Easy Interactions, Tailored Advice: How to Perfect the Insurer/Broker Bond
March 30, 2022
March 30, 2022
The results of Accenture’s 2021 Market Pulse Survey (MPS) for Insurance Brokers indicate that there is a way for insurers to grow with their brokers to facilitate customer satisfaction and strengthen the insurer’s position on the market. Out of 249 Belgian brokers, we discovered key insights into the potential win-win situation between brokers and insurers.
This year’s MPS reveals that broker satisfaction remains stable and even slightly increased! For both Non-life and Life, the product offering and competitive customer rates remain the key differentiators for brokers to work with a certain insurer.
Brokers prioritize professional growth. We observe an evolution towards larger broker offices: approximately 30% of broker offices have a revenue turnover of less than 200.000 EUR. This used to be around 50% of the respondents in 2018. Although the consolidation trend continues, we still see the average age of broker managers increasing.
is the average age of a broker manager compared to an average of 50 in 2018. A majority of broker managers (59%) are older than 50 years. However, when looking at a broker office with multiple managers, we see that the age of the 2nd and 3rd manager decreases compared to the first.
There is a clear need for digitalization, without losing human connection. Due to COVID-19, many face-to-face interactions need to be replaced with ‘first-generation’ digital interactions (video, email, WhatsApp,…) and continue to rise post-pandemic. Advanced interaction channels such as Chatbots, Apps and Customer Zones, are only limited available, which indicates they are not yet fully mature. Another important increase comes from offering digital features, with the biggest increase compared to 2018 going to claim declaration, consulting policy and requesting quote for a new policy in digital ways. Key question is how brokers will find a new balance in this new world between digital channels & physical channels or will we see a return to previous levels of physical interaction.
Under the pressure of ever-increasing consumer demands, technology-driven evolution and a highly competitive market landscape, brokers will heavily rely on insurance companies and broker technology providers.
When asked about the areas of improvement with insurer interaction, brokers typically want to steer away from tasks that are administrative and repetitive. Brokers want to focus on their clients, provide tailored advice and a great customer experience.
This ambition to focus on an advisory role for the clients can also be found back in the potential for the future of the broker office. Potential growth sectors for brokers included specific segments (individuals/independents/companies) (35%) and retention of existing clients (27%). Retention is equally important as growth for smaller offices.
For the first time, there is a positive shift in brokers’ perception of technology.
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Compared to 2018, brokers are now more open toward InsurTechs; 40% of the total respondents perceive InsurTech positive, whereas most of them, 64% of the total respondents, are not (yet) using InsurTech on a day-to-day basis.
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When looking at product offerings the broker population is mainly interested in traditional business services, with a particular interest in the property claims area. Brokers didn’t show an overwhelming interest when asked about the beyond insurance (going beyond the core insurance) products or services. For the moment, the main interest goes out to services and products for senior citizens (43% of the respondents are willing to sell to the customers) and for freelancers (42% of the respondents are willing to sell to the customers).
Having a solid technological backbone offers insurers possibilities to play with data-driven, automized products and processes. Insurers need to have a strategy where business and technology priorities go hand-in-hand. By injecting these products and processes into user-centric self-servicing portals with continued transparency, both the broker and the insurer have time to focus on their core business.
Insurers can position themselves at the forefront of the industry by offering value-adding services, enabling evolutionary digital solutions and providing simple insurance products. This can be obtained by leveraging their IT landscapes and partnering with companies, or third-party service providers, that go beyond the core insurance business. These forward-thinking steps will enable the broker to be more dynamic when faced with evolving client needs.
IT landscapes and product offerings are evolving; the insurer’s workforce cannot fall behind. Insurers can play on three key levers to evolve toward a flexible, sustainable workforce: redefining workforce strategies, revolutionizing skills and attracting & retaining talent. Backlogs at insurers have a significant impact on the brokers’ experience and the service provided. A future-ready workforce will boost the insurer’s efficiency and create more servicing for both broker and client.
The product offering lies at the heart of digital experience optimization and boosting customer satisfaction. Today’s complex products are not compatible with a digital set-up, where everything needs to be understandable & easy to automate.
of the respondents claim that their insurance products are confusing and need to be simplified. (More info)
Looking in more depth, there is a decrease in how well the insurance products are explained by brokers / agents, 65% from 72% in 2019. It’s an opportunity for insurers to reinvent current product offerings by simplifying products, offering bundled contracts and adapting their products based on data-driven client needs.
Want to find out how your insurance company can accelerate growth, while servicing the broker? Want to compare your company’s performance with anonymized competitors and benchmarks? We’d be delighted to meet you for a conversation.
The full report of the results is also available here (English – Dutch – French)
This study is conducted in collaboration with Benthurst and the Belgian broker federations, FVF, Feprabel and BVVM/UPCA.