“There is a level of fear among brokers at the moment that robots are going to come and take all of the jobs across the industry,” said Brenton Charnley, co-founder of Insurtech Australia. “However, it’s important to remember that we’ve been here before – back in the 1980s.”
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Charnley – who was formerly the head of innovation at MetLife – says bank tellers were in a very similar circumstance when ATMs became widespread across Australia over 30 years ago.
However, bank teller numbers have actually increased since the introduction of ATMs, rather than decreasing, and Charnley suggests the same could happen for brokers.
“It’s a question of identifying what the value-added activity is that a broker provides in the broker-customer relationship then figuring out what they can do more of in order to add more value,” he told Insurance Business.
Ben Webster, founder of insurtech firm Insured By Us agrees – he says robots will never replace brokers but they can do some of the heavy lifting.
“Insurtech and technology people tend to give brokers a hard time without understanding what it is that brokers genuinely do,” admitted Webster, who is also the Sydney lead of Insurtech Australia.
“I don’t think that brokers will ever be replaced by insurtech because brokers are essentially relationship managers and they’re really excellent at understanding the customers and providing timely advice and support,” he told Insurance Business.
“Instead, technology and insurtech can help brokers automate the mundane, day-to-day, low-level processing they do and free up more time for them to do what they’re good at which is understanding their customers and giving good advice.”
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