There’s a lot of talk about how artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to the displacement of vast numbers of agents and brokers in the insurance industry. The truth is, while AI will automate certain processes, it will ultimately enhance — rather than replace — humans in the marketing and distribution of insurance.
“Human advisers are going to continue playing an absolutely critical role,” said Farron Blanc, VP, Innovation Studio for RGAx, at Denim Summit 2017. “When you go fully digital, the conversion rates are probably about 1% from seeing an ad all the way through paying the first premium. As soon as we put in a call center, we’re seeing — depending on the segment — a 30% conversion rate.”
There’s no question both humans and technology will play a critical role in the future of insurance. But what are the benefits only a human can bring, and what are things humans can’t do without technology? Let’s take a look.
The Human Value
Below are a few things humans bring to the table that technology can’t do alone:
- Trust. As Chip Bacciocco, CEO of TrustedChoice.com, pointed out during Denim Summit 2017, insurance is, at the end of the day, a social contract and requires trust. “The real point of buying insurance is that you can go to sleep at night feeling like you did the right thing, you’re taking care of your family,” he said. “If you aren’t 100% certain you clicked the right button on that screen, and that real people are really going to pay your claim someday, you never really get to sleep.”
- Accountability. Along with trust, any type of business or social contract needs someone to hold accountable. “You need to know who to talk to when something goes wrong. You need to know who your advocate is,” Bacciocco said.
- Expertise. Let’s be honest: Insurance is confusing. Often, customers and potential customers need to talk to another human being who can empathize with their concerns and truly get at the heart of their questions. Agents and advisers bring years of expertise to the table that can help customers make the right decisions and give them peace of mind.
See also: Cyber: How to Fix the Human Factor
The Technology Value
Here are the types of benefits made possible only when technology is added to the equation:
- New markets. Technology makes it possible to reach new market segments. For example, RGAx looked at the needs of Hispanic remitters and found that a $7 per month insurance policy would solve a pain point for them: protecting their loved ones with remittances for two years if something were to happen to them. “How do you get humans to sell $7 insurance to people who really need it?” Blanc asked. “Technology is this great democratic leveler that allows us to reach new forces.That’s why it’s disruptive. It allows us to reimagine the value chain and serve people in whatever way they want.”
- Personalization. There is an unbelievable amount of data available on consumers, especially when it comes to their digital behaviors. Recently, Denim announced we have collected more than 1 billion data points on consumer engagement with mobile and social media ads powered for insurance and financial services companies. Technology allows us to activate data to deliver highly relevant offers and personalized experiences to consumers.
- Multiple channels. Not all consumers want to engage with their insurance and financial services providers the same way. Some would prefer to do everything face-to-face or over the phone, while others would prefer to do everything online. Still others will start the process online but then need to talk to a person to complete the request. Technology makes it possible for consumers to engage with providers in the channel they prefer, any time of the day or night.
See also: How Technology Breaks Down Silos
Key to the future will be combining the best elements of human interaction with the best elements of technology to provide a superior experience to every consumer, every time.