Brokers reluctant to go digital say insurers

by Maryvonne Gray 06 Oct 2014

Brokers reluctant to go digital say insurers

QBE general manager Ross Chapman says despite heavy investment and lots of work to encourage brokers to use new digital channels there has been a lack of uptake.

Chapman was appearing on an executive panel discussing industry issues at the Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand (IBANZ) Forum last week.

Responding to the question “When is the industry really going to embrace digital delivery of products and services to brokers that is distributable to our clients?”, Chapman said: “We’ve done a lot of work in this area in the last couple of years, we put in our Zip products 18 months ago.

“A broker can go into their own system, get a quote online, get the documents on line and email it to their client, and can do it in a paperless way if they wish.

“So we’re already there doing that and it is easy and it is quick, but the thing that surprises me is the lack of take-up.”

He said a small number of brokers had cottoned on really quickly and saw the benefit but it really needed more people to change the way they carry out their day to day business.

“We need to stop as an industry and ask is there a better way, and that’s the process we’re going through at the moment.

He said it was likely QBE would put pressure on at some stage, as the company had invested ‘quite a bit’ in this.

He also appealed to brokers not to sit back and wait for the insurers.

“We find there’s a reluctance but you’ve got businesses too so you need to invest in your business.”

IAG’s CEO Jacki Johnson said a key milestone for them was making their infrastructure robust last year and also that future partnerships were critical.

“The challenge I would throw out as an industry from underwriter to broker, is how do we use the digital technology in a way that gives us access and usability of the data to make decisions and help our customers make the decisions, that is the real test.

She said they had undertaken a new company-wide partnership with Google which would help them run through the analytics.

“The other issue is we need to co-create together because it’s not as simple as us giving you [brokers] a system where you can deliver something to your client, we need to then look at it from the customer end and how you’re interacting.”

Carl O’Shea, CEO at Crombie Lockwood, said a very similar discussion had been had five years ago at a previous IBANZ conference but the industry was still lagging behind.

“To me the whole digital question really comes down to what’s your whole business strategy going to be? And I think that will change from company to company.

“The advantage we’ve got today is the technology is available. I don’t think it’s that complicated to get it working and the issue is if you think about it for 3 or 4 years, in 3 or 4 years’ time the technology has moved so much you’re never going to get there.

“So our strategy is to break it down into bite size pieces, do everything we can quickly and just actually start to catch up with the rest of the world around technology because I think we are lagging behind.”
  • Perception 6/10/2014 3:12:23 p.m.
    Its got nothing to do with uptake. Its more to do with the necessity of insurance brokers having to and wanting to deal with clients face to face . It is called building a relationship and being and showing empathy . You can not do this with IT systems.
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  • Also insured 8/10/2014 11:45:29 a.m.
    Agreed. Both of the two insurers however have shown technology interest for particular groups however - NZI is interested in one or two brokers, QBE for only one platform.
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  • Perception 8/10/2014 1:02:38 p.m.
    If NZI is interested in one or two brokers one has to suspect which two are we talking about. If they plan on expecting brokers to do all business by IT I think they are deluding themselves and its this sort of thinking that has created a silo affect of them and us. You cannot gain empathy or trust over a computer screen.
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