How Traditional Agencies Can Beat Insurtech Competitors at Their Own Game
By Jeff Arnold
Insurtech. It’s a hyped topic that monopolizes every industry journal and event. Experts say it’s the future of insurance. So, if you’re a traditional retail agency, where does that leave you?
It’s all a matter of perspective. The term “insurtech” simply describes the process of leveraging technology to conduct business in new, more efficient ways. The good news is that insurtech is equal opportunity. Brick and mortar agencies are not excluded. We can all deploy insurtech, even if we aren’t inventive millennials living in Silicon Valley.
If you run a traditional retail agency, the future still belongs to you … but only if you believe in it and prepare for it. Below are 14 simple ways to beat insurtech competitors at their own game:
- Morning Kickoff. You may have Alexa at home but are you deploying her power at work? We have programmed Alexa to report on our sales volume and upcoming appointments and events at the morning kickoff each day.
- Phones. You don’t need a traditional phone at every desk anymore. Our team members work from their smartphones, while logged into a central communications app. When they dial out, it shows the company name. When calls come in, the caller selects the reason for the call, and the call is routed to the most appropriate and available team member.
- Voicemail. Nobody likes to leave a voicemail and through insurtech, we have eliminated the need to do so. Our phones are staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. During those times, a person always answers because our centralized communication app routes the call to whoever is appropriate and available. After hours, callers are directed to our website for service. Last year, we sold 367 policies through our website after 10 p.m.!
- Online Quotes and Renewals. Our proprietary, AI-driven system shops insurance from up to 42 carriers and presents the client with the top three opportunities. We manage the quote, bind and issue process online from start to finish. In the months leading up to renewal, our system emails or texts the customer asking if they’d like their coverage shopped. If so, we repeat the process. This is how we “stick” to our customers. We shop for them before they can shop us. They know we’re not complacent.
- Text Messaging. Because our team members work from smartphones, they can send and receive work-related texts using our centralized communication app. It turns out that most customers love getting insurance information texted to them.
- Signatures. Last year we sold 17,000 insurance policies. Of those policies, 99.2% were bound with an electronic signature, and in 80% of those, the signature was executed via text.
- Policy Delivery. Last year, we mailed three of the 17,000 policies sold. The others were sent via the customer’s preferred method – email or text.
- Paper. With the help of IVANS Exchange, we have completely eradicated paper (except for the occasional Post-It note). All of our carrier data is stored in the cloud and instantly accessible to anyone, anytime.
- Appointments. Our agents use an online scheduling app to allow clients to schedule phone appointments. This greatly reduces the volume of random calls coming in to the office.
- Reception. We no longer need a reception team because very few customers come to our brick and mortar office. People don’t randomly call in much, because they use our online tool to schedule time with an agent. We don’t need a receptionist to receive and route incoming calls because our central communications app automatically routes calls, according to our rules, to our team members’ smartphones. We speak to Alexa when we need to schedule a conference room.
- Chatbots. We use chatbots to respond to customers’ needs for entry level service tasks. In essence, the chatbot conducts a quick triage and triggers the next step of service, which usually involves a human.
- Information. Every team member’s smartphone is equipped with a mobile dashboard, where information can be accessed in a few clicks. This includes big picture information such as sales, web visitors and conversions for the company, as well as the policy level information required to serve customers.
- Talent. Because we are paperless and mobile, we can leverage talent from anywhere in the world. We’re headquartered in Tucson but have team members all over the states and around the world. Even our local team members work remotely at least one day a week. It’s definitely an advantage for recruiting and retention.
- Janitorial. We’ve found a way to leverage technology for cleaning too. We program our iRobots to vacuum and mop the floors every night while we’re out. Unfortunately, they don’t clean toilets … yet!
If you implement even half of these technologies, you may be more “tech” than the insurtechs you compete against. You’ll need to be ready for some tough battles though, and it won’t be easy.
You will have to win over two audiences: your customers and your team members. Customers are easy. They already have smartphones and they like convenience. If you guide them through the process of going mobile with insurance, they’re generally willing to follow you. Many like to support their local agent, so if you offer them a tech-friendly way to stay with you, they’ll choose you over a national insurtech option.
In contrast, some of your own team members won’t be so easy. They may prefer to do things the same old way and stay within their comfort zones. This is where you really have to get strategic and persistent with your change efforts. You have to build a tech-culture with buy-in and participation from everyone.
In parting, I’ll leave you with one thought: To compete in an insurtech world, you don’t have to offer something new. You can offer something old in a new way. The adoption cycle for things that are truly new takes a long time and a lot of money. On the other hand, the adoption cycle for familiar things offered in new ways is pretty fast and quickly profitable. I know where I want to be. How about you?
Jeff Arnold is the President of Rightsure Insurance Group and Inshurents.com headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. His companies provide personal and commercial lines solutions nationwide. Through his company, Motion Insurance Solutions, Jeff is also active in several joint ventures with online aggregators, comparison websites and insurance portals. Additionally, he is the author of “The Art of the Insurance Deal,” available through Amazon. Jeff is always looking for unconventional ways to succeed in the very traditional industry known as insurance. Learn more at JeffArnold.com, Rightsure.com or Inshurents.com.
Headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, RIGHTSURE is an Insurance Technology firm leveraging cutting edge products with Artificial Intelligence and Insur-tech relationships to help families and businesses in 42 states. By using a unique, client-centered approach, combined with superior technology, RIGHTSURE presents clients with a wide range of Insurance options and a seamless purchasing process. To learn more, visit https://www.rightsure.com or call 520-917-5295.