Technology is slowly but surely changing the way that insurance producers interact with customers, carriers, associations, leads, and insurance products. While many of the changes are positive, some can be frustrating, the most flagrant example being the ACA exchange enrollments, whose internet interface is rife with confusing malfunctions and contradictions. Following, here are seven ways in which technology is changing insurance, and what factors producers should consider when examining their roles in the industry.
Consumer demand can now be more accurately assessed, and responded to, through technology tools. Customer expectations are also forming around their experiences of using technology in other sectors to make purchasing transactions more efficient. Barbara Crowley, chairman of NAILBA, told us: “One of the most powerful influences to our industry is consumer demand; as consumers begin to exist in a world dominated by rapid delivery cycles (think Amazon prime, electronic bank statements, mobile deposits, virtual grocery shopping and delivery, etc.), our producers and our industry must find a way to meet their delivery expectations. We must welcome and embrace online applications, streamlined underwriting, and ePolicy delivery. The future of these processes rely on producers being responsive and participating, thereby meeting consumer demands.”
Risk and Compliance:
Risk and compliance is turning into a whole new ball game, now that technology is enabling faster ways to identify risk, and market risk management. Benefits Pro noted that key drivers for innovation, in terms of risk and compliance, include: “new market opportunities and rapid execution of the right propositions to exploit them, such as advanced data security, master data management, hedging technology, cloud for business continuity, monitoring social media for reputational risk and big data.”
Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to know that you’re not alone out there! Take the newly-formedInsurance Technology Organization, for example – a community for insurance business and IT professionals. Joining an association, participating in a forum, getting a question answered, or finding like-minded professionals has never been easier.
Last year, Tech Cocktail published a list of the 5 coolest insurance apps, which included the GEICO app and the MetLife Infinity App. In addition, apps like Evernote make taking notes and organizing them easier than ever. And the CRM sector deserves a whole article unto itself, but Salesforce, Radius and Ezlynx are among those CRM’s that are widely-viewed as revolutionizing the insurance industry, helping to streamline operations and help producers reach a wider audience on a consistent basis.
Producers that familiarize themselves with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are more likely to be running a comprehensive marketing strategy. The really advanced ones have even automated their social media marketing strategy using tools like HootSuite. Insurance marketing still exists along the basic channels of press releases, newspaper advertisements, and mailers. But now, advanced insurance marketers are sure to create a whole content strategy. They make sure to blog, author bylined articles, and create landing pages, with SEO in mind. Technology has revolutionized insurance marketing, and those who keep up with current trends are rapidly differentiating themselves from their paper-only peers.
Technology is changing the way that actual sales and business transactions occur. According to Chuck Hirsch, president at Hirsch Communications Consulting: “”For many in the insurance business, there seems to be an inherent conflict — or disconnect — between technology and the more “people-oriented” aspects of insurance, like sales. For example, many of the best producers in the business are so good precisely because they understand people. Top producers can communicate exceptionally well with people; they can motivate people; and they passionately believe in the power of life insurance to protect what is important to people — namely their families and their businesses. It is often these same producers who have a hard time grasping how technology might make a difference in their business lives, because they too often view technology as something that gets in the way of their relationships with people. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Technology, if used in the proper way, can become another tool that enables good producers to get even closer to the people they serve, and many consumers — not all, but many — seem to be demanding it. The smart producers will continue to find ways to enhance their relationships with their clients and prospects, and the smartest of the smart will find the technological tools that can help them accomplish that.”
Managing an effective lead strategy is no longer just about mailers and cold-calls. Though some may argue about their effectiveness, online leads are now sold by a plethora of companies, who are reviewed online by other producers. Producers can also find leads through various online and digital marketing channels. A successful lead strategy now generally includes a combination of tactics, many of which involve the internet in some capacity.