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As the InsurTech sector continues to flourish, insurance agents and carriers face many challenges with insurtech. But with those challenges also come opportunities with insurtech by partnering with and implementing new technology to improve. And new InsurTech opportunities continue to pop up, as new startups form and grow into viable options for insurers to leverage.
In fact, global InsurTech funding through the first three quarters of 2021 was 48% higher than all of 2020, according to data from CB Insights.
As this industry grows, insurance agents and carriers should look for tools that they can use to provide a better experience for customers and streamline operational areas. That said, some InsurTech challenges can exist in the sense that there can be some growing pains when transitioning to new ways of working. But. in many cases, leveraging new technology is necessary for agents and carriers to keep up with new customer demands, and it can improve internal operations.
In this article, we’ll explore in more depth some of the top opportunities and challenges with InsurTech so that you can feel more confident about implementing new platforms.
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Becoming a Digital Insurance Agency
One of the top InsurTech opportunities involves insurance agencies using these new tools to become digital-first agencies. In other words, InsurTech can help insurance agencies transition from the old way of working that involved processes like providing prospects with quotes over the phone or via email. Instead, insurance agencies can operate more like e-commerce businesses with InsurTech like Wheelhouse, where potential customers can easily go to an insurer’s website to obtain a bindable quote on their own, much as they might do so when booking a plane ticket online or doing many other sorts of online price comparisons and purchasing.
While this can make life much easier for both customers and insurance agents, there can be InsurTech challenges when it comes to making the initial shift. Not everyone is comfortable working digitally, at least right away, so insurance agents should take the time to make sure they fully know how to use any InsurTech tools they implement and provide resources to help clients use them too.
In addition to making online quoting easier, InsurTech can also help insurance agencies become more digital in areas like:
InsurTech tools can make digital marketing easier, such as how Wheelhouse can also be used to create targeted landing pages. That way, as you create digital marketing campaigns on social media, for example, you can make corresponding landing pages that you send your social media audience to. That can help tie your messaging together and provide a smooth digital experience as prospects go from learning about your offerings to obtaining quotes.
InsurTech also has the potential to improve customer service by making it easier for customers to interact with agencies online and use self-service portals.
“Digitalization is, and will continue be, at the forefront of the insurance industry transformation and modernization…It is not just about purchasing insurance online, but the end-to-end digital experience from the purchase of insurance, the premium payments and claims filing, to value-added services that improve customer engagement,” notes a Society of Actuaries report prepared by Willis Towers Watson.
As explored more in the following section, InsurTech also has the potential to digitally transform an insurer’s operations, such as when it comes to handling underwriting and claims processing. New InsurTech tools can also help when it comes to operational areas like accounting and compliance. Being able to manage operational activities digitally and in an automated fashion can help insurance agents get work done from anywhere and at a faster rate.
Making Quick Underwriting and Claims Decisions
As mentioned, another important opportunity with InsurTech is to improve underwriting and claims decisions. Not only can you make these areas more digital, such as by letting customers submit claims online, but you can vastly speed up the time it takes related to making these decisions. While this may be more of an area that affects insurance carriers, such as those who use InsurTech tools with artificial intelligence (AI) to quickly make underwriting decisions, that still can have a profound effect on independent insurance agents.
For example, if you align yourself with carriers who use underwriting tools to automate and speed up underwriting and claims decisions, that can provide a better experience overall for your customers. The challenge, however, can be finding the right partnerships and applications for InsurTech.
Ideally, insurance agents will work with carriers that leverage InsurTech in a way that helps customers ultimately enjoy a smooth experience, as opposed to a slow, frustrating one where they don’t know who to turn to and how to complete processes, such as for claims management. The good news is that technology like AI is changing this experience.
“From the moment a customer opens an insurance claim, AI technology can streamline the administrative process through process automation…AI can provide insightful recommendations based on claims management data analysis, helping knowledge workers determine eligible claims and what percentage of claims should be consistently paid out,” notes IBM.
In addition to providing insurance agents and carriers with new tools that deliver a better customer-facing experience, insurers also have the opportunity to leverage InsurTech to integrate more of their internal systems together. Initially, some may find it challenging to make the transition from manual processes and legacy tools to new InsurTech platforms. But once you start using these tools, you’ll often find opportunities to link systems together, such as via APIs, which can help you get even more out of InsurTech.
For example, adding technology like chatbots can help you deliver a better customer experience by making it easy to answer basic customer questions. And instead of just having a chatbot platform work in isolation on your website, for example, you can also incorporate chatbot tools with lead management tools. That way, you can easily capture lead data behind the scenes.
Tools like Leadsurance, for example, can be used to engage website visitors with a chatbot, and that activity can be integrated with a customer relationship management (CRM) platform so that you can easily track this activity and know what to follow up on with prospects.
InsurTech can also make integrations between agents and carriers easier. Wheelhouse, for example, integrates with carriers’ underwriting platforms, which makes it quick and easy for agents to quote and bind policies.
Take Advantage of InsurTech
The insurance industry is quickly changing, and the good news for agents and carriers is that there are many InsurTech opportunities to take advantage of amidst this shift. From tools that provide a better digital experience for customers, to ones that help speed up operational areas, to the ability to integrate systems together, InsurTech offers a lot of promise.
InsurTech challenges can exist as you get used to leveraging new tools and new ways of working, but over time, many insurance agents and carriers find that InsurTech helps their businesses. As InsurTech grows, you don’t want to be left behind. See how your firm can take advantage of InsurTech opportunities so that you can provide a modern, efficient experience for customers and improve your own operations.