Digital Acceleration: Agents Are Customers Too
Celent’s recently published “2021 Annual CIO Survey Results: North American Life Insurance Priorities and Pressures” provided great insight into the needs (and wants) of today’s life insurance carriers. The report highlighted top priorities, what drives investments, the impact of COVID-19, and even a newcomer to the priority list – the increased need for cybersecurity. But, to no one’s surprise, digital was named a key focus.
Digital acceleration holds the key to accelerated growth, with enhancing the customer experience the most talked about issue in the industry. But what about agents? When an agent is happy with a carrier and the experience of performing quotes, illustrations and applications – as well as their experience during the underwriting process for THEIR customer, the policyholder, everyone is happy.
How can digital accelerators help your agents?
- Enhanced Agent Portals: Information presented here needs to be easy to find, easy to use, and provide useful data that can help them with lead generation and customer management.
- Back-Office Digital Acceleration: Integration to your back-office systems are a must. If agents can’t get the information that they need to easily sell, upsell or cross sell your products they’ll use another carrier.
- Home Office Communication: An easy way for an agent to exchange information, see possible contacts, view inquiries from new customers via the website, receive notification of policyholder life events, and regular updates on client and policy activities is extremely important. This not only provides good service to your agent but to your collective customer, as well.
The average age of life agents has been in the late 50’s for many years now, and this is going to start to change. Agents are entering the insurance workforce younger and are generally more technologically savvy regardless of their age. Their expectations of technology are different and evolving. A comprehensive digital ecosystem can provide the tools and capabilities expected by this new generation, driven by a more virtual buying experience stemming from the core technology systems out to the agent toolkit, with more modern features expected.
If an agent is happy with the tools that are provided, then they are more inclined to write business with you and better quality business too. For an agent to act on leads, the process needs to be easy and enjoyable, and include the following:
- Accessibility: 24/7 and available virtually
- User Friendly: Quotes and Illustrations should run effortlessly and be easy to use and comprehensive.
- Professional Presentation: Whether virtually or in person, Agents need to show the best product fit for their customers in a clear, precise presentation.
- Digital Accelerators: Technology to support the above and more via chat/video/document sharing and the accessibility of information and data.
While it is obvious that using digital enablers to enhance your agents experience is key to driving growth, it doesn’t stop there. To effectively maintain a strong relationship with the agent community, your systems must take advantage of each other, and digital toolkits to make the information you are sharing must be accessible, actionable and useful. Ongoing servicing and management of the customer (with the agent) after issue and ongoing, during the life of the policy, is equally important.
We all know digital is the key to growth. What must be remembered is that in order to acquire happy customers, you must make your agents happy too.