Insurance technology is a hyped topic that dominates every industry journal and event. Experts say it’s the future of insurance.
If you’re a traditional retail agency, where does that leave you?
It’s all a matter of perspective. The term “InsurTech” simply describes the process of leveraging technology to conduct business in new, more efficient ways.
The good news is that InsurTech is an equal-opportunity pursuit, and brick and mortar insurance agencies are not excluded.
If you run a traditional retail agency, the future still belongs to you, but only if you believe in it and prepare for it.
Here are 14 simple ways to beat InsurTech competitors at their own game:
1. Morning Kickoff
You may have Alexa at home, but are you deploying her power at work? Consider programming Alexa to report on sales volume and upcoming appointments and events at the morning kickoff each day.
You don’t need a traditional phone at every desk anymore. Team members can work from their smartphones while logged into a central communications app. When they dial out, it shows the company name. When calls come in, the call is routed to the most appropriate and available team member.
Nobody likes to leave a voicemail. Through InsurTech, we have eliminated the need to do so. Phones can be staffed during high-volume business hours. After hours, callers can be directed to a website for service. Last year, my company sold 367 policies through our website after 10 p.m.!
4. Online Quotes and Renewals
Proprietary, AI-driven systems can shop insurance from up to 42 carriers and present the client with customized opportunities. Staff still manages the quote, bind and issue process online from start to finish. In the months leading up to renewal, the agency system can email or text customers asking if they’d like their coverage shopped. If so, repeat the process. This is how my company “sticks” to our customers. We shop for them before they can shop us. They know we’re not complacent.
5. Text Messaging
Because our team members work from smartphones, they can send and receive work-related texts using a centralized communication app. It turns out that most customers love getting insurance information via text message.
Last year, my business sold 17,000 insurance policies. Of those policies, 99.2% were bound with an electronic signature, and in 80% of those, the signature was executed via text.
7. Policy Delivery
Last year, we only had to mail three of the 17,000 policies sold. The others were sent via the customer’s preferred method – email or text.
With the help of IVANS Exchange, Teamp and the like, we have completely eradicated paper (except for the occasional stick note). All of our carrier data is stored in the cloud and instantly accessible to anyone, anytime.
Agents can use an online scheduling app to allow clients to schedule phone appointments. This greatly reduces the volume of random calls coming into the office.
My company no longer needs a reception team because very few customers come to our brick-and-mortar office. People don’t randomly call in much because they use our online tool to schedule time with an agent. We don’t need a receptionist to receive and route incoming calls because our communications app automatically routes calls, according to our rules, to our team members’ smartphones. We speak to Alexa when we need to schedule a conference room.
Chatbots respond to customers’ needs for entry-level service tasks. In essence, the chatbot conducts a quick triage and triggers the next step of service, which usually involves a human.
Every team member’s smartphone has a mobile dashboard where information can be accessed in a few clicks. This includes vital information such as sales, web visitors and conversations for the company, as well as the policy-level information required to serve customers.
Being paperless and mobile enables an agency to leverage talent from anywhere in the world. Mine is headquartered in Tucson, Ariz., but we have team members all over the country and around the world. Even our local team members work remotely at least one day a week, which is definitely an advantage for recruiting and retention.
We’ve found a way to leverage technology for cleaning too. We program our iRobots to vacuum and mop the floors ever night while we’re out. Unfortunately, they don’t clean toilets… Yet!
Insurance agencies that implement even half of these technologies may be more “tech” than the InsurTechs they’re competing against.
Other Tough Battles
Traditional agencies need to win over two audiences:
Customers and team members. Customers are easy. They already have smartphones and like convenience. If you guide them through the process of going mobile with insurance, they’re generally willing to follow you. Many like to support their local agent. If you offer them a tech-friendly way to stay with you, they’ll choose you over an InsurTech option.
In contrast, some team members won’t be so easy. They may prefer to do things the same old way and stay within their comfort zones. This is where agency owners and managers really have to get strategic and persistent about change. The agency will need to transition to a tech culture with buy-in and participation from everyone.
One Last Thought
To compete in with InsurTechs, insurance agencies don’t necessarily have to offer something new. They can succeed by offering something old in a new way.
Article By: Jeff Arnold
Source: Property Casualty 360