Business has entered the second significant revolution in its history - the digital revolution. Markets and industries are changing rapidly from advancements in technology and the use of the Internet. Owners and leaders of businesses who are reluctant to embrace this new way of doing business risk the health and possible future of their company.
In this new world, the days of having advanced notice that sales are declining or more importantly, having the time to be able to react and correct the situation are over. In this new digital revolution, sales will be there one day and gone the next. You either stay relevant with technology or you fall behind.
In particular, the insurance market is going through radical changes. The way submissions and risks are processed and underwritten is evolving on a daily basis. Brokers have to change their approach when dealing with customers and need to prove their importance and relevance on every account.
Here are four ways a digital e-commerce approach will be beneficial for insurance brokers:
Controlling your carrier markets:
The traditional method for getting a quote from a carrier is to send out a mass email submission to your top markets (with a wish and a prayer) in the hopes the underwriter is in the office and can process your submission before your competitors. The really frustrating aspect of sending out mass email submissions is finding that the markets you are contacting are already blocked by a competitor. The other frustrating aspect is waiting days by your computer, only to find out that the carrier is no longer a market for this particular type of risk. Using an online portal allows you to select and reserve with the markets that best fi t your account.
You know instantly that the account is reserved and that you control the market.
Quoting when you want to:
One of the biggest factors that draws brokers to internet portals is that these systems provide a freedom to brokers they traditionally haven’t experienced before with online carrier portals. It allows brokers the flexibility to quote accounts from anywhere, and it also releases them from the normal time constraint of 9AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday that they experience when working directly with traditional underwriters. Most online systems are Internet-based and can be accessed from any computer with online capabilities. This revolutionizes the way brokers can access insurance carriers and drastically cuts the time between when a broker submits an account and when they receive a quote, putting the power back in the hands of the broker.
Speaking to your underwriter in real time:
Most online portals have a “chat” feature that allows clients to conduct an “instant chat” discussion with an underwriter while still working on their application. If the user gets stuck while filling out their application, some systems have built in software that allow the underwriter to take control of the user’s curser and help the user identify problems in the application. The chat feature can eliminate uncertainty about risk appetite and gives brokers the peace of mind that the broker has placed the right piece of business with the right market.
Policy documents when you want them:
At the time of binding an account with an online portal, the user instantly receives a copy of the policy and invoice so they can send the documents out to their client. Another valuable feature is that these documents are in a permanent depository, which can be accessed at any time to retrieve or replace lost documents. This helps to do away with the added time of sending emails and calling carriers to get or replace documents. Policy documents when you want them: At the time of binding an account with an online portal, the user instantly receives a copy of the policy and invoice so they can send the documents out to their client. Another valuable feature is that these documents are in a permanent depository, which can be accessed at any time to retrieve or replace lost documents. This helps to do away with the added time of sending emails and calling carriers to get or replace documents.
The new business environment contains many new challenges and opportunities. The speed of online underwriting allows brokers to obtain efficiencies and enables them to concentrate on growing their book of business. Brokers who build a digital e-commerce strategy into their business model are going to work faster, turn more submissions around and thrive as part of the new digital revolution.
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Kevin E. Mooney, Senior Vice- President of Torus eCommerce. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.