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Blog: Three ways to be more efficient working remotely

working from home

Andy Fairchild, of Applied Systems, considers how to get the best out of teams who are working from home.

As we think over the last few months, businesses in every industry have been facing new and unprecedented challenges. Independent brokers have had to evaluate and launch new plans to get staff working from home and continue to serve customers in their preferred method as face-to-face has been limited.

The response to many of the day-to-day work challenges presented by the pandemic has been to lean heavily on technology. Previously planned digital strategies have been fast tracked to timeframes that were unimaginable before the pandemic struck, and capabilities that were under utilised are more critical than ever before.

While working from home has accelerated the timelines of some brokerages’ digital strategies and caused stress along the way, it has also provided an opportunity to explore new technologies to modernise their businesses. Here are a few strategies we encourage you to consider as you adopt technology to ensure the highest level of customer service, especially while working remotely:

Cloud technology
The cloud is the most vital tool to keep your business running anytime, anywhere. Keep your employees connected to up-to-date customer and policy information using virtually any connected device, enabling them to reach and service customers at any time regardless of extreme weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

With the cloud, your critical applications and data reside in a secure data centre, which provides redundancy for power, internet access and a physical infrastructure that offers greater protection from natural and man-made disasters, and other unpredicted business interruptions. Since applications are hosted remotely in data centres and accessible via the internet, new users can quickly connect to the system and gain access to data across your business to serve clients anytime, anywhere.

Self-service portals and mobile apps
Keeping channels of communication open and being accessible are critical in uncertain times. If you can’t be there in person, consider how digital technology such as broker-branded self-service customer portals and mobile apps enable customers to access and manage their policy documents whenever they need them and preserves the broker-customer relationship

Through a broker-branded customer self-service portal, customers can obtain proof of insurance, access insurance documents, make premium payments, report First Notice of Loss, and track claims processing. Integrated with your broker management system, the portal syncs all activities by the customer in real time so that you are always kept up to date with your customers, even during uncertain times.

A broker-branded, customer-facing mobile app takes these capabilities even further, and puts them in the palm of your customers’ hands. Your customers will feel even more at ease by being able to access their documents and begin a claim without having to reach you via the phone.

Digital collaboration tools
E-signature tools shorten the process of traditionally having to either come in the office to sign or wait for the application to be posted to a fraction of the time. It is too much hassle and potential stress to have to print, sign, and scan an application. Instead, give the policyholder the opportunity to sign their application forms electronically.

While the three recommendations above speak to enabling an end-to-end paperless process, it is also important to not lose focus on your team. As uncertainty remains a reality, fear of the unknown can be unsettling and remote work can feel isolating. People want to feel connected and protected during uncertain times, so look to new ways to keep in touch with your team and your customers. The more your team feels connected, the better equipped they will be to effectively address the needs of your customers, especially during the unprecedented times that we face today. The more secure and happier your team feels, the better service that will be afforded to your customers. 

Digital technology creates new ways of doing business and can enable you to navigate uncertain times together, so you can ultimately safeguard your most important assets: your relationships with loyal customers and employees.

Andy Fairchild is European CEO of Applied Systems

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