Tools and technology have always changed our world. From early humans learning to use tools to make hunting more efficient to steam-powered machines changing history during the 1800s, innovations have allowed people to save time and caused society to flourish.
We’re seeing the same efficiencies and time-savers now from digitization designed to improve customer experience technology. Tools to make the insurance and risk management world more straightforward, faster, and more accurate are emerging every day. Some of these innovations directly help customers, while others are geared for back-end workflows.
But whatever the technology is, one thing is clear — tools don’t work well without people using them. The next significant advancements in the insurance world will come from combining digitization with personal expertise.
Evan Greenberg, Chubb CEO, spoke at ITC Vegas 2021 about the future of technology and the traditional carriers and agency model. His comments reassured many from the traditional agency model when he noted: “Insurance is the art and science of taking risk.” Technology can give us the scientific side of the equation, but we need people to provide the art of interpretation.
Digitizing the Customer Journey
Insurance processes and workflows are ripe for innovation. Any manual process you’re doing today could perhaps be digitized and done faster by a machine. This frees up your time to focus on the tasks that require human expertise — and agents who master this combined approach to workflows could see an advantage.
Chatbots take over simple questions.
One way to begin digitizing processes at your agency is with chatbots. Program the bot to answer the simple, repetitive questions you waste time on every day, then consider how much time you’re saving. Customers asking for telephone numbers, account details, payment help, or copies of ID cards could be managed by your chatbot, leaving you free to step in when the questions get too complex for the bot.
Combine your personal touch with the chatbot for the best customer experience. Customers get quick responses from the bot when they have simple questions. Then the bot can seamlessly transition the customer to a person when the questions get too complicated.
Anticipate your customer’s needs with AI.
Use artificial intelligence to predict what your customer might need next. For example, let your systems show you which customers don’t have both an auto and home policy with you. Then use the data to market relevant products to your customer.
Combining your expertise with what your system tells you leads to a win-win situation. One example is knowing in advance when your customer is going through major life events, like having a child, getting married, retiring, or having a teenager become a driver. Being aware of these life events is the first step — next up, use your expertise to market the right insurance solutions to your customer.
Streamline document management.
Consider how much time you spend reading or scanning documents for the important details and transferring data from documents to your system. Not only does this take time, but it also introduces room for error. Manual processes are always at risk for human errors, like transposing a number or missing a line item.
Innovations in technology can help. OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, allows machines to grab relevant parts of documents and transfer them to your system. An OCR program could eliminate many repetitive data entry tasks like copying policy details or reviewing claims records.
Using OCR technology helps you review records more quickly — and it lets you focus on the important parts of the records you need to see right away. Spending your time on issues like fixing errors in CLUE reports rather than data entry lets you use your experience to help your customers better.
Try electronic signature.
If you’re not already using an electronic signature vendor, you might consider investing in this technology. More and more insurance documents can be e-signed and still be accepted by courts and commissioners so take advantage of this time and money saver.
Think about ways to use e-signature along with a personal customer experience. Some agents email documents to their customers then walk them through the document during a call. Others follow up with a personal thanks after receiving the signed documents back. Find creative ways to work in e-signature to your customer interactions while still giving your customer the personalized help they need from you.
What’s Next for Agents?
So with all these innovations, you may be wondering what’s next for agents. And it’s good news – insurance is still a personal business! Technology and innovative tools can only go so far in managing nuance and details, which is a huge part of risk management and insurance. The people lend the artistic side, as Greenberg pointed out.
People are needed to work together with the technology to interpret results and apply them. Agents are best positioned to advise their clients and using technology to give better advice makes good business sense. Replacing manual tasks with digitization reduces errors and lets agents focus on the people side of the business.
Combining your human expertise with technology creates a better customer experience. Try some or all of the tools we mentioned and share your thoughts in the comments.
Read More About Technology for Agents
Find other informative resources about digitizing the customer journey from the American Agents Alliance. We have member resources and free information on our blog designed especially to help agents and brokers thrive. Working together with technology and innovation helps agents make the best use of digitization. Learn more by becoming a member of the American Agents Alliance today!