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, Author: Craig Fuher

Trends in Insurance Technology and What It Means for Agents

Trends in insurance technology are changing. Right now the insurance landscape is in the midst of a substantial shift. New trends in insurance technology create new customer expectations. Insurance agents increasingly have to adapt how they operate their businesses and how they interact with clients.

Expand digital marketing presences to find new clients. Adopt a digital operating model in terms of handling policy applications and renewals. Offer more personalized service to clients. Insurance agents need to shift in many ways.

In this guide, we’ll explore trends in insurance technology in more detail with landscape shifts like more personalized customer service. We’ll take a look at what these types of changes mean for agents who want to grow their businesses long-term. Even when the insurance landscape shifts in new, unexpected directions.

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Digital Insurance

One of the biggest shifts in insurance has been the rise of digital insurance. That can cover everything from online policy quoting and bill payments, to digitally communicating with clients about their coverage. 

Being reliant on physical documents and in-person communication has been the standard for offline ways of running businesses. Now, insurance agents increasingly have to go digital. That doesn’t mean that 100% of their business needs to be online, but they likely need at least to make some shifts.

Adopting InsurTech

Part of what’s driving the shift to digital insurance has been the emergence of InsurTech. The bad news is some InsurTech platforms compete with traditional insurance agents. Fortunately that hasn’t been the only trend in insurance technology. The good news, many of these platforms complement what insurance agents and carriers do. Whether that’s by automating areas like underwriting and claims management, improving agents’ digital marketing, or enabling agents to provide more of a digital sales presence.

“A few years ago, insurance companies tended to look at InsurTech as a competitive, disruptive threat. Now, they tend to see a growth opportunity,” notes PwC.

Rather than shunning InsurTech, insurance agents should look at ways to adopt new InsurTech tools. There are so many categories of InsurTech. Though some are made for larger carriers, even small, independent agents can find solutions that help them. This gives you the ability to create more digital business. You can resonate with customers and make their internal operations more efficient. 

Online Interactions

Being a digital insurance agent means providing more online interactions for clients who prefer this approach. Online comparative raters like Wheelhouse can generate their own quotes. Using customer service chatbots that help answer simple client questions and direct them to more detailed resources. There are many ways that insurance agents can tap into trends in insurance technology. There are even InsurTech tools like InsuredMine which specifically help insurance agencies in areas like email marketing.

Therefore, by using these types of tools — as well as platforms like social media— insurance agents can provide clients and prospects with more online interactions. Some clients may prefer online. Others use it as a necessity. By embracing it you’ll expand your reach regardless of their motives.

The 2022 National Underwriter (NU)/PIA Independent Insurance Agent Survey finds that 29% think “establishment of trust” between agents and clients is “well served by digital interactions,” up from 21.2% the year prior.

“Survey results indicate increasing acceptance on the part of agents who have successfully incorporated digital into their interactions with customers is steadily increasing. These uses go beyond simple transaction processing such as premium payments and claims,” notes PIA. Other areas, like quoting and marketing, can also now align with digital interactions.

Understanding Customer Needs

Becoming more digital is important. But, insurance agents should be careful to not get too caught up in online interactions. The same goes for other trends in insurance technology. Some clients still prefer some offline interactions. It’s important to leave room for that. It’s not always easy, but insurance agents in this shifting landscape need to figure out what customers want. It often means more personalization/customization through multiple communication methods. 

Diving Deeper With Clients

Ask and you shall receive. One solution to figuring out how customers want to interact is to simply ask. Inquire about clients preferred communication methods when onboarding them as new customers. You can get a sense if you need to increase your digital presence further. Or perhaps you’ll realize you already seem to have the right mix of online and offline interactions. 

When trying to interact with new prospects, analyze what’s worked well for attracting certain types of customers before. Maybe small business clients in one industry tend to prefer social media.  You could then run social media ads targeting this group to pull in new customers. If clients in another industry tend to like to network in-person at business events, then maybe you’ll decide to host more events to pull in new leads. 

Adapt and Engage

It’s a shifting insurance landscape. Insurance agents need to pay close attention to what leads and customers want. Don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Agents also may need to simply spend more time with clients to differentiate their agencies from competitors. InsurTech can help free up more opportunities for this relationship building, rather than spending so much time on operational tasks. 

“Insurers are increasingly dependent on emerging technologies and data sources to drive efficiency, enhance cybersecurity, and expand capabilities across the organization. However, most should also focus on improving the customer experience by both streamlining processes with automation as well as providing customized service where needed and preferred,” notes Deloitte.

Using new tools that help with data analysis is a way to help increase customized service. Discover what types of offerings would help clients, rather than trying to sell everyone the same policies. Diving into tools like customer relationship management software that can pull in information from multiple areas, ranging from social media interactions to email. 

“We anticipate an increase in the number of firms embracing a multichannel approach to understand customers better across multiple touchpoints. Granular insights will enable insurers to personalize offerings and efficiently up-sell and cross-sell products,” says Capgemini.

Continuing to Evolve

As trends in insurance technology continue to change, customer expectations will too. Insurance agents need to adopt a flexible approach. What works for some clients might not work for others. What works for a client this year might not necessarily work the next.

Insurance agents should try to stay open and adapt on more of a continuous basis. Sometimes that can mean adding new InsurTech tools. Other times it can mean adapting communication methods. The future means new shifts might be coming around the corner. While those new changes can be hard to predict, having a flexible mindset can help. By forming strong relationships with clients, you can stay plugged into consumer expectation shifts that can then help you attract new clients when the landscape changes further.