Achieve greater operational efficiency
and build stronger customer relationships
By Jason Keck
Insurtech spending in the U.K. and the U.S. is expected to increase by over 25% between 2022 and 2026, according to an Insider Intelligence article. And as we head into the new year, it’s clear that to succeed, agents must adapt to an ever-evolving and tech-focused world.
For agents looking to thrive in this dynamic environment, staying ahead of the curve and embracing technology is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. Forbes recently reported that utilizing AI and intelligent robotic process automation (RPA)—just one sector within insurtech—increased operational efficiency by 60%.
The digital landscape is shaping a new reality for insurance agents, demanding a shift in both mindset and approach. From AI-powered tools and data analytics that support claims processing to automation and client-focused tools that increase access and convenience and create personalized customer experiences—the future of insurance agency operations is undeniably intertwined with technology.
So, how can agents use the latest insurtech to reach new business heights?
Experiment with AI through insurtechs
A famous quote says, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” So, when it comes to innovation and creating solutions for their agency, successful agents must experiment with the latest insurtech—particularly AI—to advance their internal processes.
While AI presents immense potential for insurance agents, most need more expertise than they possess in-house to apply AI effectively. Partnering with companies providing pre-built AI solutions is the most practical and effective approach, according to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (Big “I”).
AI offers a plethora of tools and benefits for insurance agents as it can not only automate tedious and repetitive tasks, like application data entry, but industry professionals can also leverage its analytical capabilities to deep-dive into client data, generate insights, and improve customer service.
Let’s take a look at some key ways AI can assist agents:
- Data ingestion. Agents can use AI tools to convert unstructured data to structured data. This process allows the AI to extract relevant information like claims forms, photos, and videos. With AI image identification, insurance teams can automate key stages of the claims process, such as verifying information and assessing damage. This leads to faster claim resolution times and reduces administrative burdens for agents. Gaya, Sensible, and Hyperscience all offer data ingestion and structuring tools.
- AI-powered chatbots. Chatbots can supercharge customer service as these 24/7 assistants are ideal for initial client contact, as well as ongoing service requests. Research from Deloitte found that using AI-powered chatbots can decrease customer service handling time by 77%. Popular AI chatbot providers within the insurance industry include the IBM Watsonxtm Assistant and Ushur.
- Policy checking. AI software can undertake the arduous and time-consuming task of policy checking. For example, agents can employ AI to ensure that the policy delivered to them by the carrier includes the coverage they requested when they submitted the application and agreed to terms.
In general, agents can automate their workflows and streamline processes by experimenting and investing in AI, minimizing manual errors and delays. This translates to faster task turnaround times, improved claims resolution speed, and quicker policy issuance.
Moreover, increased assistance and automation from AI solutions also frees up valuable time for insurance agents to focus on high-value activities like client acquisition, relationship building, and complex case management. This reduction in the reliance on manual labor can lead to significant savings. An Accenture report estimated that with AI adoption, a medium-sized insurance company could reduce operating expenses from anywhere between 10% to 30% due to increased efficiency.
As a result, when looking into 2024 and beyond, agents will increasingly upskill for a hybrid role: The agent of the future will be a tech-savvy advisor, able to interpret AI insights and guide clients through increasingly automated processes.
Commit to customer-centric technology
From AI-powered tools
and data analytics … to
automation and client-focused tools …
the future of insurance agency
operations is undeniably intertwined with technology.
Gartner research has shown that 81% of businesses compete mostly or entirely based on customer satisfaction. In 2024, client expectations are shifting towards a tech-driven experience, emphasizing speed and ease throughout the insurance process. A 2022 Deloitte survey showed that 60% of customers clearly prefer purchasing insurance through digital channels.
Agencies want to find and provide the best policies for their clients. So, when investing in technology that enhances the customer experience, agents must ensure they’re aligning their customer-centric technology with consumer needs.
Some of the most demanded services in insurance include policy access, online applications, and certificate access and management. Here are some client-focused digital tools that can help:
Digital tools provide
customers with real-time updates
and transparent information about their policies,
claims, and financial transactions.
- Policy portals. These convenient online access points allow customers to complete a wide range of actions regarding their policy, from viewing, managing, and renewing policies to initiating and tracking the status of claims. A portal allows customers instant access to all their details at any time. Some companies that offer this infrastructure include Vertafore’s InsurLinktm, GloveBox, Canopy Connect, and Acturis.
- Submission assistance. One of the most challenging and time-consuming aspects of every policy purchase/renewal is the application process, with documents and PDFs being forwarded back and forth between clients and agents many times to get the correct information for an accurate policy. However, submission tools help customers by simplifying this process.Some of these submission tools include auto-filling repeat information through customer relationship management (CRM) integrations, using pre-built templates, and automating carrier communication. Businesses that provide this type of assistance are Broker Buddha, DataCrest, and Talage.
- Certificate management. Managing certificates of insurance can be time-consuming and prone to errors, especially with traditional paper-based systems. However, management tools streamline the process by pre-populating certificates, verifying coverage in real-time, and storing them securely—providing clients with real-time access to their certificates.
By automating processes, ensuring accuracy, and providing convenient access to information, these tools contribute to a more efficient, transparent, and user-friendly experience for agents and customers. Agents can leverage these benefits through companies like TrustLayer and myCOI.
Digital tools provide customers with real-time updates and transparent information about their policies, claims, and financial transactions. By offering innovative digital tools and a seamless online experience, agencies can attract new customers and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Additionally, customer data analytics extracted from digital-facing tools power tailored recommendations, offers, and communication to individual customer needs, increasing satisfaction and loyalty. Capturing data on customer behavior and trends enables agencies to optimize pricing strategies, product offerings, and marketing campaigns based on their unique clientele.
All in all, insurance agencies can achieve greater operational efficiency and build stronger customer relationships by embracing customer-centric technology and prioritizing their clients’ needs.
The key to success lies not in simply adopting technology but in understanding its potential and leveraging it strategically. Technology is not about replacing the human element of insurance but rather complementing it and enabling agents to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency, personalization, and success.
With 2024 dawning, agents must adopt cutting-edge technologies to propel their businesses forward and compete.
Jason Keck is the founder and CEO of Broker Buddha, an innovative insurtech changing the way insurance is bought and sold. He is a seasoned technology entrepreneur and brings 20 years of experience across digital and mobile platforms to the insurance industry. Before founding Broker Buddha, Jason led business development teams at industry unicorns, including Shazam and Tumblr. A Harvard graduate with a degree in Computer Science, Jason also worked at Accenture and Nextel prior to building innovative brands and gaining success in the startup world.