The Age of the Digital Insurance Agent
We are now officially in the digital era. The advent of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) has triggered a broad trend towards automated services that will impact almost every industry across the globe. The way our parents used services and interacted with companies is dying a fast death. Waiting in line for human service and filling out a stack of forms will be largely forgotten within years, not decades.
From investment firms offering automated retirement accounts, to retail franchises using virtual shopping assistants, and banks reducing the number of physical branches—everything is going online and becoming more efficient and cost-effective. A business that resists this global trend will fall by the wayside. Adapting to this digital age will be a simple case of survival. For companies wanting to thrive rather than merely survive, a comprehensive digital strategy will be what makes or breaks them.
The Future of Insurance
Automated self-service is impacting the insurance industry at a rapid pace. The 2020 Applied Systems Digital Agency Report (ASDA) surveyed over 700 insurance companies and found that insurers who embrace the emerging technology of self-service portals and digital agents are seeing better returns on their investment and enjoying increased profits. In the US, approximately 88% of insurance companies either have a digital strategy or acknowledge the need to develop one as soon as possible.
A digital agent creates a one-stop interface between a customer and the insurance carriers’ internal systems. From underwriting, policy management, claims, and quotes; traditional insurance products and services are becoming almost instant. We see customers preferring automated services more and more, which will drive the direction of insurance companies. The digital era is forcing a simple decision upon the broader insurance industry: you either keep up with client needs or you cease to be competitive. It’s not so much about keeping an eye on your rivals; it’s about knowing what the market is looking for.
A New Composition
Not surprisingly, it’s the large established players in the insurance game that are adapting to the digital era at the fastest pace. Independent and small to medium-sized insurers are lagging behind the curve. If the status quo remains, the next decade could see a fundamental shake-up in the insurance industry with large players being the only survivors. The window of opportunity is closing at a rapid pace and the game of musical chairs has already begun.
Small to medium-sized companies that play their cards right can see the digital era not as a threat, but as an opportunity. Online portals are the easiest way to expand your company footprint and attract new business from further afield.
Forecasting shifts in market share brought on by the digital era may not be an exact science, but what’s clear is that a failure to meet the changing demands of customers is the downfall of any business. The world is going digital quickly and people have come to expect the convenience of real-time, online services. The time to act is now; the alternative is to fade into the history of analog.