Brokers might think of insurance comparison sites as commodity channels offering no advice, but they are getting a lot of things right. Here is what insurance brokers should copy from them…
Speaking at the recent AFA conference, Chris Kirby, head of technical strategies at AMP, undertook an analysis of the “good, bad and the ugly of direct insurance”.
“It does not just have to be a case of what brokers are going up against, but what they can adopt from comparison sites,” said Kirby.
“Direct insurance has two streams: the direct insurance providers and the direct online brokers. The customer experience is vastly different based on which model the customer chooses.”
Kirby evaluated four direct online brokers for his comparison: iSelect, Choosi, Rate Detective and Lifebroker.
“I chose those four, not to pick on them, but because they represent a good cross section of the online broker market. All have high market penetration and high brand awareness,” said Kirby.
So what can you adopt?
“As soon as you enter their website you see they are offering a one-stop shop solution,” said Kirby. “They offer access to every single retail insurer and retail product. It gives the impression by using this site you have a full suite of products being offered.”
When clients visit your website, are they instantly given the impression that you will be working on their behalf and seeking the best deal from a wide berth of insurers? It is essential that this is how clients feel on arriving at your site.
“You cannot self-transact and complete your purchase on these sites, but that is the impression they give,” said Kirby.
“You get to a check point. You fill in enough information to start the process, but then it is made clear the client is going to have to contact them or they will contact the client.”
Comparison sites are generating an invaluable lead directly to a client who is interested in purchases insurance. This is not a common practice for insurance brokers and can be easily built into a broker’s online homepage.
Customer service focus
“They provide high levels of customer service, absolutely great,” said Kirby.
If you have ever spent time on the phone with a direct broker you might have spoken to a slick-speaking sales/customer service person. A great amount of detail is applied to how customers are treated and spoken to on the phone. This level of care and attention, albeit for a brief window on the phone, makes a lasting impression on customers.
There was a final word on where advice professionals should avoid competing with the direct market…
“Product, price and research is not where you should compete with the direct market – your value is in advice. Direct insurance is prepared to undercut on price to win business, so compete on areas which involve value-add,” added Kirby.