Insurers must action a virtual engagement model to support intermediary channels in handling the huge influx in enquiries and claims from both consumer and commercial policyholders because of COVID-19. 

Straight Talk Technology

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COVID-19 has acted as a much-needed catalyst to accelerate the digital transformation of the insurance industry. Most of this renewed urgency, however, has been focused on direct distribution models with many insurers neglecting to digitally enable their important intermediary broker and agent channels. The massive disruption caused by the pandemic has severely impacted intermediaries’ ability to follow their usual F2F client engagement model just at a time when many clients need them most.

In the immediate wake of the pandemic, insurers should be ensuring that their intermediary channels are supported in being able to handle the huge influx in enquiries and claims from both consumer and commercial policyholders. Intelligent chatbots that utilize machine learning to refine the responses offered are ideal tools to handle these high-volume queries and can be easily scaled to meet demand, freeing human resources to focus on more complex enquiries.

Beyond this, insurers must also move toward an ever-greater virtual engagement model by enhancing existing agent portals to support comprehensive virtual meeting capabilities (screen sharing, whiteboarding, multi-party calling etc.) allowing agents and their clients to replace the traditional F2F interactions. Key processes such quotation, binding/onboarding, and claims will also need to be amended to operate through portals, for example, use of business owner–submitted video and photos in the place of requiring in-person onsite inspections by an agent. Insurers should also embed AI technologies to reduce turnaround times and enhance the overall customer experience. In particular, commercial document intake processes that remain heavily paper-based should use machine learning to automate the capture, error correction, and standardization of the numerous scanned documents required even for relatively simple small commercial policies

In order to capture new commercial business opportunities emerging as a result of the pandemic, insurers should also support intermediaries through the use of customer journey analytics platforms. While an intermediated customer’s requirements are usually more complex than personal lines, effective customer journey analytics can support the client and agent in quickly arriving at an optimized insurance solution to meet a client’s needs while enhancing the overall experience and driving customer retention during a difficult time for intermediaries.

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