For Billyard Insurance Group (BIG) CEO Stephen Billyard (pictured), who spoke to Insurance Business following the brokerage’s latest roundtable event, the future of insurance is all about making the broker’s job “less taxing”.
Billyard spoke at length about how BIG is developing software to reduce a broker’s workload, the company’s expansion efforts and why fostering connectivity is essential for the job.
“One of the hardest parts of a broker’s job is application and policy administration” Billyard said.
“Creating the accurate and timely documentation needed for a policyholder is an extensive task. All that paperwork and administrative components takes up a lot of time.”
Speaking with those on the front lines has compelled Billyard to help streamline the work of his employees to help them focus on their clients without distraction.
“Insurance brokers need to use 10 to 15 different pieces of software, different portals, different platforms,” Billyard said. “What they should be doing is advising their customers and taking care of their customers.”
BIG is undertaking the development of custom software that is meant to build out workflows and how the company does business. It has also partnered with Quandri, a Vancouver-based firm that provides bots to insurance companies looking to alleviate time-consuming manual tasks.
Insurance professionals have previously expressed mixed feelings on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning for day-to-day tasks, but Billyard was bullish on its possibilities.
“We aren’t scared to use AI,” Billyard said.
“We are more invested in how we can leverage it in the most effective way to support us and help us do our jobs better.
“The big project that we're all working on together is this technology disruption – we're investing our time, energy and money to build something special.”
Elsewhere, BIG is also undergoing a nationwide expansion, with outposts opening soon in Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, while also eyeing a presence in British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Another hot topic of discussion for brokers and brokerages at large is how to create a sense of connection among coworkers in a world where remote work is widely adopted.
What has worked for BIG is the hybrid remote model, allowing the team to have face-to-face interaction, according to Billyard.
“It allows us to get to know each other from behind the screen and discover our quirks and what makes us unique,” Billyard said.
These types of bonding moments in-office, as well as during events like BIG’s roundtable, can also have an impact on how a broker deals with a client.
“Just like us employees, not every customer is the same,” Billyard said. “We need to effectively get to know who they are and what their lives are like so we can improve together.”
Aside from building communication skills, team building events also help foster interpersonal connections, which for Billyard is crucial when dealing with policyholders and their unique concerns.
“This is why an event like this has a healthy dose of bonding time,” Billyard said. “We really missed these opportunities for two and a half years, and it is nice to be able to destress among each other and remember that we are more than just our work obligations.”