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Blog: Brokers need to ride the digital wave to remain pivotal

Andrew Waring Stubben Edge

In the rapidly evolving world of insurance, digital customer experiences are becoming the heart of the industry’s transformation. And as the landscape shifts, insurers are realising the significance of fostering customer-centric cultures and adopting user-centric designs.

Unlike the opinion of some, these are not just mere buzzwords, but essential paradigms that prioritise the customer’s journey, ensuring that every touchpoint is seamless and intuitive. But what about the brokers, the vital intermediaries between insurers and clients?

From AI-driven solutions to blockchain’s transparency, the next phase of insurance promises a merging of technology and customer experience.
Andy Waring

Innovative solutions are emerging to facilitate brokers in smoothly transitioning to this digital world, ensuring that they remain pivotal in the customer journey.

Moreover, with the onset of groundbreaking technology, the future of the digital insurance marketplace is brimming with potential. From AI-driven solutions to blockchain's transparency, the next phase of insurance promises a merging of technology and customer experience.

Dive in as we explore the depths of these transformations, and what they mean for everyone involved, starting with the importance of customer-centric cultures and user-centric designs.

Customer-centric cultures

The consideration of customer-centric cultures has never been more important in the brokerage and insurance landscape than it is right now.

With rapidly advancing technology and quickly shifting consumer behaviours, insurers have to be more attuned to the needs and expectations of their diverse clientele.

The broader the spectrum of viewpoints within an insurance company, the wider the net it can cast, capturing an extensive range of potential customers.
Andy Waring

Also, it’s widely acknowledged that the key to achieving this lies in fostering diverse, inclusive and fair teams within organisations and actively communicating with and listening to their customers, whether that is through calls, emails or surveys.

An example of this is the current survey the Stubben Edge team is running with brokers, examining their pain-points.

A diverse team reflects a myriad of perspectives and experiences, translating to a team that is better poised to understand the nuanced needs of varying demographics. And the broader the spectrum of viewpoints within an insurance company, the wider the net it can cast, capturing an extensive range of potential customers.

Diversity within a workforce also allows companies to develop a more profound understanding of which markets to target, and who will be most receptive to their products. Without this depth of understanding, insurers risk overlooking potential market segments that might have otherwise been enthusiastic customers.

User-centric design

User-centric design is at the heart of successful digital platforms, especially in the insurance sector. The goal of these designs is not just about creating aesthetically pleasing interfaces, but designing systems that anticipate and cater to the user's every requirement, making their journey seamless from start to finish.

Incorporating user-centric designs driven by the insights of diverse teams ensures that the digital platforms resonate with the intended audience.

Diverse teams are not just a matter of representation, they are a strategic asset in crafting superior user-centric designs in the digital insurance world.
Andy Waring

When a team brings together individuals from various backgrounds, cultures and experiences it is better equipped to spot potential pain points, predict user behaviours and devise solutions that cater to a broader audience.

They can challenge prevailing assumptions, bring fresh perspectives and introduce innovative solutions that a homogenous team might overlook.

For instance, an insurance platform might be targeting young professionals, elderly individuals and non-native English speakers. A diverse team can provide insights into each group's unique needs, ensuring that the platform is accessible and appealing to all.

From ensuring the right colour contrasts for the visually impaired to incorporating multilingual support for diverse linguistic groups, every design decision becomes informed and intentional.

Diverse teams are not just a matter of representation, they are a strategic asset in crafting superior user-centric designs in the digital insurance world.

What solutions could help brokers smoothly transition to digital?

In 2023, and going into 2024, brokers stand at a crucial juncture. The digital wave is only ramping up, but while technology offers unmatched speed and efficiency, there’s an element of the human touch that remains irreplaceable.

The optimal solution is a blend of a digital front end with a human back end.
Andy Waring

The challenge lies in marrying the two to offer the best to clients. But how can brokers smoothly make this transition to digital?

Many brokers remain hesitant to this inevitable shift due to fears that their skills could be replaced by a computer.

But even with its ability to analyse vast data sets, execute tasks rapidly and reach capabilities humans can’t, technology lacks emotional intelligence, the ability to empathise, and the personal touch that brokers bring to the table.

So, the optimal solution is a blend of a digital front end with a human back end. This ensures that while clients benefit from the swiftness and convenience of technology, they also receive personalised guidance when needed.

Tools and approaches to the digital world

For brokers looking to make a smoother transition to the digital world, here are some tools and approaches you can take advantage of:

  • Broker Management Systems (BMS): These are software platforms, which are designed specifically for insurance brokers. They help in automating workflows, managing client data, handling claims and even facilitating communication between brokers and insurers.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: Helpful for managing client interactions and data, CRM systems can help brokers understand customer behaviours, preferences and needs to facilitate a personalised service.
  • Cloud computing: Adopting cloud solutions ensures data accessibility from anywhere, enhancing flexibility and ensuring that brokers can serve clients without geographical limitations.
  • Open APIs: Open Application Programming Interfaces allow brokers to integrate various software solutions seamlessly, from quote comparison engines to digital payment gateways.
  • Digital marketing tools: To attract and retain clients in a digital age, brokers need to be visible online. Tools for search engine optimisation, email marketing and social media management can be invaluable.
  • Cybersecurity solutions: With the shift to digital comes the increased responsibility of safeguarding sensitive data. Cybersecurity tools, from firewalls to encrypted communication platforms, are crucial.
  • Chatbots and AI assistants: For common queries and 24/7 customer support, AI-powered chatbots can provide instant assistance, freeing up brokers for more complex client interactions.

What emerging technologies should brokers be aware of?

As previously mentioned, the world of insurtech is evolving at an unprecedented pace, presenting brokers with an array of emerging technologies that have the potential to revolutionise their industry.

Staying updated and proactive in adopting these technologies can place brokers at the forefront of the market.

Technology trends

Here are some notable emerging technology trends:

  • Robotic process automation: Before the widespread adoption of AI, brokers are likely to see robotic applications play a transformative role. RPA can handle repetitive tasks, such as data entry, policy renewals and basic client communications. By automating these mundane processes, brokers can focus on higher-value, strategic activities.
  • Blockchain: Blockchain technology can provide transparent, tamper-proof and efficient transaction systems. For brokers, this could mean faster claims processing, secure policy documentation and reliable client verification.
  • AI: While robotic applications might take the lead initially, the future undeniably has AI playing a central role. AI can analyse vast datasets for insights, predict market trends, automate complex tasks, and even facilitate personalised client interactions. However, its full integration is still on the horizon, and brokers should see it as a longer-term evolution rather than an immediate change.
  • Cybersecurity innovations: As the digital landscape expands, so do cyber threats. Newer cyber security technologies, including biometric authentication and advanced encryption methods, will become paramount.

The future of the digital insurance marketplace

Ever-evolving and underpinned by advancements in technology and changing consumer behaviours, the future of the digital insurance marketplace is sure to be an exciting one.

As insurers lean into customer-centric culture and user-centric designs, and harness tools to enhance human capabilities, the promise of a seamless and personalised digital experience becomes clearer.

However, insurers and brokers alike must stay agile, ensuring that they're equipped to navigate this new dynamic landscape while always prioritising the customer's journey and experience at the core of their strategies.

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