A Commentary on Agents & Brokers | December

"The majority of companies focus on tech-enabled distribution in an attempt to minimize the dependence on agent channels, including embedded product warranty platform Extend, price comparison site the Zebra and commission-less life insurer Ethos Life."

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sixthings

When Agents Become Cyborgs


The Willis Towers Watson report on insurtechs for the second quarter found that fully 55% of all deal activity related to distribution. 

Many of those deals related to attempts to circumvent the traditional network. The report says, "The majority of companies focus on tech-enabled distribution in an attempt to minimize the dependence on agent channels, including embedded product warranty platform Extend, price comparison site the Zebra and commission-less life insurer Ethos Life."

But there was also significant investment in making the traditional agent channel more efficient and effective. The report cites wefox, which it says "has taken a different approach. wefox, the Germany-based digital insurer, relies heavily on local agents for policy distribution but has built efficiency in other ways by automating nearly 80% of administrative processes

Both observations mark important trends. Companies, whether incumbents or insurtechs, will continue to look for ways to move simple transactions online and to digitize pieces of more complex ones -- starting on the front end by presenting information that prospective customers are looking for online and continuing all the way through the back end, with the processing of what until now has been paperwork. Everyone -- whether incumbents, insurtechs, tech suppliers or, of course, the agents themselves -- will also invest heavily in making agents more efficient. Those investments will aim both to cut costs and to speed processes, improving the experience for customers


The result will be that the environment for agents will continue to change and that agents themselves will become a sort of cyborg -- part person and part machine. The personal touch will still be highly valued -- many customers still want to hear a human voice even in straightforward transactions that don't require human intervention. But agents will also be able to draw on all the computing power that the industry is increasingly making available. 


P.S. Here are the six articles I’d like to highlight for agents and brokers:

Clearing 4 Hurdles to Better Agency Tech

While technology can provide huge benefits, agencies need to invest their time in understanding tools to get the most out of them.

3 Ways for Agencies to Improve Cybersecurity

By preparing agents to be the first line of defense against cybercrime, insurance agencies can change employees from risks to guardians.

Creating an Empathetic Customer Experience

Your brand’s empathy matters more than ever to customers who’ve undergone what can only be called an emotional roller coaster.

Digital Is the Assistant We Always Wanted

So why do many companies and advisers in our industry resist digital advances like customer self-service and apps?

Managing Your Personal Brand

Whether you like it or not, you have a personal brand. A powerful one differentiation you and creates an emotional connection with your audience.

Digital Is the Assistant We Always Wanted

So why do many companies and advisers in our industry resist digital advances like customer self-service and apps?


Paul Carroll

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Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is the editor-in-chief of Insurance Thought Leadership. He is also co-author ofA Brief History of a Perfect Future: Inventing the Future We Can Proudly Leave Our Kids by 2050 and Billion Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn From the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years and the author of a best-seller on IBM, published in 1993. Carroll spent 17 years at the Wall Street Journal as an editor and reporter; he was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. He later was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.

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