Keeping Up with the Digital Revolution
Today’s consumers expect quicker turnarounds, ease of access, and uncompromised service. A tall order! So how can benefit advisers and insurers get and keep a competitive edge in an increasingly technological marketplace? Here are a few tools that you can use to help you achieve the results you desire.
Tools brokers need now
Brokers in the field used to need a planner, a calculator, presentations, applications, and underwriting guidelines from each carrier they represented. Now, all a savvy broker is needs is a smartphone, laptop or tablet.
Thanks to cloud storage and sharing, electronic apps, e-signatures, field underwriting apps and improved customer relationship management systems, you can handle everything efficiently with one simple electronic tool. The newest tech doesn’t just help brokers in the field. It also helps them manage all the tasks they need to accomplish.
Besides getting new clients, which involves advertising, prospecting, follow-ups, drip campaigns, and networking, brokers must facilitate policy issue, keep up with industry and regulatory changes, adopt new processes and keep up with new products and product changes.
All the broker’s duties–sales, marketing, working with underwriters, processing client requests, and reviewing products–boil down to relationship management. And that means collaboration and communication. Tools that help brokers communicate and collaborate are thus invaluable.
Free cloud-storage tools such as Dropbox for document sharing and inexpensive email-marketing applications like Constant Contact and MailChimp make it easy to deploy campaigns and stay organized. Tools such as Hearsay Social and TweetDeck let brokers manage their presence across multiple social platforms.
Even process of sales is shifting from a face-to-face to online. In 2013, LIMRA reported that only 50 percent of clients wanted face-to-face meetings to purchase insurance. Brokerages need to find new ways of communicating with clients that give them all the features of an in-person meeting without sharing a room with them. For this, you can use tools like Skype.
If you’re proud that your agency recently upgraded to email and e-fax, you’ve got a lot more work ahead of you. Perhaps you may need to integrate human resources and technology tools like InforcePro, Maxwell House, Zenefits or Beneclick. Maybe you’ll want to make dictation easier with Dragon Dictate. There are many options to explore.
What insurers need to move ahead
And while communication and collaboration with brokers is important to insurers, technology platforms must encompass tools that also target the complexity of actuarial and underwriting and the logistics of policy and claims administration.
Carriers need tools that support every facet of insurance workflow, including broker functionality. Straight-through Processing (STP) that eliminates the need for re-keying data is where it all starts.
Carrier tools will be found in larger workbenches and can entail legacy system transformation. This can be daunting – from obtaining executive buy-in and exploring vendors to deciding on how these systems will be hosted. Yet once in place the potential benefits can be huge and swift.
Web-based automation tools not only streamline efficiency across insurance departments and organizations, but can improve distribution channels as well.
Advanced workflow tools such as email notification, statusing, and event management give real-time data and analytics to users on-demand. Broker portals should give brokers access to systems based on authorization level. Web services can facilitate the integration of in-house or other vendor systems, such as CRM to Sales to Underwriting to Documents to Enrolment to third party exchanges, creating an entirely integrated environment.
Broker tools that facilitate STP help brokers sell more policies and improve efficiency. More importantly, STP helps brokers give excellent customer service and retain clients.
Insurers should consider giving some brokers access to quotes and illustrations, open communication and high standards of technology and service.
Swiss Re has referred to the customer’s push for digital upgrades in insurance as a “quiet revolution.” But this quiet revolution is destined to turn into a deafening demand for change. Those who ignore it will be left behind.