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Webinar highlights: insurance, technology and where intermediaries stand in 2024

By January 25, 2024No Comments

Thank you to everyone who attended this webinar that happened on 25 Jan ‘24! 

As always, fret not if you weren’t able to attend. This article will bring you highlights of what was shared at the webinar!

Key highlights

With the theme of the webinar being ‘insurance, technology and where intermediaries stand in 2024’, we broke the webinar down into the following key segments:

  • Trends and predictions for 2024
  • Embracing digitalisation of your business
  • Combining human advisory with technology
  • Leveraging Insurtech: Surer case studies

Trends and predictions for 2024

The webinar started with a look at what consultancy houses and the media is predicting for intermediaries in 2024.

What are the big consultancy houses saying?

Key excerpts from Deloitte’s 2024 global insurance outlook (Source:

  • 2024 is poised to be a tipping point for the sector as the world becomes increasingly digitized and customer and agent expectations for more relevant and holistic product offerings and ease of doing business continue to escalate.
  • Cutting-edge technology, including digital tools and advanced analytics, could help empower life insurers and their agents to shift away from a transactional role to broader relationship-based consumer interactions.
  • Tech helps with more seamless cross-selling and customer personalization and ease of engagement, as well as rapid new-product launches.

Key excerpts from PwC’s article, ‘The increasingly strategic role of insurance brokers and independent agencies’ (Source:

  • Brokers and IAs will need to act as a true advisor and risk manager — not just a sales rep — who knows and has access to a wide variety of products and services.
  • Producers find that it is getting harder to find relevant products and services that cover emerging risks. They need more partners to team with on solutions.
  • Customers would like brokers to offer thoughtful advice, not just sell to them.
  • Insurers need broker and independent agency systems to talk with theirs.

Key excerpts from EY’s 2024 Global Insurance Outlook (Source:

  • Trust and transparency have never been more important to the industry’s present performance and future prospects.
  • Simpler and more accessible products, more convenient distribution channels and more personalised service experiences are all key to engaging customers in ways that build trust.

What are insurance media outlets saying?

Key excerpts from Lexology’s article, ‘2024: The next stage in the insurtech market evolution’ (Source:

  • There will be an expectation of collaboration and mutual development between insurtechs and the rest of the industry.
  • All participants (including intermediaries) are potentially “insurtechs”; using technology to drive innovation in insurance.
  • Firms (like insurers) are increasingly aware of the benefits of leveraging digital technologies and 2024 is likely to bring more firms investing in technology solutions.

Key excerpts from Digital Insurance’s article, ‘The top 10 trends shaping the future of insurtech in 2024’ (Source:

  • On ‘Artificial intelligence and machine learning in underwriting’: The result will be a more streamlined underwriting process that not only enhances efficiency but also enables personalized risk evaluation.
  • On ‘Customer-Centric Digital Experiences’: Insurers are investing in technologies that enhance customer engagement, building trust and loyalty in an increasingly competitive market.
  • On ‘Collaborations and partnerships’: Collaboration is a hallmark of the insurtech ecosystem. In 2024, we see a surge in collaborations and partnerships between insurtech startups, traditional insurers, and technology companies. These partnerships are fostering innovation, facilitating the exchange of expertise, and accelerating the development of groundbreaking solutions.

Intermediaries will always be in the game

The speaker concluded that intermediaries will continue to play an integral role in 2024. The caveat to this was that intermediaries must learn to leverage technology to drive process efficiency so that they can focus on providing value from an advisory standpoint.

Citing the research paper, Advancing the Art of Advisory’, the following key points were shared to back this thought:

Following are some of the key points quoted from the research paper ‘Advancing the Art of Advisory’:

  • As wealth management becomes increasingly digital, investors have expressed concerns over the lack of a personal touch with their financial advisors.
  • While digital adoption is reducing cost-to-serve, it has also led to less effective customisation that comes with reduced human interaction.
  • As the world transitions out of the pandemic, we are likely to observe an increasing trend of investor-advisor interactions…

This was backed by the fact that 57% of millennial investors feel that technology reduces the personal touch and face-to-face interactions in their wealth relationships – considerably higher than the overall global age group of 39%.

It was then shared that the human touch remains indispensable with the following points used to expand on this thought:

  • Surprisingly, a larger proportion of Millennials (67%) prefer to maintain the human touch when it comes to advisory services despite being digital natives
  • …appetite for purely digital-led relationships has been declining rapidly at the higher end of the wealth pyramid…

This was backed by the fact that 72% of investors prefer to retain the ‘human touch’ in their wealth planning journey.

The speaker concluded that advisors are a trusted source of advice sharing 66% of retail investors consider their primary financial advisor as the most trusted source of advice, compared to other sources.

Using the above article as a case study, the speaker shared that while there has been buzz around AI and its undeniable ability, it was mentioned that digital tools can only help customers kick-start research. However, intermediaries are still required to provide good context both on a personal level and at the geographic level.

He quoted the following two paragraphs from the article to broaden on the above point:

  • “On the other hand, some of the more specific suggestions made by the financial advisors, who have a more localised context as well as information on specific products I could use, guided me to a more targeted research”
  • “I believe machines cannot see what humans cannot envision…”
  • “Human advisors are still needed to provide assurance and last mile issues…”

Embracing digitalisation of your business

Then speaker continued into the next segment of the webinar to share views on why digitalisation matters to intermediaries.

Importance of digital transformation

The speaker shared some pain points that team at Surer had identified across its survey and user research.

A survey conducted found that the top pain point faced by intermediaries is the difficulty in getting quotes due to slow/non-replies.

It was further shared that in a user research conducted:

  • 84% of intermediaries said they want to source for more quotes for clients but the process is too tedious to do so.
  • 71% said they have problems tracking and managing their deals efficiently (close to 100% are using either spreadsheet or their emails)
  • 56% said they have experienced communication breakdown or lost threads with key parties in a deal before
  • 92% said they forgot to either inform or update underwriters or intermediaries of matters that are important (deal closed, gotten a quote etc.)
  • 62% said it is hard to be an expert in every single area of a broad spectrum like GI
  • 91% feels they are working in silos and collaboration amongst intermediaries is important

Understanding the problem to be solved is as important as providing the solution – this helped shed light on where digital transformation can play a role as a solution.

It was further shared that intermediaries should consider digital transformation for good reasons and not just because it is a buzzword.

Why digitise your business?

Understanding pain points and how it relates to solutions basically means that you digitise because it does good for your business. NOT because everyone else is doing and you just jump on the bandwagon accordingly.

The speaker used the analogy of ‘adding chill to laksa’ and said

You add chilli to your laksa to make it spicier. And you do it because you like it spicier. Not because you see everyone adding chilli and you just follow suit right?

Essentially, trying to drive home the point that one should not just follow a trend just because it is a trend! Do it because it helps the business.

Know your why… then think about how

I want to close a deal faster Cut out all the (repetitive) effort you have to put in to source for multiple quotes
I want ease in managing my business Automate the tracking of all your deals (past, present or future)
I want to close more deals Expand your network digitally to get more referrals

The above table was shared to illustrate identifying the ‘why’ and then determining the ‘how’. Going back to the Laksa analogy… the ‘WHY’ = I want my laksa to be spicier. the ‘HOW’ = add chilli!

Tech is available to help rid process and sales efficiency barriers. But how you leverage it and how the users are trained to use it will require effort.

The speaker then shared a few more case studies to answer the questions of ‘Why digitise your business?’ citing these as examples of how the industry is building tech to support not disrupt the business of an intermediary.

Article referenced: 2022 insurance industry outlook

  • Key insights: Insurers are increasingly dependent on emerging technologies and data sources to drive efficiency, enhance cybersecurity, and expand capabilities across the organisation. However, most should also focus on improving the customer experience by both streamlining processes with automation as well as providing customized service where needed and preferred.
  • Takeaway: Insurers will support your digital transformation because you are the key to customer satisfaction…

Article referenced: How Agents and Insurtechs Can Work Together

  • Key insights: This is where agents’ insights can steer the insurtech in the right direction. Agents are on the frontlines using the products. They know how a new solution fits into their workflows. Does it save them time? Do they need to develop workarounds because it doesn’t meet their needs? Is the tool adding any real value? If it doesn’t, are there changes that would make it more useful?
  • Takeaway: Insurtechs will work to build to intermediaries’ needs

Article referenced: 5 reflections on the insurance industry in 2021

  • Key insights: Human connection matters more than ever as customer trust falls. We saw in our Insurance Consumer Study 2021 that the right Human + Machine mix restores consumer trust and better engages them. Though approaches will vary, the Human + Machine combinations will continue to be essential for incumbents and insurtechs alike.
  • Takeaway: There needs to be a right mix of human + machine combination

Combining human advisory with technology

Having covered the view that 2024 will see intermediaries continue to thrive – if they focus on their advisory skills – and how digitalisation allows them to do so, the speaker then covered how intermediaries can blend the two worlds for their benefit.

What tech CANNOT do

The segment started with the sharing of how technology cannot replace the human touch and shared some stats and reasons for this….

It was shared that especially in Commercial Insurance, In Europe 75% of complex insurance ‘researched online, purchased offline’ while In the US Intermediaries accounted for 70.8% of commercial premiums.

Diving deeper into this, we shared about key stats in a research where:

  • Majority (71%) of clients WANT to hear from a salesperson
  • 82% of clients say they will take a meeting
  • 67% of clients say tailored solutions will get them even more interested
  • >90% of clients feel a sales meeting is more valuable if you help them better understand their needs

The speaker then shared a little about our perspective of why this could be the case – fear and optimism bias.

Optimism Bias:

Our brain is built to be optimistic as a default. We will first believe that that we are less likely to suffer from misfortune and more likely to attain success.

What has it to do with insurance?

One of the reasons why the industry always say ‘insurance requires selling’

It is a built-in resistance to purchasing / or being motivated to purchase Insurance.


The brain is trained to to be more afraid of what we can understand, rather than one that seems foreign or abstract

What has it to do with insurance?

So, how we fear or how we have learnt to ‘prioritise’ fear can explain some of the resistance some Insurance.

How I die seems to take higher priority over dying itself.

In general, technology will not be able to replace the ‘spark’ to get clients to think about insurance proactively – our brain is just not tuned to WANTING insurance

The speaker went on to shared some points as to why insurers and policyholders/customers still need intermediaries (from a practical standpoint):

  • Intermediaries act as advisors to the policyholder
    Intermediaries provide customers with the necessary information required to make educated purchases/ informed decisions. Intermediaries are there to explain what their clients need, and the options available to them.
  • Intermediaries help save time spent on searching and researching
    Intermediaries act as the person with the knowledge to get the client started. Without a wholesome knowledge of the insurance industry, it is hard to even get going to do research OR trust the research you have done; essentially, clients don’t know what they don’t know.
  • Intermediaries bring certainty to uncertainty
    Clients: may know what risks they want to cover but do not have a wide overview of the right insurer
    Insurer: may have all the information in the market but are ultimately in a tough position to fully understand the prospective client
    Enter the intermediary. You know the marketplace, you know where to get answers to questions, and you know what information is required on both sides.

Little known sales prospecting stats

The speaker then shared that clients do want to speak to an advisor FOR THE RIGHT REASONS – to be advised not sold. A couple of key stats from this survey/research was shared:

  • Majority (71%) of clients WANT to hear from a salesperson
  • 82% of clients say they will take a meeting
  • 67% of clients say tailored solutions will get them even more interested
  • >90% of clients feel a sales meeting is more valuable if you help them better understand their needs

What can tech help with in your business

The speaker closed out this segment by sharing specific areas of which tech can help intermediaries.

  • Increase their TQ (which will be as important as IQ and EQ)
    Tech helps you do more by working less, drives your business faster and ultimately, empowers you to spend more time on more important matters.
  • Be an advisor not an order taker
    Clients lean on you for expert advice; someone who has our best interest at heart. Intermediaries should not be bogged down by repetitive administrative matters.
  • Allows you to adopt a client-first mindset
    A product or service aims to solve a problem for a client and the client in turn, pays for this product or service. So, your first instinct should always be ‘how to solve my client’s problem’ not ‘what I want this client to buy’

Leveraging Insurtech: Surer case studies

A feedback that the team had gotten was that we should include the showcase of tangible features / functions that intermediaries can leverage; to be able to draw parallels between what has been shared and what can be used.

The speaker did exactly that by sharing some of Surer’s features that help an intermediary digitally transform.

Personal Website Builder

  • The speaker shared about this Surer feature and mentioned this to be something that will be released in early March ‘23
  • Essentially, this feature allows any intermediary, regardless of tech savviness to be able to build and launch their personal website in minutes via Sure
  • The website will allow intermediaries to showcase the products they sell (and clients to submit their own information for such products), their specialisation, their achievements and various ways to collect leads

Product Customisation and creating your own ‘package’ template

  • The speaker shared how several products on Surer are fully customisable
  • Using the FWD Surer Maid Insurance product as an example, the speaker shared how this product was co-created between Surer and FWD where intermediaries can fully customise the different lines of cover that goes into this Maid policy
  • On top of that, the speaker shared how intermediaries can create their own ‘packages’ and save them as templates once customisation of the product is done

Instant Quote

  • It was shared that Surer has an ‘Instant Quote Marketplace’ built specifically for intermediaries
  • As the name suggests, this is where all products with instant quote functionalities are listed
  • Using Zurich’s Marine Cargo product as an example, Intermediaries can get quotes in seconds and share these quotes digitally via Surer with their clients

Binding and issuing policies

  • For selected lines of products, intermediaries are empowered to manage the full cycle of a deal including binding and issuing policies
  • Once again using Zurich’s Marine Cargo product as an example, the speaker showcased how a recent integration between Surer and Zurich allowed for issuing of policies to happen

CRM features

  • The speaker then went on to share a couple of CRM related features including 
    • Digital Personal Assistant: Never miss a beat when it comes to outstanding tasks, recent activities and sales tracking
    • Deal Tracker: Digitise your entire workflow, from proposal creation to client accepting a quote
    • Policies Watch: Track premium collection status, policy renewal reminder and “one-click” policy renewal process.

The parallels of tech helping to drive leads, qualification and speed in deal closing were drawn in relation to the above features was shared to be as follow:

  • Personal Website Builder <> Leads
  • Instant Quote <> Qualification
  • Product Customisation and creating your own ‘package’ template <> Closing
  • Binding and issuing policies <> Closing
  • CRM features <> efficiency in managing business

Once again, here’s taking the opportunity to thank all our users who made time for this and we hope to see you again in our next Webinar!

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