Technology has been making waves across the insurance value chain, allowing agents and brokers to seamlessly access new products, control user experiences, and offer personalized services to their customers — and that’s just on the front end.
Behind the scenes, third-party providers, with a little help from the Internet of Things, have made the underwriting process increasingly data-driven. This has led to smarter pricing and targeting while also making the claims adjudication process far more efficient, according to Bindable CEO and co-founder Bill Suneson. It should come as no surprise that has experienced a rush of capital, with investments reaching more than $10 billion over the past five years.
The Next Frontier
"In Bindable's view, technology enables carriers to think more broadly about the definition of affinity, allowing new and emerging brands to develop a wider array of insurance products," said Suneson, a past PIMA president who has been a member since 2008.
With application programming interfaces, you can turn data into insights by connecting your software and systems to other sites and services. The result? Improved marketing functionality and enhanced user experiences.
This enables other companies in the insurance ecosystem to seamlessly partner with your company to engage customers with personalized offers. Simultaneously, the emergence of digital platforms can provide complementary customer acquisition channels to traditional direct mail efforts. It’s all about adding value and convenience while making the entire process more customer-centric.
This digital transformation of the insurance industry doesn’t necessarily mean letting go of that human touch altogether, Suneson cautioned. While 90% of plan to incorporate API strategies, the ultimate goal should be to find a balance between technology and the people within an organization.
"Too many companies have focused on disrupting and replacing rather than helping carriers and brokers work through digital transformation," Suneson said. "Nothing can replace the trust and value of personal relationships — personal relationships like the ones built within organizations such as PIMA."
As a result, the PIMA community will continue to help leaders create business growth and continually evolve as new players enter the market.
Finding Room for People
As you incorporate more technology into your company, you still need to find ways to foster human connections between employees and customers. The tactics will vary by product and customer base, but the following tips can get you started:
1. Don’t underestimate the value of intermediaries.
Agents and brokers have built solid relationships with business partners and customers, and those connections will not go away. Allow these intermediaries to provide context to some of the findings that these technologies uncover, Suneson said. The way a company manages and shares its information is a huge differentiator — not just to a customer base but to the organization itself.
2. Embrace the right kind of technology.
The one thing to remember about technology is that it encompasses a variety of options, which is why it’s so important to find the right solution. Invest in technology that complements what has worked in the past, Suneson said, but also consider solutions that allow your team to become more efficient, improve speed to market, and quickly respond to emerging business opportunities.
3. Strike a balance with talent.
Tech has its place. Chatbots, for instance, are able to answer basic policy questions, offer quotes, and capture leads. But as problems grow in complexity, human intervention often becomes a necessity. Insurance companies that use a combination of technology and human interaction report higher quality discussions with customers, which often results in better solutions and lower rates.
Technology is here to stay, and avoiding it will only set your company back. Figure out the technologies that best fit your organizational needs, and use those technologies to improve your products and services without sacrificing the human touch.
PIMA (Professional Insurance Marketing Association) is a member-driven trade association focused exclusively on the group-sponsored benefits market. For more information on becoming a member, click here.