According to a survey of over 1,800 insurance brokers across the UK, Ireland, the US and Canada, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way insurance brokers work across the world. The 19th annual Digital Technology Adoption Survey from Applied Systems provided some interesting insights into how brokers are using technology within their business, the digital solutions they are slower to adopt, and the benefits of going digital.
Pandemic accelerates tech adoption
As we all know, the overnight shift to working from home in 2020 led to a huge rise in the number of firms across all sectors using digital solutions such as cloud technology in order to facilitate remote working. For the insurance industry, it was no different. According to the survey, nearly 100% of brokers were using broker management systems in 2021, making it one of the industry’s most used technologies. Meanwhile, 81% of respondents were using cloud technology to host their software– almost 10% up from the year before. Similarly, there was a significant increase in the use of mobile technology that allowed employees to access essential business software remotely and on the go, with an 11% rise in this type of technology in 2021.
Customer service goes mobile
Following multiple lockdowns, the closure of businesses and, often, the inability to access goods and services via more traditional routes, it is unsurprising that many customers have been clamouring for self-service portals and on-the-go access to insurance services. According to the survey, the adoption of self-service portals, which allow customers to manage and make changes to their policies, view and print policy documents, and get quotes for new policies, all without the involvement of a broker, has increased by 9% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the number of brokers offering their customers mobile apps has increased by 18% year-on-year. These types of self-service capabilities not only increase customer satisfaction, but also reduce the time brokers spend performing time-consuming administrative jobs, and enable them to focus on more on business-critical tasks.
What could be done better?
Whilst there has clearly been a significant shift in the way brokers are using technology, there are still improvements to be made, particularly in the area of sales and marketing automation. According to the survey, just 15% of brokers are currently using a standalone CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or sales automation program to help streamline their sales and marketing processes. Sales and marketing automation technology can help brokers with time-consuming tasks such as sourcing and following up on qualified leads, closing deals, and serving customers and prospects targeted content and news to engage and interest them.
Data analytics is another area for improvement; the results revealed that less than a third of brokers were using data analytics tools to provide insights into their business and performance. Data analytics can help brokers understand where there may be opportunities to cross or upsell, which customers and prospects are most likely to engage with content and marketing materials, and much more.
Are you a ‘digital broker’?
Finally, each brokerage was given a ‘digital score’ according to their tech adoption rate across five key areas. Brokers scoring 80% or higher were awarded the title of ‘digital broker’. Globally, the average digital score was 44%, showing that many brokerages have some way to go before they can be considered truly digital businesses.
Digitalisation, the survey concluded, carries huge benefits, including better customer relationships, better efficiency and accelerated growth and profitability. We expect many more businesses to make the move to digital in the coming years.