Automation and machine learning have digitized core processes and enabled independent marketing organizations to reevaluate their role.
Traditional insurance processes such as underwriting are overhauled by algorithms, and practice and management planning tools are becoming platform based. As a result, IMOs with the appetite and ability to analyze big data and accurately forecast customer product and channel engagement demands will outsmart the competition.
How Are IMOs Evolving?
Customer-centric products are on the rise as risk profiles are honed by AI-generated data and customers expect coverage that blurs the line between business and personal protection. Many IMOs are restructuring to reflect this shift and to offer agents and carriers flexible distribution channels.
Sales cycle processes have been expedited by IMOs that embrace technology. Blockchain payment systems, AI-generated customer analytics, platforms that guide agents through personalized customer interactions and support practice management and improved analytics, voice-to-CRM apps that instantly record meeting data - all streamline engagement.
Interacting with customers off-line is becoming a novel experience, and IMOs seek to incorporate real-life experiences into marketing. Digital platforms, such as the metaverse, are being explored to offer the next generation of virtual policy shopping experience and to compliment the agent’s educational and empathetic advisory role.
AI and big data collation also have enabled IMOs to accelerate, automate and enhance the lead generation process. With less time and fewer resources absorbed by lead generation, IMOs are better placed to focus on recruitment and business expansion.
How Is The Redefinition Of IMOs Impacting Agents?
Successful agents recognize the need to marry technology with the power of human risk assessment, decision-making and relationships. In a recent EY survey, 51% of agents believed that the insurance industry is only somewhat ready to engage with customers remotely and digitally. IMOs and agents who have embraced this digital reality are now leading operators in their field.
Improved digital lead generation and a refined sales process at IMOs have enabled agents to expand their operations at an accelerated rate. The 2021 National Association of Professional Insurance Agents survey of independent agents, revealed a significant increase in overall gross income earnings. The number of independent agencies reporting that their earnings increased, rose by 19.2% from 2020 to 2021. The results also indicated that agents are increasingly accepting that digital relationships are critical to providing a personalized customer experience. This goes far beyond traditional online transaction processing, such as organizing premium payments and claims.
What Digital Attributes Should Agents Consider When Choosing An IMO?
IMOS that amplify agents’ digital presence by offering business dashboards to manage prospect and carrier communications or omnichannel marketing provide critical multitiered back office support.
To run a successful practice, agents need IMOs to deliver data-driven digital marketing campaigns that connect with prospects in the right way, at the right time and with the right messaging. The best IMOs also have a bank of educational thought leadership, advertising graphics and seminar events on hand for agents to leverage as engagement hooks.
Ensuring that the quoting, contracting and payment processes run smoothly is equally important. Chatbots are a helpful tool for reducing wait times and assisting prospects during early stages of the sales cycle, while scheduling software simplifies virtual or in-person engagements for closing deals.
By automating engagement tasks such as meeting reminders, contract document sharing and compliance notifications, digitally savvy IMOs minimize the administrative burden, optimize agent sales time and enhance the customer experience.
Smart insurtech is becoming embedded into IMOs’ structure and scope. Agents must weigh short-term commission against back-office investment. For those looking to grow and adapt to shifting customer demands, identifying IMOs that have the digital infrastructure to keep pace could make all the difference to margins over the longer term.
Dave Kriz is head of sales with Hey DAN and Fugent, which deliver AI-based voice-to- CRM transcription and territory management services. He may be contacted at [email protected].