Anand Shrikhande is the founder and CEO of Quickinsure- an AI-powered online insurance portal for insurance agents in India. Quickinsure helps their clients to select the best suitable insurance policy from a basket of 20+ insurance companies.
The insurance industry has been speedingly transforming ever since the pandemic. The rate of change has only accelerated in this volatile industry. Since the spread of COVID-19 in India, people have become more serious about their healthcare and want to plan better, hence, the general and health insurance companies have seen an escalation in health claims. To meet this increase in demand of working professionals and entrepreneurs who ensure their family’s financial safety by investing in varied insurance systems, insurers are working around the clock to adapt to the new normal.
In the traditional setup, agents were appointed by the insurance companies and exclusively worked for them. In a digital world, agents are also being appointed by brokers who work with multiple insurance companies and provide access to various customers coming to their platform.
Insurance companies and brokers are now aggressively building their digital platforms. While insurance companies center their activities around their unique product offerings, brokers usually shed more importance on the needs of their customers by listing the products of multiple insurance companies.
To meet the growing demand, it is imperative for the agents to go digital. There are many advantages of insurance agents moving their work online:
- Simplified buying of insurance – Digital transformation has removed the complexities of dealing with multiple insurance agents, offering a wide range of plans, which is bound to confuse the buyer. Having an app or website where you can easily compare policies in a digestible format is the need of the hour.
- Connecting with a larger audience – By moving their work online, insurance agents aren’t bound to a single geography anymore. They can advertise their products to a larger audience which leads to increased accessibility for the customers as well. Not everyone has a decent insurance agent within their network but most people do have a smartphone – and now, that is all you need to buy insurance.
- Increased competition – While it is true that insurance agents can cater to a wider audience by going online, it is important to note that digitisation also increases the visibility of multiple agents within a specific geography. This helps customers choose from a variety of policies and select the one best suited for their needs. The increase in competition can also lead to a reduction in the costs associated with buying insurance.
- Customized services for customers – It is a well known fact digital transformation always provides a better customer experience. Traditionally, customers had to visit the nearest branch of their insurance provider or call customer care to file a claim. Now, claims can be registered online from the comfort of their homes. AI-based platforms can help insurers create personalized services for customers by mapping their specific needs and requirements. It is also important to note that customers can easily check the status of their insurance claims without the hassle of calling up customer care.
- Reduced processing time – Automating the process of filing insurance claims and managing the documents has significantly reduced the time it takes for a claim to be processed. Some insurers also offer automated payments that are directly transferred to the customer’s account once the claim is approved. Overall, this provides a more satisfactory experience for the customer and builds the insurer’s credibility.
- Better communication between insurers and customers – Insurance companies and individual agents can now use social media to inform their audience about new products and services. On the other hand, customers have multiple avenues of reaching out to their insurers (through email, social media, and in-app chats) in case they have any questions or experience any problems with their claims.
- Preventing burnout – Before digitization, insurance agents’ financial incentives depended on onboarding as many clients as possible. To do this, they had to follow multiple, inefficient processes like cold calling, door-to-door selling, and referrals. This workload of generating hot leads would cause them to burnout eventually, leading to unsatisfied customers. Through digitizing the sales processes, agents can now generate inbound leads, leaving them with enough time to pay attention to developing products and creating customized solutions for clients.
- Fortified security of personal information – With the advent of blockchain technology, the process of recording and securing personal information has become quite simple and efficient. By recording the data on virtual ledgers, insurers can reduce the amount of paperwork they, and the customer, need to keep track of while also guaranteeing increased security – something that wasn’t possible with traditional filing methods.
Digital transformation has had a twofold benefit. Firstly, it has empowered insurance agents and their businesses by redistributing the power traditionally held by big insurance companies and brokers. Secondly, it has opened up ways to provide better customer satisfaction. As acceptance of tech platforms has increased, so has the transparency of data shared among the many entities involved in buying/selling insurance. Soon, we can hope to see all insurance companies and agents move their business online.