Whether it is online banking, Amazon delivery or in the last couple of months, ease of setting up digital calls, everyone is expecting immediate, on-demand service in everything they do. Insurance brokers are now being expected to provide a similar, high-quality rapid response to inquiries.
We believe recent events have become the catalyst that will bring the change that our industry has needed for years: to give brokers the ability to service their clients seamlessly from anywhere, at any time.
In this Live Chat, Matthew Grant of InsTech London, Nick Haldane of Novidea, Keith Bucknall of SRG, and Chris Carney of Verticalised Consulting discussed a wide range of topics including: the need for a client-centric data strategy; selecting and implementing a platform; and what the future holds.
Live chat highlights
1. The need for a client-centric data strategy
Why do brokers need to ‘embrace the technology curve’?
- Clients now expect an ‘always on’ service, as they get elsewhere (e.g. shopping, banking)
- There has been growing momentum for brokers to ‘go digital’ to stay relevant and competitive
- Data underpins everything (distribution, streamlining, automation), however it is analytics that drives valuable insights and actionable intelligence
- Using data intelligently opens opportunities to streamline business processes, for example remote working and measuring productivity through smart business metrics
- In an increasingly hard market, data analytics are being used to benchmark prices and see where the best deals are available
What is ‘broking on the move’?
- Remote working in the insurance industry is not a new idea, but has been accelerated by Covid-19
- It is all about location-agnostic access to data, analytics, transactions, documents, emails, and more on trains, at home, in airport lounges, during client meetings, etc.
- This is made possible through cloud-based technology
How can cloud-based broker platforms support this?
- A typical broker today uses a system of record – i.e. a place to store information to generate invoices
- The focus has now shifted to how brokers can access their data and manage their client relationships remotely with complete access to everything they need
- Cloud-based broking platforms enable brokers to generate actionable intelligence from their data that works across numerous lines of business, distribution models, processes, and people
- The Novidea platform is an example of this, providing a comprehensive, end-to-end, cloud-based solution that is far more than “an insurance-ised CRM”
- It is simple to monitor overall business performance - every field in the platform is reportable in real time through a single portal, and viewable from any mobile device
- The platform includes full Insurance Business Accounting capabilities, so all money can be tracked, users can measure loss ratios vs income, and review which accounts are profitable
- Novidea also is built on Salesforce, who have invested millions into their architecture, which users automatically inherit, including, for example, solutions for key issues such as GDPR compliance
2. Selecting and implementing a broker platform
What are the barriers to implementation?
System replacement projects are one of the most challenging projects any broker will undergo. Barriers can include:People and culture
- If colleagues don’t support the reasons for the change and feel disenfranchised, it’s going to be an uphill battle
- It is key to work with vendors that have a well-established playbook to help you through this challenge
Capacity for change
- Not every broker has the in-house skills or capacity to manage such a challenging project
- A new platform is an opportunity to deploy best practices, but the need to meet deadlines often results in lost momentum to do so
- Brokers need a strong vision of their future operating model and ensure that remains a constant reference point through implementation
- Legacy platforms are rarely used consistently across the organisation, so there will be lots of ‘fudges’ and work-arounds to unpick during migration
- It is important to pick a vendor that isn’t fazed by this, sets realistic expectations and helps you come to a pragmatic solution
What did SRG look for, when selecting a broker platform?
- For SRG, flexibility and the ability to access data anywhere is key
- SRG is going through a digital transformation programme and growing through strategic acquisitions. They needed solutions to support and consolidate these systems and processes so they can perform as a group, not as individual entities
- Business enablement was also a concern – they needed a single, end-to-end solution to harness their CRM system with their backend broking platform and MGA platform
- SRG needed to move from an on-premises, legacy infrastructure to something easily accessible with minimal tech knowledge
- The have traditional broking environments, so they needed to make teams’ lives easier and more efficient, whilst understanding the barriers to change
Is SRG using its platform to monitor the productivity of technical brokers?
- It is possible to do so through time tracking activity, but SRG is not doing this. They recognise that the business process takes time, with negotiations, etc., and feel it shouldn’t be benchmarked
- Instead, their platform adds more value by allowing them to move away from a single broking team that deals with individual cases to teams that can assign enquiries, with a team leader who can optimize the process
- So, they are not going to introduce KPIs, but rather encourage healthy competition between teams. This way they can keep track of progress, and quickly see and act on missed opportunities
What does self-service mean, in terms of broker platforms?
- Novidea, for example, is a zero-code platform, which means it is fast, flexible and robust
- ‘Self-service’ functionality means users can adapt quickly to market changes, like Covid-19, or create a flag against a claim, for example, without relying on and waiting for their software provider to implement
- It enables retail brokers in particular to be more efficient, as users can have direct access for SME or corporate clients with a rating engine, pricing and documentation, etc.
3. What the future holds
How much do people coming into the industry value this technology?
- For those joining us straight from university, the industry’s lack of technical adoption is often shocking
- Things are changing, however, and the industry is creating a data-focused generation of brokers – the Lloyd’s risk exchange is an excellent example of this in action
- As these brokers handle more complex risks, there is even more opportunity to add value through analytics along different parts of the placement journey
- It is not about shoe leather anymore – it’s about generating insights and analysis for brokers and clients
What is going to happen in the next 10 years for broking?
Nick Haldane, Novidea
"All brokers will use platforms like Novidea’s, where everything is reportable and measurable, and accessible on the move. This will bring our industry in line with the “on demand” culture and capabilities of other sectors."
Chris Carney, Verticalised Consulting
"Brokers will trade electronically and be more analytical with their data. This will mean their value proposition will be more than just transactional."
Keith Bucknall, SRG
"Trading will be electronic – not just with Lloyd’s, but in all insurance market, worldwide. This will enable brokers to automate manual (non-value) aspects of job, and enable remote working, with all the efficiencies and improvements to portfolio management this brings."
In case you didn't have a chance to join us, watch the video now: