Arming Independent Insurance Agents with the Power of Data
When it comes to technology innovations, the insurance industry has traditionally been slightly behind the curve in extensively leveraging new tech in accelerating its longstanding processes.
However, players throughout the insurance value chain who have been savvy enough to invest in new tech solutions over the last seven to 10 years have seen great returns, particularly those insurance carriers who have developed proprietary tools to improve and enhance their underwriting skills.
Ironically, COVID-19 has played a significant role in spurring the insurance industry’s adoption of new technologies, particularly in the London market where such evolutionary changes were long overdue.
Michael Freilich is Chief Technology Officer of Renaissance Alliance, a successful network of independent East Coast-based insurance agencies that is at the forefront of harnessing technology tools and putting them to work for its members.
“Our mission is to continually help agencies grow, and technology plays a key role in those efforts,” says Freilich, who adds, “We’ve proven that the agencies that are members of Renaissance and who leverage our tools grow faster than the ones that don’t.”
Freilich understands well the value of applying intuitive technology to insurance buying-and-selling processes. According to digital intelligence firm ABBYY, only 22% of insurers have launched personalized, real-time digital or mobile services; 76% of insurers don’t even provide any mobile customer applications.
It’s therefore not surprising that only 15% of customers are satisfied with their insurers’ digital experience.
However, that’s good news for forward-looking leaders at the agency level, where the embrace of tech tools can help both streamline processes and drive revenue. Membership in Renaissance Alliance, he explains, removes much of the guesswork and uncertainty around implementing the right technology solutions for their agency.
“Insurance agencies and technology are not always the fastest of friends,” says Freilich. “Just like anyone, agents are sometimes hesitant to break the habits of using the systems they have known for years.” As that type of change must happen from the top down, it is agency principals who need to lead the charge – and that starts with aligning with an informed partner (such as an agency network) that can help shepherd them through the transition to better, more effective revenue-generating tools for their business.
Freilich emphasized that when considering technology upgrades, the key thing for agency principals to realize is that the introduction of such tools does not in any way replace or take away from the agent’s core value proposition – their valued role as trusted advisors. Rather, the right technology supports the agent, and helps inform and improve their capabilities in serving customers.
“We have a whole series of dashboards that can help them harness and navigate their agency’s data, more clearly identify where there are opportunities to cross-sell, and better understand their markets,” says Freilich. “Agents well-armed with the right data are those who will continue to be more successful.”
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