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Why Insurers should look to supercharge intermediaries

By August 6, 2021April 13th, 2022No Comments

There has been this ongoing debate about InsurTech and how it might replace the intermediary.

This has been hanging on the lips of many of our users.

Some were bullish; they have confidence in the service they provide as a trusted advisor.

Others were if-fy; they feel like the rise of AI and the endeavours of insurers trying to go direct to the end consumer might impact their livelihoods.

ALL were in agreement that they need to supercharge themselves somehow, with technology.

However, what is the perspective of the insurer? Do they still believe in a physical sales force? 

Should they believe in a physical sales force?

One interesting statistic that we found, inspired this article…

A survey done by Google and Zurich in Germany a couple of years back, found that 59 percent of all insurances that were researched online, were eventually purchased offline.

While there may be a myriad of factors involved that resulted in that statistic, a vast majority of policy holders we have spoken to agreed on one thing: when it comes to insurance, and especially complex ones in the non-life insurance space, there is a preference to speak to and get advice from a human being they trust. 

It is foolish to take an extreme stance on either side of this debate. 

We personally feel that insurers should look at taking a balanced approach, supercharge their sales force, the intermediaries, and reap the benefits of what they can bring to the table. 

Supercharging a sales force

As alluded in the opening of this article, Insurers should aspire to give their agents and brokers superpowers; super charge them to drive more efficiency.


Insurers can deploy technology to empower intermediaries much more, leading to an even better experience and performance. 

Much like how Insurers are looking to automate processes in their back office, a world where the intermediaries can automate processes that take up so much of their time they are unable to prospect or service their clients (the purchasers of insurer’s products) is not that far away.

By combining technology with human intermediaries, insurers can deliver better conversations and higher customer satisfaction through them, which results in better advice and higher conversion rates. 

A hybrid model. The best of both worlds.

Research online, purchased offline

The internet sure has changed the game. 

It has changed how people are informed and get informed.

Consumers can readily do their own research online, way before speaking to anybody. More and more comparison sites enable consumers to check prices and services with just a few clicks. 

However, in a previous article we shared, research has shown that the majority of customers still WANT to hear from a physical salesperson, even at the early stages of their research.

What has changed is the expectations of the customer, when they speak to an intermediary. 

In the same article above, we shared that business owners (so this would be more relevant for non-life insurance) expect to hear from their intermediaries how a particular policy can improve their business or solve a worry or problem. 

This comes as no surprise. Complex insurance products, arguably in the non-life insurance segment, still need extensive explanation. This is where the human factor comes into play. 

Thus that statistic we see in Germany where 59 percent of all insurances that are researched online were purchased offline.

In the same survey, high value and complex insurance and finance products like mortgage and pension insurances, the share of ‘researched online, purchased offline’ action accounts for more than 75 percent of all sales.

Syncing the two worlds

While there is no denying that technology has enhanced the research and purchase process of insurance, what we have come to see as well is that insurers need to manage the ‘feelings’ side of their relationship with customers better as well. 

Especially for non-commoditised insurance products that are not so much about price sensitivity.

In leveraging technology, one big pitfall that we feel should be side-stepped, is to ‘over-digitise’ and for insurers to run the risk of becoming ‘less human’.

Humans inject emotion and empathy. We are able to flash a smile and give a hug. We can deviate from the procedure if needed. 

We have the ability to be kind, honest, friendly, generous, giving; someone who makes time for me, listens to me, keeps promises, goes the extra mile. 

These are gifts or talents that remain essential in the face of complex policies where confusion and fear is a big hurdle – and we believe this remains an essential part of successful customer engagement. 

We believe that insurers can sync the tech world and the human world, to draw out the best of both.

By leveraging the latest technologies insurers and intermediaries can be supercharged; to be smarter about processes and become more efficient.

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