A better customer experience and the more focused use of data are expected to factor among the topics of conversation at the annual gathering of insurance technologists who meet next week in Las Vegas, according to consultants.
More than 6,000 industry leaders and innovators are expected at this year’s InsureTechConnect conference. Here are some of the subjects expected to be discussed during the convention.
- The customer experience/engagement: Whether an insurance company customer is an agent or a policyholder, many technology start-ups want to improve industry “touchpoints” to provide a smooth, seamless experience.
- Better use of data/analytics: Start-ups are working on technologies that convert handwritten applications into digital format imported directly into agents' customer relationship management systems.
- Suitability: With a fiduciary mindset infusing many aspects of the industry, start-ups are developing new software to address portfolio risk.
“There’s a lot going on,” said Chris Eberly, vice president of research and consulting for the consulting firm Novarica.
Faster, cheaper and better – or the Amazon-ification of a retail sale – has by and large benefited the insurer-consumer axis, but not so much the carrier-agent or agent-consumer axis.
A Pendulum Swing
The pendulum is expected to swing in the direction of agents as start-ups work to improve agent-centric technologies as well as integrate agency and insurer systems. This is an area that has stagnated somewhat over the past few years as insurers have focused on consumers.
“I suspect that’s going to change drastically in the next year or two,” in favor of the agent, said Samantha Chow, senior life and annuity analyst with Aité Group, a financial services consultancy. “You have to offer the same great experience from the carrier to the consumer as you do from the carrier to the agent to the consumer.”
Insurance technology start-ups are pushing the boundaries of face-to-face digital interactions using Skype and webcams, she said.
Surfly, which has pioneered “co-browsing” and video chat between an agent and a client, allows agents to interact via an internet browser instead of through telephone or email.
The result is an experience equal to that of a face-to-face meeting as well as shorter sales cycle times, the company said.
Meanwhile, new claims solutions that help insurance companies and agents with beneficiaries present big opportunities for start-up Benekiva, founded by advisor Brent Williams.
Benekiva’s tools help support agents with suggestions on how the beneficiary can make the best use of a $1 million claim.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected]
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