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Blog: The digital path forward and planning for the new normal

Andy Fairchild 2018

Applied systems’ Andy Fairchild looks at how brokers can move forward in a world reshaped by Covid-19.

The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the workplace, industries, economies, and relationships around the world. Overnight, it created personal isolation, remote workforces and, for many brokers, revealed cracks in operational foundations that weren’t previously apparent. Many found themselves scrambling to get the tools in place to enable remote working and stay in communication with their customers when face-to-face meetings were no longer an option.

While temporary fixes to manage the sudden shift sustained brokers for a short time, the time is now to look forward. Evaluate how your business can operate in a way that enables you to grow your book of business – today and well into the future with these four questions:

  1. How will you keep renewals high and attract new customers in order to grow your book of business?
  2. How are you supporting employee productivity while remote?
  3. How will you meet customers online, where they are, when face-to-face meetings are not possible?
  4. How are you partnering with your markets to keep customers informed and protected?

Brokerages must build their paths forward to navigate today’s reality and a post-pandemic business model that supports the digital reality we are living in today. As you answer these questions and plan what’s next, consider what the role technology could play in your business to:

Keep renewals high and attract new customers
At a time when the value of face-to-face meetings is shifting, brokerages are having to get creative and find new ways to interact with customers and bring new prospects into the fold. Rely on technology to:

  • Automate renewal notifications and quickly build new proposals
  • Re-market risks based on pre-existing application details
  • Market and prospect on new digital channels
  • Increase pipeline visibility and identify new markets for growth

Connect staff to core systems while remote
While many states across the country are instituting phased reentry plans, general health recommendations and legislation are suggesting that there is a long road ahead before staff might be able to return to a normal operating environment. Keep your staff connected with cloud-based software to:

  • Access customer policy information and sales details in your core systems
  • Mobilise staff in the field with a mobile app of your management system

Take in-person interactions online
Online customer self-service portals and mobile apps give your customers the freedom and flexibility to interact with your business when, where and how they want. Arm your customers with the digital resources to:

  • Initiate policy changes and quote new policies online
  • View, download and print policy documents
  • Pay their bill online, without having to come into your office

Stay connected with your markets
Your insurers are your partners through this time, but the traditionally paper-laden processes that you shared are not sufficient in today’s reality. Adopt connectivity technology to remove the paper and:

  • Locate markets with appetite for your risk within your management system
  • Collaborate digitally on new policy quotes
  • Automate the exchange of policy information and documentation directly from your insurer partners into your management system.

Most companies were not ready for the dramatic and sudden changes to their businesses and operating models. Whether your business was ready or not, consider what new ideas and new ways your business can approach these challenges to create a new routine. Digital technology enables brokers to transform business processes and customer service models, further creating ease of doing business while navigating today’s reality.

Andy Fairchild is CEO of Applied Systems Europe

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