On my travels to a growing number of brokers who are selling the AXA MLP with rradar, one thing has struck me – the rapid increase in their use of technology to help them keep a competitive edge in the market place. This includes Skype, online quotes, live chat, drones and online videos.
The use of Skype or video conferencing is helping one broker to reduce travel time and increase the number of appointments an account executive can handle in a day. This of course has its drawbacks and is currently only used for small clients whose insurance premiums make travel uneconomical but it does allow the executive to break down some barriers and hopefully secure the business in a less expensive way.
Many brokers now choose to trade online using software services such as SSP, Open GI or Acturis to help reduce the time they spend searching for quotes in the market. Some of these systems and insurers’ own systems such as AXA Connect allow policy documents to be created and emailed out. This saves both time and paper.
The use of live chat facilities by AXA Connect, letting brokers ask sometimes complex questions and getting real time answers from underwriters, is also helping to break down the barrier between insurers and brokers.
The use of drones to help map land or to survey hard-to-reach places is helping brokers give detailed risk reports to insurers and helping clients to carry out tasks such as checking building damage or cattle movements far more efficiently.
Insurance brokers are embracing technology platforms such as Facebook Live, Vimeo and YouTube to create simple videos which help clients understand what risks are present for them, learn about the different types of insurance and what each policy covers and why it may benefit them. This online video marketing used to be the sole preserve of multi-million-pound advertising agencies but with the rapid rise of camera phones, tablets and laptop cameras, it is possible to give a professional-looking and informational video on multiple subjects without costing more than a new starter home.
Above all, it is the adoption of new technology and changes in ways of working that I see as one of the strengths of the insurance sector. Looking back on the past five years of working with brokers, I have seen fundamental shifts in ways of working which have come about by using technology and I think that this trend will certainly continue.
Yes, technology has failed before, so it is always important to have correct disaster recovery plans in place because just as a pen can run out of ink and can be refilled, a tablet can be restarted, data restored and systems rebooted.
Looking forward, I think that insurance brokers of twenty years hence will take for granted things that we can only imagine – drones flying out to survey car crashes and feeding back live data to insurers, brokers opening virtual offices where clients can drop in and 3D video call an account executive or wearable technology to diagnose employee stress and medical issues to prevent accidents/long term sickness. It’s a very exciting time to be in the industry!