The widespread adoption of digital insurance solutions is inevitable. The technologies and innovations that we’ve seen in the last few years are way too powerful, efficient, and profitable to be ignored, even for a slow-to-change sector like insurance.
Since Novidea’s foundation in 2013, it’s been clear to us, as a digital-first business, that the way the sector operates had to shift, and that digital solutions would forever change our industry. This belief is in part due to the likes of Amazon, Deliveroo, and to a lesser extent online banking, which have completely changed consumers’ expectations from snail mail to 24/7 lightning speed delivery.
What we couldn’t have foreseen, of course, is a seismic event like Covid-19. While a digital future always appeared inescapable, the way that this particular situation has accelerated (or in some cases mandated) digital adoption has been just as much of a surprise to us as it has been to the rest of the industry.
In just a few short months, the entire landscape has shifted dramatically, and like all of you, we’ve been watching the situation unfold with equal parts fear and hope.
Whilst we find ourselves in uncharted territory as we are forced to adapt to a new reality, it is clear that this unexpected Covid-19 catalyst for change is going to bring about more changes, more quickly, than the combined might of the insurance sector’s C-suite.
What’s next for brokers?
So, what’s next for brokers as we return to the new normal? For starters, and a big change for many in the sector, brokers will need a more client-centric data strategy, backed by an ‘always on’ service, as we are used to elsewhere (e.g. shopping and banking). This is because data underpins everything (distribution, streamlining, automation, etc.).
The more progressive brokers will grasp that data can bring even greater benefits in the form of analytics, which can drive valuable insights and actionable intelligence to reduce costs via streamlined business processes, and increase profitability via the ‘holy grail’ of cross-selling and upselling. Additionally, in an increasingly hard market, data analytics can be used to better serve customers by benchmarking prices to see where the best deals are available.
The future is remote
Remote working is not a new idea, but has been accelerated by Covid-19, which has forced brokers, and others, to find a way to work from anywhere, anytime. This has been made possible through cloud-based technology, which gives brokers access to data, analytics, transactions, documents, emails, and more on trains, at home, in airport lounges, during client meetings, etc.
The Novidea broker platform is an excellent example of this, providing a comprehensive, end-to-end, cloud-based solution that is far more than ‘an insurance-ised CRM’. The platform makes it easy to monitor overall business performance, with every field in the platform being reportable in real time through a single portal, and viewable from any device.
Moving to the next level, brokers will adopt ‘self-service’ functionality, which is fast, flexible, and robust, with users able to adapt quickly to market changes, like Covid-19, or create a flag against a claim without relying on and waiting for their software provider to implement a change. It also enables non-commoditized, and commercial brokers in particular to be more efficient, as they can offer direct access to SME or corporate clients with a rating engine, pricing and documentation, etc.
Attracting tomorrow’s talent
Looking ahead, it is clear that these technologies are a necessity, not just for customer and broker profitability, but also to help attract young talent joining straight from university. If the industry is to continue to attract the brightest and the best, there has to be change.
The current lack of technical adoption is often seen as shocking to young graduates entering our sector. Things are moving forward, however, and the industry is gaining a data-focused generation of brokers and underwriters – the Lloyd’s risk exchange is an excellent example of this in action. And, 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’s not about shoe leather anymore – it’s about generating insights and analysis for tomorrow’s generation of brokers. And their customers will value that.