Agents and technology:Teamwork makes the dream work.
By Amir Sadiq | 17 Apr 2019
The debate on whether agents will be rendered obsolete by technology has dragged on for years. While it is easy to view it as a slugfest between the old guard and young upstart, both forces in fact share the same goal: Giving customers the assurance and protection that they pay for.
Speaking at the Asia InsurTech Summit 2019, IFPAS president Leong Sow Hoe said that consumers do not really care about fancy new technology or the interactive experiences if they cannot get the assurances that insurance products and services are supposed to deliver.
The human element
Mr Leong believes that agents still have a critical part to play in the insurance value chain as they can provide policyholders the assurances only a human touch can bring, by being present in times of crisis.
“At the end of the day a promise made is a promise kept. And when we deliver their cheques, when we deliver payments on hospital bills, we are there,” he said. “Even if there is death, disability or critical illness, we are there.”
Singapore Insurance Institute president and Chubb Asia Pacific regional head of agency development and incentives Jeanette Lim said that different types of products require varying levels of customer engagement.
She compared buying travel insurance and retirement plans to illustrate her point. Buying travel insurance online for a short holiday, bypassing the agent altogether, has become relatively common because of how quick and simple it is.
In contrast, purchasing something bulkier like a retirement plan involves navigating complex intricacies and weighing up the pros and cons of all available policies. Ms Lim said that this process would be far better served with an agent around to give advice.
Ms Lim was part of a panel at the summit alongside Stark Group CEO Matthias de Ferrieres and Huntington Partners partner digital Cristiano Pizzocheri that discussed opportunities and collaborations between AI and agents.
Empowering agents through technology
“We should think ‘human and digital’. Not ‘human or digital’ as that will do us no good,” said Mr Leong. “’Human and digital’ – where technology and online resources can complement the advice of a professional.”
The panel also unanimously agreed that technology should be used to empower agents.
“I think one way for us to really help our agents or partners is to make sure they are well versed in terms of technology,” said Ms Lim. “I think the education to make sure the agents adopt, embrace and adapt to technology is a critical mind-set change.”
“Many tools exist to help the agents organise themselves,” said Mr Pizzocheri. “What we have to do is to bring it all together and consolidate them to help the agents get their job done.”
He brought up AI chatbots that have been used by many online services in recent years. The chatbots can address simple questions customers might have, following which the query can be transferred to an agent should the conversation become more complex.
Mr de Ferrieres said that the most important thing for agents to have is data. He said that technology can be used to gather data for agents to generate leads and the meet the right people.
Matthias de Ferrieres to speak at the 20th Asia Conference on Bancassurance and Alternative Distribution Channels in Thailand
Stark Group and its disruptive solutions will be represented at the 20th Asia Conference on Bancassurance in Bangkok. Matthias de Ferrieres is invited to share his views on the Bancassurance has changed in the past years and how it embraced the Tech economy and the digital demand.
Innovation through new technologies is a key driver of change in the financial sector and this has led to immeasurable efficiency gains, even though these changes can initially be accompanied by uncertainty and doubt. The Bancassurance sector is no exception to such developments, with possibilities of new methods of service provision as well as greater opportunities for data collection, new product & services deployment.
Yet we dont observe much for the past years. What are the reasons ? Risk adverse governance, strict compliance, disorganisation, fear for innovation?
On behalf of the Asia insurance review and the its Summit, InsurTech has developed rapidly in the last few years. Since the emergence of digital labs in 2015, the industry has gone on to witness a revamped insurance landscape, shaped by the birth of startup innovations and digital insurers among others. Today, regulatory sandboxes and pilot projects are the norm.
Insurers can no longer afford to work exclusively with traditional partners in today’s digital economy; they must seek other avenues – such as e-commerce and the sharing economy – and adapt to the new reality.
But with change come new opportunities, and leveraging technology is the key to taking on the challenges in the brave new insurance world. Insurers must find ways to embed themselves in the digital ecosystem or risk being left out.
Matthias de Ferrieres will join a group of panelist to discuss about the different Challenges of Online/Digital Distribution, how does start-ups enter the insurance industry with new model, and the opportunity to digitise the Traditional Distribution Channels.
We hope many will join us as Asia insurance review team bring insights on the latest InsurTech happenings in their fourth installment of the Asia InsurTech Summit!
Stark Group designed a range of products called mi insurance.
It is a set of simple insurance products with no underwriting questions, no hidden Term & Conditions.
my insurer, the first app with an embedded mobile protection
my-insurer is a marketing platform dedicated to intermediaries. It offers many functionalities such as publishing, lead generation, policy processing, KYC & FNA.
Foremost it comes with an app for all policyholders.
With the launch of mi insurance products, my-insurer differentiates again itself as a unique platform for insurance intermediation.
mi insurance products are simple, cheap, clear and lean with single benefits. Such protection cannot be found in the insurance market. As such the platform provides a unique competitive advantage to its members that wish to offer to their customers a clear insurance that respond to their needs.
Intermediaries that use my-insurer as a marketing, leads, publishing and crm platform, have now another strong value proposition to offer to their leads, prospect to sign and download the app!
Stark Group represented by Matthias de Ferrieres (Founder and CEO) was invited to discuss about opportunities in setting up tech companies in Singapore.
The panel examined the strengths and weaknesses of creating and growing business within the Singapore environment from a Fintech perspective.
Critical topics were on data protection through ownership, storage and flow as well the talent management.
We launched my-insurer last September 2017. As a post acquisition crm, we have acquired 17,000 policyholders with the support of over 400 intermediaries. We are looking forward to achieve the 20,000 mark!
We are finalising our pre-acquisition tools, critical to Life intermediaries to generate leads and nurture prospect.
It includes :
2. Quick Health check
3. Survey capabilities
all will be dynamically integrated & editable at anytime within the intermediary (crm) & policyholder (app) facing.
We are also discussing with some of your insurance partners to integrate their product for both recommendations and acquisitions. We should be ready by February 2019.
We will be the first and only platform to offer a full yet digital sales journey that Financial Advisors and Planners are looking for.
With a very good year 2018 that showed exponential growth for the platform, my-insurer has appointed a new group of advisors to prepare the start up to achieve even more in 2019.