In the insurance sector, new products are emerging all the time. Designed to meet the needs of new use cases such as microinsurance and insurance for activities that are part of the collaborative economy (or IoT), these highly innovative products are spawning new insurtech companies that offer insurance primarily via online channels. Digital consumers are already placing their trust in these companies in the same way that they are doing so when managing their personal finances using fintech apps or making online payments without the intervention of a bank.
In this new competitive context, insurance intermediaries dispose of an asset that can maintain their status in the sector, that is, their close relationship with customers. How can this asset be exploited? Technology, while bringing about changes to the sector, remains a major challenge for mediators; yet, technology is the only means by which mediators can upgrade to digital while increasing their competitive advantage in this new world into which the insurer is emerging.
What technological tools should insurance brokers use to enhance their competitive edge in the digital age?
This post is also available in Spanish.
Using technology in the mediation world
According to a research conducted in 2015 by the insurance institution CECAS exploring how new technologies are being used by Spanish brokers, tied agents and exclusive agents, it was revealed that 41% makes very basic use of new technologies, 44% use them but not intensively, and only 15% have the technological tools they need and use them on a daily basis.
From these results it is clear that most insurance intermediaries have not yet reached digital maturity. There is still some way to go to meet the needs of today’s digital consumer and reach the digital standard of emerging competitors, both in terms of integrating new technologies to improve internal processes and in terms of using selected digital tools to improve customer experience.
A mediator's main asset: direct dealings with customers
Amidst all this digital noise, mediators must not lose sight of the one factor that has always characterized and differentiated them from other players in the sector: direct contact with customers. This is not only a value that customers themselves appreciate but a trait highly regarded by insurers, since mediators are a powerful distribution channel facilitating direct relationships with insured parties.
While it is true that digital tools are increasingly used to advertise insurance offers and keep in touch with mediators (according to the aforementioned study, 47% of respondents have used WhatsApp to contact clients) this should not deter from the fact that direct, friendly and personalized service is highly appreciated by individuals and companies.
It must not be forgotten that buying an insurance is rarely done so impulsively, requiring the client to invest time to carry out comparative research before reaching a decision. The mediator is particularly relevant as a consultant in the decision-making process, as its role is advising and supporting customers to decide which insurance package is right for them.
Efficient time management and digital intimacy
To adapt this personalized treatment to the digital age while continuing to value the advice given by mediators, it is essential to exploit every software tool available to build relationships with clients through digital channels ensuring they are endowed with the same degree of trust as in the offline world. In other words, reinforcing closeness with customers through new technologies.
Using digital tools has clear advantages for mediators, whether it is software designed to simplify and automate administrative tasks, freeing up time that can be devoted to better serving policyholders in a more customized way, as if it comes in the form of tech solutions that help attract, serve and satisfy digital customers better, and subsequently offer a service that lives up to the highest expectations.
Across the board, digital tools allow mediators to assist and advise their customers to a much greater degree, therefore facilitating a relationship of trust. In addition, the significant reduction of hours devoted to administrative management means that the classic dilemma between dedicating time to nurture the loyalty of existing customers versus investing hours in launching campaigns to attract new customers simply disappears, since greater work efficiency means having time to dedicate to everyone.
Digital tools that enhance a mediator's competitive advantage
Below we highlight three digital tools that can help maximize brokers’ time management, help them with their online communications (without sacrificing personalized service) and ensure customer satisfaction:
MailChimp is an email-marketing platform that lets you easily schedule email campaigns. Among the features it offers, there are multiple customer lists (very useful if you want to segment emails by insurance type or create a list of specific promotions for potential customers) as well as an option to create reports when email campaigns are sent, which gather statistics on the following: aperture ratio, click rate, the number of people who unsubscribe from your mailing list, etc.
This is the tool par excellence for managing all your social networks from a single screen. If you already have created accounts on major social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ you can easily add them to Hootsuite and create your messages directly from there, as well as monitor customers and competitors, retweet or respond to followers, like posts, etc. You can also schedule tweets or posts on any platform, which allows you to maintain a constant rhythm in the number of communications you distribute without the need to be permanently online.
Among the solutions that contribute most to improving customer experience on the one hand, and to simplifying administrative management on the other, the electronic signature always tops the boards. And at Signaturit we have designed a tool that stands out for its security, legality and ease of use for both sender and signer.
Signaturit offers mediators a tool that provides customers the ultimate in convenience when taking out a policy: documents can be signed at any time in a completely digital environment - whether on a tablet on the mediator’s premises, or from a smartphone while lounging on the couch at home. Given that digital consumers are increasingly accustomed to making online transactions, electronic signatures are key to maintaining (and surpassing) customer expectations, particularly in the insurance sector.
If you wish to try Signaturit, you can do so simply by clicking here and access all features for a free 14-day trial.
This post is also available in Spanish.
- Signaturit's participation at DIA Barcelona 2016
- Interview with Jordi Rivera, CEO of DAS Spain.
- The digitization of an insurance policy buying process.