The digital revolution is expected to spread more rapidly and deeply into the insurance industry over the next few years, despite relatively modest demand from customers to date.
“Brokers should be putting digital strategy as part of their overall business strategy moving forward. It is a very important element,” said David Kerr, a partner in the technology consulting practice of Deloitte Canada in Toronto.
Only 68% of business respondents and 53% of consumer respondents to Canadian Underwriter’s 2021 Trusted Advisor survey said they currently expect digital services from their broker, with online quoting deemed the most important component of digital service by both business respondents (80%) and consumers (73%).
“It is absolutely clear that customers expect a digital offering, and that there will be a marriage point between the technology to make policies easier, reduce friction, [and] make it 24/7 — but also with support from the expertise and the advice of a broker,” said Jeff McCann, CEO of APOLLO Insurance, a Vancouver-based insurance technology company. “In terms of how much technology brokers use to better serve their customers, I think that’s going to grow increasingly quickly, and exponentially.”
McCann said he foresees expansion for brokerage digital services for payments, online claims management and secure self-serve customer portals. Those portals should allow customers 24/7 access to a quote, their existing policy, claim submissions and claims management, and also give customers the option to speak to a broker.
Providing information online for people to do their own research at their own pace is going to be critical, McCann stressed.
Kerr said that small and medium business service has become a major focus item within the insurance industry, due to a recognition of it being an underserved marketplace. For example, self-employed people working out of their homes might not have appropriate coverage for their activities — if they have coverage at all.
Kerr noted that brokerages and insurers are already focused on providing digital quotations, which currently supply minimal needs analysis. But he said attention should be focused on better needs analysis during policy servicing.
“And so that’s the challenge I think that digital services might be able to provide. This is an opportunity to improve the experience for small businesses that will allow them to purchase or modify what they need on an ongoing basis,” Kerr said.