The digitization of trust – and its impact on the insurance value chain

The digitization of trust – and its impact on the insurance value chain | Insurance Business Canada

The digitization of trust – and its impact on the insurance value chain
The following is an opinion article written by Philipp Kristian Diekhöner a leading innovation practitioner, keynote speaker and author of The Trust Economy.

Across the 21st century, tech companies have created a plethora of new platforms facilitating every conceivable aspect of our daily lives – from how we discover information (Google), to how we communicate (Facebook), date (Tinder), buy (Amazon), travel (Airbnb) and commute (Uber). In recent years, this wave has extended to upturning financial services by providing new ways to invest (Acorns), budget (Mint), bank (N26) and insure (Lemonade). What all have in common is they successfully build technology platforms that win over our trust, convincing us to take care of important aspects of our lives in entirely new ways. Technology is becoming the greatest ally in this trust building challenge. Over a decade of continuous, beneficial, largely free innovation powered by the internet is rewiring us to trust in new ways – and never has our default trust in technology been stronger than nowadays.

For most of our daily decisions, researching online is becoming automated behaviour and the default option. It’s where your clients refresh their knowledge, try to understand what’s out there and expect to find a balanced overview of the market. In fact, the picture will be skewed toward brokers who understand the value of online impressions and its effect in nurturing your reputation as the right business partner. Making it easy for clients to find whatever information they are looking for in-the-moment is extremely important. You should no longer expect them to reach for their phones by default to make a call – instead, they’ll open a tab on their mobile browser to find what they are looking for. It’s the same story for prospects looking for the right partner: whoever they find and are likely to trust online already has a significant edge. Advice, experience and human touch may not be entirely digitised yet, but digital channels are where we look for it. Digital is a part of the purchase journey, irrespective of how the deal is done. As our brains are made for habit, we can assume these behavioural patterns will be here to stay.

Beyond understanding the pivotal role digital channels play in purchase decisions and sourcing for solution providers, it’s important to appreciate the nature of this shift. As various aspects of our social lives and commercial activities are increasingly enabled by digital platforms and technologies, it makes sense to establish an eminent presence in the context in which so much of our daily interactions already happen. Our default channel for economic (read: purchase) decisions has shifted to online, and insurance isn’t exempt from this. Lacking digital presence is becoming a major friction point for clients, because it’s where they look first and maybe last. In a world of ever shortening attention spans, digital provides instant information and is easily perceived to provide a balanced and impartial perspective.

This doesn’t mean that your clients will necessarily stop relying on your advice, but you can expect them to take note of what they find online, and be influenced by it. It’s paramount to view digital outreach as way of augmenting existing communication and distribution avenues. The choice to be made isn’t whether to prioritise a digital presence over established channels, but how to make the most of them.

Mastering trust building in a digital context may seem a huge ordeal without much immediate return, but that’s only true if we do the minimum viable. Companies who natively understand digital and its role in building trust with today’s buyers end up having the edge, simply because our yardstick on what to trust has changed. It’s an exercise in future-proofing your business and the only way to avoid being left in the wake of the trust shift we are witnessing.

Make no mistake – trust will always be a key asset and value driver in any business relationship. That’s why doctors, lawyers and skilled salespeople will remain generously compensated. It is not without question, though, that they will need to adjust their strategy. As digital technology is transforming how and what we trust, our purchase behaviour in general is evolving with it – and so should your approach to building and maintaining it with your clientele.

Philipp Kristian Diekhöner believes innovation can make life better for everyone. He is a leading innovation practitioner, keynote speaker and author of The Trust Economy. Based in Singapore, he extensively travels Asia shaping the future of start-ups, corporates and markets. The views expressed within this article are not necessarily reflective of those of Insurance Business.

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