybersecurity goes hand in hand with advancements in technology. Consumers look for insurance providers they can trust to safeguard their personal data.
  • 5
    Multichannel. Not to be confused with omnichannel (although that’s also important when developing a digital transformation strategy), multichannel refers to the different ways clients can contact you or purchase your product. The digital age has raised people’s expectations for convenience. It’s no longer enough for clients to reach you via phone calls, they’re looking for as many ways to reach out to you in the quickest way possible, such as online portals, mobile apps, texts, e-mails, and social media.

Understanding your customers’ needs and expectations help you identify gaps in your digital strategy and what areas you should focus on first. Digital deficits or gaps between what your clients look for and what you offer may hinder full consumer engagement.

Digital Tools to Meet Consumers’ Needs

After understanding what your consumers expect, you can create a strategy to resolve the gaps in your digital strategy.

Investing in digital tools to improve marketing efforts will help carriers and agents identify the prime time to approach potential clients, the type of content or product to offer, and the ideal channel to reach out with.

  • Predictive analytics. This allows you to identify marketing opportunities, make more personalized and timely marketing material, and prepare policies that fit the client profile.
  • Digital financial planning tools and online calculators. Smart financial planning tools enable your clients to compare policies, understand how it may impact their budget, and adjust their spending accordingly.
  • Integrated online platforms. These boost clients’ ability to manage their journey digitally, improve post-sales service, and offer better customer experience.

Digital Transformation Trends in Insurance

Making use of the technology available to process applications faster makes life as an insurance agent much easier and puts you a step ahead of your colleagues. Moreover, it also makes the many insurance processes easier to follow for your customers.

Self-service Dashboards

The speed of service is a critical issue among most consumers, especially the younger generation. Your customers are likely looking for quickest and easiest way possible to finish their tasks so they can move on to their next one. The self-service model, therefore, is a strong trend among several industries, not just insurance.

Having a self-service dashboard gives customers the ability to manage their insurance plans from start to finish. They can browse and buy a plan or file a claim and track its progress at the click of a button.


 

Pro Tip: As an insurance agent, you should be familiar with these dashboards if you client needs your help. It will show your expertise and further solidify you as THEIR agent.

Online Purchase and Comparison Portals

Comparison and purchase options are usually offered in tandem with self-service dashboards. These provide consumers with greater transparency. Insurers who are more transparent with their products and processes are more likely to earn the trust and respect of their customers.

It also increases your clients’ choosing and purchasing power, which, in turn, can boost customer satisfaction.


 

Pro Tip: You can either use CSG Actuarial or our FREE CRM and quoting software to display comparisons to be transparent with your customer. Show you are really on their side to get them the best prices.

Seamless Experience across Different Channels

Providing consistent customer experience, not just from first interaction to the resolution but also across different platforms (web portal, mobile app, calls, and in-person), is a major trend in digital transformation. Apart from providing a variety of channels for your clients to reach you, it’s important to ensure a smooth transition from each channel they use.

This involves using the technology available to store customer information and making it accessible through each of your available digital platforms. Doing so would help prevent the time-consuming experience of repeatedly explaining accident details to agent , after agent when filing insurance claims.


 

Pro Tip: Be familiar with your carrier's claims process and tools so you can be there when it matters most.

Technologies Leading the Charge

New technologies emerge each year that may help insurance agents and carriers. Five technologies, however, are at the forefront of transforming the entire insurance industry.

Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a supportive technology, one that will complement blockchain and big data analytics to improve the consumer experience significantly. It encompasses a variety of technologies and capabilities, including machine learning and intelligent automation.

New AI technologies can help insurance professionals, from carriers to marketing organizations, redefine how they operate, create products and services, and deliver customer experiences.  Together with data analytics, insurers can use the technology to assess a client’s likelihood of filing claims and to set their premium. Determining insurance payout risk may soon be done individually using AI and advancements in big data analytics, instead of relying on demographic generalizations.

Blockchain

Originally developed for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, blockchain is a vast and secure online database that lets you store information and prevents others from altering or copying it.

Hashing, the cornerstone of blockchain technology, makes it near impossible for the chain to accept or record fraudulent data. It’s used to encrypt each block of data using a security key based on the preceding blocks, making each block of data irrevocably linked to its predecessors.

Additionally, the absence of a centralized, master copy version of documents helps make it nearly impossible for hackers to corrupt, steal, or tamper with the data. Personal information, medical files, policies, and other sensitive data used in the insurance business can remain secure through blockchain technology.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting non-traditional devices, such as cars, kitchen appliances, and watches, to the internet. Its contribution to the digital transformation of the insurance industry lies mainly in avoiding adverse events and supporting and verifying insurance claims.

Examples of IoT application in insurance include vehicle tracking and detection of auto maintenance problems. These tools are a boon for auto insurers and life or health insurers with older clients who are more likely to get into car accidents.

Biometrics essentially does the same thing for humans. Wearable health devices can warn insurers (and physicians) of increasing risk factors before a medical issue lands your client in the hospital. You can also use its wearable devices for proof of healthy living and offer discounted rates to people who regularly exercise.

Automation

Automation tools significantly boost the efficiency of current processes, as well as minimize human intervention and execution errors. AI technology, such as machine learning, plays a large role in automating insurance processes. Moreover, automation reduces operational costs and enhances the customer experience.

Tasks and processes that you can “outsource” to machines include document management, insurance underwriting, and claims processing and investigation.

The Claims Customer Journey

Using digital applications and platforms to facilitate a faster, simpler, and more satisfying experience. It makes the entire insurance process, especially the claims journey, more customer-centric.

Moreover, a digital redesign of the claims process boots three key performance indicators​​​​:

  • Customer Experience
  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness

The insurance-claims journey — starting from claims prevention to settlement — can now be done through mobile applications and online portals. Push notifications and smart device reminders can help clients implement precautionary measures to avoid situations requiring them to file for insurance claims. AI and digital technology make first notifications of loss a breeze. Clients may send the notice via a simple notification on using the insurer’s mobile app, website chatbots, a text, or a call.

Using digital platforms and the Internet to upload damage or incident photos helps verify the claims. Automated claims management makes fraud analyses much faster and moves the process along to digital loss assessment and settlement.

A successful digital redesign of your claims journey relies on considering the customer’s perspective throughout the process.

Digitalization of the insurance industry will streamline the whole process, provide better data security, and consumer convenience. Take note, however, that the real change will only happen when all insurance professionals embrace digital technology and drive it forward.

Key Takeaways In This Article

  • Embrace technology don't get left behind, make your life easier and more revenue.
  • Dive into tech that makes things easier on your client, scheduling software, CRM, and e-applications.

Over to You

We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on:

  1. What technology are you currently using to make things easier on your client?
  2. What technology do you use to increase your revenue and automate your processes?
  3. Has using technology enabled you to see more clients, what was the impact to your business?

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. We will carefully read each one of them. Happy Selling!

About the Author Matthew King

Matthew King is a co-owner of TR King Insurance Marketing and partner at Independent Life Insurance Agent Association. When he's not creating processes, content, and developing SEO strategies, he likes to immerse in gaming with his wife and friends.

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