The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company has strengthened its commitment to independent insurance brokers across Canada with the launch of a brand-new broker platform.
The new platform is a one-stop shop where brokers can access tools and resources from Wawanesa. They can access the Wawanesa systems they rely on to do business, they can submit claims and direct bill payments, they can view reports and comprehensive dashboards, and they can access manuals, marketing materials, and continuing education.
Using Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) software, the new broker platform is designed to make Wawanesa “the easiest insurer in Canada to do business with,” according to Graham Haigh, Wawanesa’s SVP and chief marketing officer. It was built hand-in-hand with brokers across Canada, with the mentality of “by brokers, for brokers” – and it was immediately well-received, with over 12,500 brokers signing up and engaging with the platform within three days of its launch.
Wawanesa is now working to ensure a seamless transition from its legacy broker portal to the modernized platform. Haigh commented: “Our legacy broker portal is about 10-years-old, and it was starting to show wear. It functioned, but it certainly wasn’t customizable to each individual broker. On our new platform, brokers across Canada can set up their own unique profile, determine what workflow they want with us, and customize how they want to interact with us.”
Some of the new features in the portal are a global search capability, a customer 360 view – where a broker can look up all of the policies and coverages that a customer has with them through Wawanesa, web chat capabilities for brokers to access the Wawanesa team, and a transparent feedback loop whereby brokers can see how Wawanesa is addressing any issues they have raised.
“It is a completely updated and modern way for brokers to interact with us,” said Haigh, adding that Wawanesa is aiming to give its broker partners the same user-experience that end-consumers now expect. “Our vice president of broker and customer experience is responsible for the broker journey within our enterprise. We’ve identified that if we do a great job at serving brokers and making it easier for brokers to work with us, we can make their jobs easier, and the customer experience is easier.”
In collaborating with brokers to develop the new platform, Wawanesa learned a lot about how brokers view legacy portals and how they crave an easy and efficient user-experience – especially if they’re working with several different carriers and have to navigate numerous portals.
“The one finding that was particularly insightful was that reporting was probably the most important aspect of the platform to brokers,” said Haigh. “Their feedback for us was to focus on improving reporting to make it easier, more insightful, and more comprehensive. So, we’re spending a lot of time on the reporting side of the platform – and some of the functionality that we’ll be able to introduce over time is impressive, because the depth of the Salesforce software is pretty phenomenal.”
Wawanesa’s new broker platform is the latest innovation in a series of efforts to improve connectivity between the mutual insurer and its broker partners. The modernized platform builds off Wawanesa’s full implementation of Guidewire InsuranceSuite, which positioned Wawanesa as the first insurer in Canada to have all of its products available online.
The mutual insurer has also adopted numerous APIs that help make doing business easier – including a new API for commercial small business, which is fully aligned with the data standards set by the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) - and it has taken a leadership role in the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada’s D/X initiative.
Looking ahead, Haigh sees the broker channel going from strength to strength in Canada. He told Insurance Business: “Brokers have held their own with the direct-to-consumer distribution for quite some time, and when we do work like this, which is making it even easier for brokers to provide a better customer experience, we actually see the potential for brokers and intermediated distribution to make gains in Canada.
“I’ve always said that customers don’t pick a distribution model; they pick a service model. If it was easier in the past for customers to use a direct-to-consumer model, they went down that avenue not necessarily because they wanted to use a direct-to-consumer company, but because it was an easier or better service model for them. The work that we’re doing at Wawanesa, including our new broker platform, gives brokers the ability to offer a similar service experience as a direct-to-consumer model, with the added benefits of advice and advocacy.
“We’re bullish on broker distribution in Canada and think we can grow comfortably for years to come in broker distribution.”