The past few years have been crucial for the insurance sector. Many dynamic changes that have set paradigms across the various aspects of this sector have been observed. Add to that the looming uncertainty and the health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit humanity globally, all have shaped the sector and accelerated the insurance industry to adapt rapidly to digital technologies. The Indian digital insurance platform market is expected to reach ~ USD 165 bn by 2024 at a CAGR of 13%. The pandemic especially shook the insurance brands across the country (and even globally), which triggered the need to reimagine the current distribution channels. With face-to-face interactions being off-the-table, insurance brands are switching to online tools to better equip their agents to help them with sales and after-sales services.
Today, virtual/digital interactions are the new normal. Although the world has already adapted to it, the pandemic somehow made the adoption speedier. Insurance brands have witnessed the efficacies & benefits of virtual communications. They are now in the middle of their digital transformation journey, replacing their traditional systems with modern digital capabilities. According to a published report in the Harvard Business Review – “A thoughtful digitization program can deliver up to 65 percent in cost reduction — a 90 percent reduction in turnaround time on key insurance processes and improves conversion rates by more than 20 percent”. Considered as a threat to intermediaries, the adoption of digitization is also about a fast-changing mindset.
As more consumers move towards using digital platforms and prefer self-service, a large number of the population will still depend on the agent or the advisor. Especially the complex instruments are somewhere the customers would need the guidance of a financial advisor. Some of the key aspects that is shaping, therefore, the futuristic digital landscape for intermediary experience are as follows:
- Data & analytics – an insight-driven approach; as opposed to human knowledge
- Virtual interactions of the customers with brokers, agents, intermediaries, and/or advisors; as opposed to face-to-face interactions
- Omnichannel experience; as opposed to single or multiple discreet channels
- Real-time processing and not offline data capturing
- 24×7 services instead of regular operational hours
- The automated process as against manual processes
- Paperless or digitized approach
- Consistency in experience
- Self-service or empowered service as opposed to a front-office dependency
Some common experiences that can be created are:
- Insights that are data-driven, factual and that result in personalized interactions with customers
- Products personalized for meetings that day or based on top products for agents
- Empowering with location intelligence for intermediaries – alert on the next meeting
- Tracking planned activities, sending reminders
- Gamification of sales targets
- Access to learning, archived library
- Virtual assistance through chatbots
…and so on
Digitization is crucial for middlemen to survive the current pandemic and to transform the evolving customers and insurance industry. With early adoption of the right technology, they could sustain in the longer run.
The above article is authored by Arun Fernandes, Founder-CEO, Hotstuff Medialabs.