To The Point
By Johnny McCord
Insurtech will empower insurance brokers to do what they do best—nurture relationships
Automation has a way of instilling fear in some. It’s a concern that certainly is understandable, given that automation has displaced workers across a range of industries.
Now, as insurtechs grow increasingly more sophisticated and gain traction, I recognize that same worry in the faces of insurance brokers. “Will my job be made irrelevant by strings of ones and zeroes?” they wonder. I see the writing on the wall, and I say, “in the long run, absolutely not.”
Why? At the end of the day, insurance is all about relationships—and that’s not going to change, especially in the foreseeable future. Human interaction is an essential part of life. That doesn’t change simply because we’ve swapped out our personal-life hat for the professional one.
[C]ustomers benefit from a broker’s comfort and guidance when considering emotionally charged, worst-case scenarios. Logic-driven technology simply can’t match that human touch.
And, that human interaction is especially critical when helping clients navigate how they manage risk.
I recently picked up a book called The Chimp Paradox, which seems relevant to this conversation. In it, psychiatrist Dr. Steve Peters argues that the “human” side of us, the rational side, needs to guide the logical “computer” and emotional “chimp” sides of us in order to act in alignment with our intention.
First, I’d argue that our humanity can’t be untethered from our tech if we wish to make wise and pragmatic decisions.
Second, commercial insurance market customers benefit from a broker’s comfort and guidance when considering emotionally charged, worst-case scenarios. Logic-driven technology simply can’t match that human touch.
And, in a nod to the concern out there, I think it’s this understanding of the human side of our business that many prominent insurtechs get flat-out wrong.
What do they see? An industry primed for tech evolution, and rightly so—the methodology at Lloyd’s of London has remained relatively unchanged for over 300 years. But, in their zest to disrupt, they’ve come to the table with insufficient insight into the insurance industry; they’ve arrived with a belief that technology alone can deliver the complete answer.
Hungry to drive a FinTech-like revolution— enabling our industry to offer more lines of products, accelerate customer onboarding, and fuel a money-making machine—they’re failing to see the value of the broker-client relationship, of that critical human side of the business.
Mounting wheels on new automobiles and nurturing customers are wildly different skills, after all.
Are we all looking for ways to reduce operational costs? Absolutely yes, and insurtech can get us there, but human nurturing will remain a critical component of the insurance business. And when tech is paired with the power of human nurturing, it can dramatically improve customer satisfaction—and we all want that.
After all, happy customers bring repeat business.
All that said, while I don’t see insurance brokers going anywhere, I do see the nature of their work evolving. Going forward, I expect they’ll be more narrowly focused on winning new business, opening up new lines of insurance, and nurturing existing relationships—while insurtech digitalizes the transaction of that business.
Our business evolved
So, what will this new insurance paradigm look like? For starters, brokers will be empowered to say “yes.” We know insurance isn’t about identifying good and bad risk; it’s about defining the right terms and conditions—and AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics will enable us to price the true risk on virtually anything, and in real time.
Insurtech also will enable both the frictionless distribution of coverage and real-time settlement of claims through end-to-end automated processes, reducing broker workloads, not to mention minimizing delays for the customers we value.
What’s more, dynamic products can instantly evolve to meet customers’ ever-changing needs in ways that are simply not achievable through manual processes. This is especially critical in the face of massive disruption, like the COVID pandemic, when conditions shifted in unexpected ways—and overnight.
Finally, insurtech will turn our industry’s laborious, paper-heavy renewal process on its head, simplifying renewals for both brokers and clients alike—so much so that I believe the renewal of a five-vehicle fleet, which typically takes three months through traditional processes today, can be executed in as little as 30 minutes.
Just imagine what this means for your insurance customers: Better experience, more cost savings, instant peace of mind, and—should they be faced with a loss—rapid financial recovery.
And think what this means for you: Powered by real-time data and AI, you’ll break free from today’s limitations to your business. Smart insurtech cuts out labor-intensive, error-ridden steps, delivering a complete and auto-mated cradle-to-grave flow—radically shifting the actual mechanics of trans-acting insurance while retaining the fundamental element of your business—relationships.
So, while some worry, I encourage brokers to see smart applications of technology as an effective way to drive down costs, increase efficiency, and boost sales.
Don’t fear well-designed tech—embrace it.
Johnny McCord is CEO and founder of Loadsure, an end-to-end digital cargo insurance solution. The Lloyd’s of London coverholder was a Lloyd’s Lab selection,2021 InsurTechNY Early-Stage InsurTech Competition winner, and runner-up for Insurance Insider’s 2020 Disruptor of the Year Award. Previously a cargo broker with Lochain Patrick and a founding member of Roanoke International, McCord is focused on evolving centuries-old insurance traditions to deliver greater efficiency and effectiveness to the market while holding onto a human-centric approach. For information, www.loadsure.net.