With on-demand digital platforms and the e-commerce industry consistently raising the game when it comes to customer service, insurers and brokers are under pressure to keep up. There are lots of tools, like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and analytics-based decisioning, that insurance carriers and brokers can use to raise their game and offer a next-level customer experience – they simply work out how to incorporate those solutions in the most efficient manner and in the best interests of their customers.
One area where AI is being used more frequently today is in insurance marketing, according to Kevin Deveau (pictured), vice president & managing director, FICO Canada, and head of NORAM Insurance. He commented: “Insurers and brokers are thinking about questions like: ‘How do we improve the customer journey? What is the next best action or the next best arc for us to offer?’ Insurers and brokers have multiple touch points with the customer. They might call you up and let you know they’re buying a house or they have a new family member, and using AI-enabled decisioning, insurers and brokers should be able to propose insurance solutions in real time for those different life events.
“Some insurers are already doing it, but I don’t think many are up to the level that new technology and capabilities would enable them to reach. Furthermore, whether insurance companies invest in AI, machine learning or analytics-based decisioning, they also need to think about the concept of bringing all of that data together in real time, so that they can make the best offers to customers at the right point in time, through the right distribution channel, and on the right device. There are lots of additional factors for companies to consider if they want to do this successfully.”
In the insurance space, there’s often a question of: ‘Who owns the customer? Is it the broker and agent, or is it the insurance company?’ FICO considers AI decisioning technology to be an investment from the insurance side of the house. As Deveau pointed out, most insurers already have the data they need in order to offer real-time insurance solutions; they just need to “consolidate and harness it” more efficiently, and then make that available to the brokers so that the customer can have a great experience through all distribution channels.
One company focused on enabling more streamlined relationships between carriers, brokers and end-clients is Sapiens International Corporation. Colleen Wells (pictured below), vice president of product strategy at Sapiens International said she believes there’s a bit of a gap in terms of the tools and solutions carriers are offering to their broker distribution partners.
“That’s one of the areas that I think about from a customer experience perspective,” she said. “The brokers and agents are also customers of the insurers, and they want the tools and capabilities so that they can best service their customers, who are the insureds. I think there’s a gap there, but also from a broker and agent perspective, that way of business is going to change in terms of the tools carriers will start offering. There’s still a huge relationship between a broker and an insured, and that won’t go away. That model will stick around, but it’s going to change over time, and we’ll have to service that.”
The AI-driven insurance marketing and decisioning that Deveau encourages insurers to invest in will enable the future longevity and success of the broker channel, as long as “the technology, the people, and the processes” are all consolidated in one paradigm.
“It’s all about streamlining the process to make the interaction with the customer more relevant,” Deveau told Insurance Business. “When a customer makes contact, whether it’s through the broker or the insurer, we can now use analytics and AI-driven decisioning to predict what may be of interest to that customer and offer something additional that’s going to be relevant to them. Harnessing all of that information in real time (because almost all interactions are going to be real time) will provide the service and experience that the customer today is looking for, and it will also trigger that extra reaction of: ‘Wow, you really know me if you’re offering me that.’”