Channel partners are important stakeholders, but complicated life insurance processes and requirements to handle paperwork-heavy operational and administrative tasks can hinder their full potential. More and more future-focused insurers are aware of the dilemma and are leveraging digital tools to support channel partners, according to the Top-10 Technology Trends in Life Insurance: 2019 report.
Digital tools empower channel partners
Advancements in automation technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) can now handle manual, repetitive tasks and the increased use of cloud technology is making digital collaboration easier.
Life insurers can beef up channel partner productivity through tools that improve customer engagement and enable agents to focus on selling the most appropriate products by freeing them of time-consuming operational activities.
One of the leading private sector life insurance companies in India, Aditya Birla Sun Life, offers its partner community a platform that streamlines customer acquisition, policy issuance, and customer support processes while providing value-added customer services.
Digital, cloud-based platforms can significantly enhance agent/broker collaboration with insurers by allowing easier document sharing, faster support and turnaround, and end-to-end customer lifecycle management.
In 2018, US-based Nationwide began a five-year journey to transform its life insurance business to a digital, real-time integrated experience that makes it simpler and more efficient for advisors and their clients. The insurer is investing in a streamlined intelligent underwriting approach; a real-time, mobile-friendly dashboard that allows advisors to check the status and information on their pending life insurance cases; and digital customer interviews to make the life insurance purchase journey more straightforward and more efficient for both customers and agents.
Insurers can also empower channel partners with cognitive document processing capabilities to sift through piles of documents and improve productivity.
Similarly significant is keeping agents motivated and inspired through their career cycle. Last year MetLife rolled out a mobile responsive and multilingual platform MetLife Career Agency Portal for its agents in Asia. The platform offers existing and prospective agents access to a range of resources and capabilities to educate, enable, and inspire them through their career cycle. It allows channel partners to find information based on their particular career stage along with advice and insights from some of MetLife’s top-performing agents in Asia.
Technology can enhance channel partner productivity
Source: Capgemini Financial Services Analysis, 2018
Digital collaboration offers numerous benefits
Digital channels can enable partners to provide services to customers more agilely. Streamlined processes improve channel partners’ efficiency and in turn, the productivity of insurance carriers. When the experience of channel partners is good it can strengthen their relationship with insurers and their willingness to collaborate.
Customer experience may also significantly pick up as channel partners focus on adding more value to customer interactions. Greater personalization in customer interactions is becoming increasingly critical as availability of personalized services has a high bearing on customer loyalty, as per the recently launched World Insurance Report 2019. In fact, 55% of tech-savvy individuals and 61.5% of large businesses said that this factor highly influences their decision to stay with their current insurer.
Gone are the days when technology is considered a threat to the agency channel. Today’s customers have indicated a clear preference for an omnichannel presence from insurers.
Rather than creating a gulf between insurers and their partners, digital tools are being effectively leveraged by the industry for even better collaboration and enhanced customer service.
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 Channel World, “Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance empowers partner community with digitization,” November 23, 2017, http://www.channelworld.in/case-study/aditya-birla-sun-life-insurance-empowers-partner-community-digitization.
 Coverager, “Nationwide’s Life Insurance Transformation,” Avi Ben-Hutta, June 20, 2018, https://coverager.com/nationwides-life-insurance-transformation.
 Life Insurance International, “MetLife launches new portal to help Asian career agents,” March 26, 2018, https://www.verdict.co.uk/life-insurance-international/news/metlife-launches-new-portal-help-asian-agents-groom-career.
 Capgemini, “World Insurance Report 2018,” https://www.capgemini.com/service/world-insurance-report-2018.