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Webinar Highlights: Insurtech and the importance of its human enablers

By March 25, 2022April 13th, 2022No Comments

Thank you to all who attended this webinar which was recently concluded on 24 March ‘22; our first for the year!

For those who missed the webinar, as always, here’s an article that summarises the key points of the webinar.

Key highlights

The webinar was broken down into the following segments:

  • Case studies: how the industry is viewing ‘human enablers’
  • The value an intermediary creates
  • What technology cannot do
    • Little known sales prospecting stats that says a lot
    • Fear and optimism bias 
  • What can tech help with in your business and some case studies
    • Identifying the pain points of intermediaries
    • The value of digital transformation
  • Important skills of a human enabler powered by tech
    • Customer interaction
    • Interpersonal skills
    • Buyer’s remorse

Case studies: how the industry is viewing ‘human enablers’

The webinar kicked off with the sharing of a couple of articles about insurance and technology with the goal of introducing the overall theme of human enablers in the midst of digital transformation and more importantly, where the industry stands on this.

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 organization. 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 need to find ways to balance tech adoption with maintaining the human touch

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: The views of intermediaries are crucial for insurtech to work

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

Article referenced: Embracing the Human Side of the Bionic Insurer

  • Key insights: …bionic business models that marry humans and technology more closely than ever before, they tend to focus on the delivery and technology aspects. Too often they overlook the human changes, which are the hardest part…A bionic company needs a robust balance of technology and human enablers.
  • Takeaway: The needs to be a robust balance of tech and human enablers

The key takeaway that was shared from the above articles was that human enablers, and specifically, intermediaries, play a more important role now, more than ever.

The value an intermediary creates

The speaker then went into sharing about the value intermediaries create and how this relates back to the previous segment about the importance of human enablers.

Rather surprisingly, the segment kicked off with a rather stark question; why not cut out the intermediaries?

The speaker then shared that intermediaries cannot be cut out because

  • Qualitatively, we know that insurance is complex and still rely on a human to advise and that technology can and should blend the best of both worlds
  • Quantitatively, in tech-savvy markets like Europe 75% of complex insurance  ‘researched online, purchased offline’ while in the US, Intermediaries accounted for 70.8% of commercial premiums^

    *research done by Zurich and Google | ^research by the Insurance Information Institute 

The speaker than went on to call out some of the key value that intermediaries bring to the table:

  • 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.
  • Saving 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 know their clients’ risks, the insurers willing to cover those risks and the best way to secure that coverage!
  • Bringing certainty to uncertainty
    Clients may know what risks they want to cover but do not have a wide overview of the right insurer. The 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 – someone who knows the marketplace, knows where to get answers to questions, and knows what information is required on both sides.

What technology cannot do

The speaker then shared that essentially, the human advisor is still highly important as insurance is not something that can be easily grasped or understood. 

And went on to give two sets of reasoning for such.

The first being that insurance is something our brains are tuned to ‘look away’ from and it requires proactivity – fear and optimism bias essentially.

On optimism bias, it was shared that our brain is built to be optimistic as a default; we will first believe that we are less likely to suffer from misfortune and more likely to attain success. As such it could be one of the reasons why the industry always say ‘insurance requires selling’ – there is a built-in resistance to purchasing / or being motivated to purchase Insurance.

On fear, it was shared that the brain is trained to be more afraid of what we can understand, rather than one that seems foreign or abstract. So, how we fear or how we have learnt to ‘prioritise’ fear can explain some of the resistance to Insurance; how I die seems to take higher priority over dying itself. As such, and arguably, hosplitalisation plans are therefore easier to sell than for example, general insurance.

Essentially, technology will not be able to replace the ‘spark’ to get clients to think about insurance proactively.

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 then went on to share that to understand how tech can be leveraged, we must first understand what the key pain points were. It was then shared that based on a Surer survey, the following were the top ones:

  • Difficulty in getting multiple quotes from different insurers as there were too many silo-ed platforms 
  • Too much administrative work
  • Difficulty obtaining quotes due to slow or non-replies

It was then shared that tech can help on 3 fronts to solve the above pain points: digitalisation, automation and collaboration. The speaker than further expanded by sharing the following:

  • Automation frees up your time to 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. A case study on Surer’s partnership with Markel was shared to demonstrate this point.
  • Digitalisation enables further customisation for bespoke packages you can offer to a client
    Packaged products are essentially, by design, policies built to cover a generalised representation of the risk rather than the specifics of the policyholder’s business. Imagine a world where the effort to get your clients exactly what they need vs pushing them packages is the same. Customisation can be mentioned in the same breath as scalability and ease of distribution. Technology is here to help unlock this shift; to enable disbursement of bespoke policies. Similarly, a case study of Surer’s partnership with FWD was shared to demonstrate this point.
  • Collaboration means you can have 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. A successful intermediary should strive to help their clients find the best solution to their problem. Tech helps you do this more simply – for e.g. sourcing for multiple quotes / working with multiple parties to find the best cover.

Technology is here to help with removing administrative pain points and manual, repetitive tasks. It is here to help parties leverage each other’s ‘super-powers’ to scale business together and serve clients better. With more bandwidth, intermediaries can now become that advisor with a client-first mindset that clients want!

Important skills of a human enabler powered by tech 

This segment was split into two parts, customer interaction and interpersonal skills of a human enabler 

On customer interaction, it was shared that

  • Humans understand context – something tech cannot replace
    Responding to your clients and show that you understand their situation. If a client has just suffered a personal tragedy, would you end your conversation with a sign-off that says ‘Cheers!’? Similarly, would you harry your clients and talk business if they are in a difficult period?
  • Humans have the ability for flexibility and empathy
    Clients of the near future will understand that digital platforms are still ‘pre programmed’. So, when they interact with a human, they expect the human to be exactly that! Bots are pre-programmed and follow a set of Y and N logic. The human can exercise flexibility and empathy within the context of the situation
  • Humans can help them understand what they need
    Even with a wealth of resource online, the client first needs to know what they want to search for or understand before they can find the answers. But they do not know what they don’t and this is where the human enabler can step in to dig deeper on the needs and provide advice thereafter.

On interpersonal skills, it was shared that

  • Humans can proactively ask for and ACT on feedback
    Nothing is more valuable than feedback; if taken onboard with the right mindset. When the client takes the time to give you their feedback, be sure to set expectations and then walk the talk! Not everything can be fulfilled, but if you are able to set expectations and then stick to whatever commitments, it really will go a long way.
  • Humans effort is always more cherished when it comes to thanking clients
    A big element of delighting a client is when they least expect it. This does not always have to material, and in the form of gifts and discounts. You can add value in many ways that does not require huge investments (remember our webinar on content creation?) Something as simple as a thank you letter, text or email can go a long way in building goodwill.
  • Humans can be more reassuring, especially post-sale and when a claim needs to happen
    This is where intermediaries are the most reassuring to their clients. Help the client get more clarity on the process – you will come across as a pillar of assurance that things will be okay. Help the client problem solve or help them make decisions with confidence.

When you are proactive in getting and acting on feedback, you derive further value for yourself and the client. When doing so, remain transparent and open. Follow up and show your clients that you care and always be ready to help, even when it is not about closing a deal Tech is here to remove administrative barriers, so you have time!

Thank you to those who took time out to join us at the webinar. We hope it was a fruitful session for you. For those who are reading our highlights because you couldn’t make it, we hope this article gave you a good summary of the content shared! 

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