June 11, 2019
How High Touch Outweighs High Tech
by Mary Parsons
Clients may have increased access but not always the ability to translate price and item information into useful knowledge.
The information revolution has done more than just provide consumers with access to information; it has created a paradigm shift in the way most professionals conduct business with their clients. Insurance agents and brokers today are not only expected to be a trusted adviser of holistic risk management solutions to meet their clients’ complex needs but also a navigator into their financially stable future.
To better understand how consumers are engaged in today’s digital economy, Chubb recently surveyed some 1,200 individuals on how they purchase insurance and the value they see in working with independent agents and brokers. The Chubb survey, “Winning the New Client Journey,” finds that 53% of consumers have shopped online for insurance in the past 12 months and 61% are likely to do so in the future. In addition, successful individuals and families are the most likely to browse home insurance offerings online, with 63% of such individuals and 73% of such families reporting that they have or plan to do so – the most of any income groups.
Online shopping is a very attractive option for consumers. It’s convenient. It’s easy. It’s anonymous. It also presents people with an array of generalized solutions offered at seemingly inexpensive prices. The reality, however, is that these offers and their upfront savings may not address the very real needs of the buyer. The information revolution may have armed clients with increased access but not always with the ability to translate price and item information into useful knowledge.
The survey also showed that, despite the fact consumers are conducting online research for homeowners insurance, 80% of respondents actually want their agents and brokers to prioritize getting the right insurance policies for protection over getting the lowest price. While the initial question posed by clients might be on price, they are presenting agents/brokers with an opportunity to better help them understand and differentiate the underlying value of products and how these relate to their specific needs.
High Touch Improves High Tech and Client Retention
Chubb’s survey found that 35% of consumers cited saving time as the top reason for purchasing insurance online. High tech may appear to be a time saver, but it will never replace high touch and the long-term relationship the agents and brokers share with their clients. The basis of a healthy agent-broker/client relationship lies in the following three attributes:
- The ability to provide clients with guidance rooted in an understanding of their life situation;
- The ability to differentiate between the fine print of product offerings; and,
- The ability to think beyond the obvious of how today’s seemingly innocent purchase will affect tomorrow’s complex needs.
Financially successful clients may easily overlook significant property and casualty (P&C) risks during that initial, and seemingly innocuous, online search. An agent or broker’s ability to successfully guide a client from online information gatherer to informed decision maker is a key factor in any business development and retention plan.
See also: Insurtech Ingredients? We Just Want Cake
Demonstrating Your Value and Providing Customized Solutions
Chubb’s survey also revealed that 54% of successful clients said that agents and brokers actually lose credibility when they lead the conversation with the lowest-cost option. Although clients may initiate a conversation about their price and product search information found online, they reach out to agents and brokers with an opportunity to be a trusted adviser. It’s an invitation to be their counselors and crafters of customized solutions that will help their clients address some of life’s most challenging needs and circumstances.
In addition, the underlying value in the agent/broker-client / relationship begins weeks and months before the client calls about the latest insurance information found during an online search. To help retain clients, here are a few basic questions every agent and broker should ask:
- Did I respond in a timely manner during a claim experience or request for a quote on a new policy?
- When my client called about the addition to the house or installation of a pool, did I extend the conversation so the client better understood all the property and liability insurance implications of those additions?
When agents and brokers demonstrate that they anticipate and understand their clients’ broader needs, they will have an opportunity to present bigger solutions. Agents and brokers should work with their clients to build a complete profile of their clients’ risk exposures and stress that one-size-fits-all insurance policies are insufficient for seemingly innocent household decisions, such as the installation of a pool. Clients will assign increased value to the agent-broker relationship, and price will be less of a factor, when you present well-thought-out and customized solutions.
Enhancing the Value of Agents and Brokers to Clients
Life-changing circumstances and events can be challenging not only for clients, but also for agents and brokers. To help agents and brokers during their clients’ changing purchasing journeys, Chubb has developed a new resource center that includes quick informational videos, resources, tactics that both agents and brokers can download and put to immediate use. Agents and brokers can access that resource at: www.chubb.com/winthejourney.
The information revolution may have equipped clients with increased access to information, but agents and brokers have the insights and knowledge to enhance the value of that information and protect the long-term interest and assets of their clients.