By Wimpie van Der Merwe, CEO, Global Choices
The insurance industry is undergoing a significant shift, where the total customer experience now holds greater importance than price and product offerings. This poses a challenge for insurance brokers, who must establish seamless connections and ensure constant availability to effectively communicate, engage, advise, and satisfy their customers across various channels and digital devices, 24/7.
To thrive in this evolving landscape, brokers need to adapt and remain relevant. While digital ecosystems are transforming the industry, brokers still have a crucial role to play in providing independent and trusted advice to customers. To secure their future success, insurance brokers must embrace digital sophistication and shift their focus towards offering strategic advice, meeting the demands of today’s connected customers for transparency and control. Early adoption of digital technologies and strategies can yield substantial rewards, enabling brokers to stay ahead of the curve.
As technology continues to advance, insurance brokers must strike a balance between safeguarding and strengthening their core business and exploring new strategies that add value and assistance to their customers. A designed total experience ecosystem can serve as a powerful tool to achieve both objectives effectively.
By leveraging a total experience ecosystem, brokers can enhance the customer experience by integrating various channels and touchpoints. This not only provides consistent and personalised service throughout the insurance journey, but also builds stronger customer relationships. Such ecosystems also offer brokers valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences, enabling them to tailor their services and offerings accordingly and to evolve continuously.
Accommodating the demographic transition
Brokers will need to balance the needs of our new and younger generations with those of older ones, including the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, who do not have the same preferences or aptitude with digital interactions. It is important to remember that the customer and employee demographic combination will change dramatically between now and 2030, when digital natives will make up half of South Africa’s adult population.
Brokers must align the needs of younger digital natives with those of older generations. It’s crucial to understand digital natives’ unique attitudes towards risk, such as their methodical information-gathering approach and practical responses to crises. This generation values trust, flexible solutions, simplification, and a holistic view to manage different areas of their lives. As this group continues to mature and gain experience, they will shape the economy and dictate risk products and insurer talent recruitment. Insurance brokers must develop added value and digital services to manage the diverse risk needs of this rapidly changing demographic.
The concept of the 24Hour Broker Assistance hub
The concept of “assistance services” revolves around providing help and support during emergencies or risk events. These services go beyond the traditional monetary support offered by standard insurance coverage and aim to directly assist customers in situations of loss or emergency. They are typically linked to insurance coverage on life, property, or motor vehicles.
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Value-added services related to assistance are wide-ranging and extend beyond insurance coverage, especially in emergency situations. They encompass more than just financial support and immediate customer care at the time of loss. These services are designed to offer long-term benefits under the broker’s brand. Some examples include:
- Risk mitigation strategies, advice, services, and support.
- Coordinating and scheduling regular car maintenance and safety checks through a partner network, including license renewal reminders, fine payments, and RAF claims. Additionally, services such as motor vehicle valuations and driver monitoring, support, crash detection, and response services can be provided.
- Coordinating and scheduling regular home maintenance, such as geysers, or gas safety, fire or lighting risk, and security checks through a partner network. This can include monitoring solutions and devices for geysers, smoke detectors, and security cameras. Issuing compliance certificates or property valuations can also be part of the service.
- Branded 24-hour call centre (for assistance services and first notice of loss (FNOL)), branded WhatsApp channel (for claims policy queries and assistance services), branded assist app and webservices.
- Medical emergency response and private hospital guarantees, along with trauma counselling or medication reminders.
- Crime victim assistance and response.
- Monitoring and warning services for risky weather conditions, such as lightning or hail, provided through digital channels like apps, social media, or WhatsApp notifications.
- Security services, including armed response to panic button locations.
- Preventative services like home-safe chauffeur services to prevent drinking and driving.
- Fast track claims, prepopulated digital claim forms, self-service portals, and FNOL solutions.
- Funeral assistance.
- Concierge services.
- Body repatriation services.
- Compiling risk reports and risk improvements, asset registers and providing asset valuations.
“Assistance services” have evolved to become a broader risk facilitation and assistance ecosystem solution, aiming to help customers avoid loss and protect what matters most to them. This includes educating them about the unique aspects of their health, security, property, vehicles, and valuable assets, as well as the risks and regular maintenance associated with them. Risk management is a crucial aspect of insurance policyholders’ experience, encompassing everything from ensuring proper coverage and protection, to emergency preparedness and loss prevention. It is important to develop assistance and value-added services that effectively minimise the demands placed on customers by their insurance policies to make their lives easier, help them make smarter decisions regarding risks, avoid claims, and ensure the claims process is as painless as possible.
To navigate the transformation within the insurance industry, brokers must fully comprehend the scale and nature of the changes they are facing. By embracing digital sophistication, delivering strategic advice, and harnessing the power of a total experience ecosystem, brokers can position themselves as trusted advisors in the eyes of their customers. This ultimately leads to exceptional customer experiences that differentiate them from competitors and drive long-term success and continuity.