Top 100 2019 - Provider perspective

digital transformation

Digital transformation: Applied’s Jeff Purdy outlines the five key values of digital brokers and the technology you need to transform

For years, we’ve been talking about the impending digital transformation of insurance. Well, now that it’s here, how is digital transformation impacting our industry?

Last year, the management consulting firm McKinsey completed a research paper titled Time for Insurance to Face Digital Reality. To be honest, the first page was a bit tough to read. It stated that the insurance sector offered the worst online customer experience of all industries surveyed, other than utilities. After that first page, the report shifted to a call to action for brokers and insurers alike to seize the opportunity of digital transformation. The time for denial of the digital trend in insurance is over. Businesses still denying the digital transformation of insurance do so at their peril. It is time to either accept and thrive – or deny and disappear.

As we consider the opportunities offered by the digital age of insurance, it helps to first define what it means to be a digital broker. At Applied, a digital broker’s business is defined by three core characteristics: 

  • digital automation within a business to streamline operations and drive efficiency;
  • digital connectivity to policyholders to drive an enhanced customer experience; and 
  • digital connectivity to insurers to drive efficiency and strengthen relationships.

Deploying enhanced technology to achieve success in each of these areas drives business value in five ways, outlined in the following boxes.

The ability for a business to seamlessly connect its employees with its insurers and customers is the future of our industry. It’s the path to value for a broker and its customers. Consider how to become a true digital broker to focus more time on advice, selling and being there for customers anytime, anywhere.

Jeff Purdy, senior vice president of International Operations, Applied Systems


Applied’s Annual Digital Broker survey cites an average of 156% higher revenue per employee than non-digital brokers. Digital brokers use a single management system to gain visibility across an entire book of business, delivering integrated capabilities to manage customer relationships, sales opportunities, financial accounting, reporting and policy administration in a single application. Integrated and open architecture provides essential capabilities for each stakeholder within a business to have the right information and products available to sell and serve customers. By utilising a single management system that was designed for the user experience and with integrated capabilities, digital brokers drive superior business growth.

Consider this tech to get started

  • Sales Automation: Integrated within the broker management system, sales automation delivers sales opportunity, pipeline, forecast and activity management, and automates the pipeline/prospecting processes. Brokers gain a single view of your prospects and customers, while eliminating the need to invest in separate systems to manage sales pipeline.
  • Data Analytics: Deep, graphical analysis of the rich data available in a broker’s management system propels business growth. Data analytics presents easy-to-understand visual dashboards that identify opportunities in insurer and client relationships, deliver employee productivity insights, and enable brokers to manage accounting and compliance practices.


In the case of the independent insurance broker, digital technology enables the business to increase efficiency through automation and connectivity to policyholders and insurers. In fact, according to a PwC survey report, 78% of respondents said access to the technology they like to use, such as mobile, makes them more effective at work.

Digital brokers deliver greater efficiency because technology automates the majority of the manual, time-consuming tasks required to run the business, such as establishing workflows, servicing customers, connecting to insurers, prospecting new business and analysing operations.

Consider this tech to get started

  • Mobile: Providing anytime, anywhere access to insurance information, mobile apps link staff directly to the management system so they can access accounts, contact details and insurance policy information, add prospects, create and manage activities, and begin new sales opportunities.
  • Automated Workflows: Digital brokers use automated workflows to automate, adapt and reassign pre-built workflows across all brokerage users and locations to ensure consistency and increase efficiency.
digital transformation


Customer Satisfaction

Consumers today are in the driving seat in terms of whom they do business with and how they expect to be served. Businesses must focus on those demands and provide an enhanced customer experience. According to a survey by Deloitte, organisations that prioritise customer experience generate 60% higher profits than their competitors. 

By offering multiple ways for consumers to interact with the business – whether it be in person, phone, online or mobile – digital brokers create happier customers, which ultimately drives business returns through enhanced retention and growth from new business.

Consider this tech to get started

  • Customer Self-Service Portals and Apps: Through a broker-branded portal and mobile app, customers gain the freedom to access insurance information, documents and online bill pay on demand. Customer self-service strengthens the broker-customer relationship and saves money by shifting transactions historically provided by broker staff to on-demand, online tools.
  • eSignature: Simplifying and expediting the signing of documents, eSignature provides customers with a fast and easy way to electronically sign contracts, applications and other documents anytime, anywhere from practically any device.


The role of the independent insurance broker is to provide advice to customers. Despite having access to insurance options via the internet, studies show that consumers still go to brokers for expert advice. In fact, an insurance shopping study by Association of British Insurers found that only 44% of all personal lines policies were bought direct. 

Using integrated tools within their management systems, digital brokers can automatically find the best insurers and products, as well as identify and highlight policy differences for new business and renewals, making them better risk advisors to both personal and commercial lines customers.

Consider this tech to get started

  • eTrading Automation: eTrading automates the distribution and fulfilment of products between your business and insurer partners. It enables your brokerage to access comparative prices and quickly submit new and renewal business, allowing your employees to provide access to a range of products whilst providing advice and personal service. Additionally, integrating eTrading workflows directly into a broker’s management system eliminates time spent and potential errors that come with rekeying information into outside tools and applications.


Customer trust is vital for all businesses, but absolutely essential in the world of insurance. A recent industry consulting firm survey of small business owners indicated that trustworthiness was the most important factor in the selection of their insurance broker. Technology such as the cloud provides enhanced security, operations recovery and anytime, anywhere access during any disruptive event. 

Consider this tech to get started

  • Cloud: Cloud technology provides a flexible operating environment with scalability for business growth, stronger business continuity protection, increased mobile access to business information, and compliance related to data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation. Hosting broker solutions in the cloud fosters client trust and peace of mind.

  • LinkedIn  
  • Save this article
  • Print this page  

Only users who have a paid subscription or are part of a corporate subscription are able to print or copy content.

To access these options, along with all other subscription benefits, please contact [email protected].

You are currently unable to copy this content. Please contact [email protected] to find out more.

You need to sign in to use this feature. If you don’t have an Insurance Age account, please register now.

Sign in
You are currently on corporate access.

To use this feature you will need an individual account. If you have one already please sign in.

Sign in.

Alternatively you can request an indvidual account here: