Artificial intelligence has become a hot topic in the insurance industry as the push to modernize the agency with digital solutions reaches a fevered pitch. Especially now, as our society and business operations adapt to a global pandemic, agencies are scrambling to leverage technology and analytics to make smarter decisions for their clients and their own business.
For many independent agencies, however, AI still feels like a theoretical concept — a capability reserved for and only accessible to big companies with deep pockets. But the reality is, AI has tangible benefits for even the smallest independent agencies when it comes to improving client services and strategic business growth. And, it’s more accessible than many might think.
Leveraging AI can enable better business strategy for agencies of all sizes, today and in a post-pandemic environment. With AI, agencies can:
- Better advise clients. Now more than ever, insureds are looking to their insurance agents for risk management, stability and reassurance. With AI, agents can draw on industry insights to better understand the risks their clients face, provide more relevant, data-driven advice and do so with confidence. With the right tools, agents can look at data about similar individuals, businesses or industries and spot trends early to offer coverage suggestions. For example, the demand for business interruption insurance has risen sharply since the pandemic began. By leveraging AI, agents can see these potential risks coming down the pike and can make sure their clients are protected.
- Accurately predict risk. For years, actuarial services have attempted to quantify the economic value of risk to help carriers and agencies arrive at appropriate levels of coverage and premium costs. But today, AI provides a much more insightful and accurate risk assessment. By delving into industry-wide historical data, AI tools can arrive at a more accurate risk value based on real, documented data rather than conjecture. This allows the industry to set premium rates accordingly so that insureds get the coverage they need at a price that’s competitive and makes sense.
- Find business opportunities. Without AI, agencies must rely on hunch, experience and clients to find and address new opportunities. AI technologies let agencies quantitatively analyze client needs, market dynamics and carrier appetite. Based on this insight, agencies can make smarter, faster and more confident business decisions to spur growth. For example, with industry intelligence, agencies can identify valuable opportunities to upsell coverage, identify new clients and expand into new markets based on carrier appetite for certain types of policies in specific geographies.
- Improve agency efficiency. Digitizing processes to eliminate rote, manual tasks not only improves agency productivity and performance, but also client relations. When agents can spend less time pushing paper and more time talking with clients to better understand their needs and provide expert advice, everyone wins. AI can help drive this efficiency with predictive and automated workflows that can make many common insurance processes move faster.
- Enhance client relations. While many agencies fear that AI and other technologies might take away from the personal relationships they’ve built with clients, AI can actually do the opposite. By automating processes and surfacing data-driven insights, AI can give agents more time to spend in meaningful conversations with their clients, providing informed counsel on how best to protect their assets. AI can also improve one of the most frustrating processes for clients — claims processing — to deliver a better experience. For example, we can now automate the submission process by using AI to analyze damage photos and natural language processing of the description of the claim submitted to rapidly assess the probability of fraud. Below a certain threshold, the claim may be automatically and instantaneously paid. This accelerates the process, delivering a more positive experience for the individual or business submitting the claim.
See also: How AI Can Stop Workers’ Comp Fraud
As digital modernization becomes imperative for agencies, AI is proving to be a crucial ingredient for delivering the level of service that clients expect and for driving agency growth. By scaling AI implementation, agencies can not only keep pace with their peers but also offer innovative solutions that give them a competitive advantage, positioning agents as confident and dependable risk advisers in an increasingly uncertain environment.