#GuidewireConnections: Online retail giants: Friends or foes to insurance carriers?

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The entrance into the insurance market by retail companies Google and Amazon is providing a different experience for consumers, as these retail giants are farther advanced with their online experiences than most insurance companies are today. However, this non-traditional type insurer is now even attracting independent agents who are choosing to work with them, due to their flexibility and ability to deliver products and services quicker.

Three trends show that expectations are changing as online capabilities expand:

  1. 50,000 people moved their existing auto insurance and placed it with a tech company in the last 12 months. “Technology is offering our clients a lot more time and at often warp speed,” said Insurance Business America.” It gives consumers the ability to broadly shop their options, meet detailed regulatory requirements, process existing manual workflows, and finalize their insurance purchase, almost instantly. As a result, insurance agents and agencies are being held to a new higher standard related to not only the quality of the client deliverable, but the time consumed in the insurance process.”
  2. Google Compare (Google’s auto insurance comparison website) stated research that shows many users find it helpful to discuss their purchase with a local agent. “Now when comparing insurers, you’ll have the ability to buy online or call a local agent to get help with your policy,” said Stephanie Cuthbertson, group product manager for Google Compare. “This includes support for insurers’ own agent networks, and independent agents.”
  3. One of top three reasons cited for agents leaving carriers is “declining or unsatisfactory customer service and support. Many commented on the importance of ease of working with carriers, including customer service and support as well as responsiveness and timely handling of issues,” according to Insurance Journal.

If Google is using agents, then traditional insurers better work hard to keep theirs happy

What is to become of traditional insurance insurers’ ability to compete with these online retail giants? Not only for consumers’ selection, but now even the independent agent model is starting to lean more towards working with them. No doubt that this is happening in the market and the traditional insurers must now course correct and work quickly to bring their services up to par with these new competitors.

What’s the first step?

Agents and customers alike expect information to be readily available any time any device. They have an expectation that they have an easy experience. Digital failure is not an option.

As the digital world gets bigger and the Information Age continues to evolve, the insurance world as it is today will continue to change and look much different. The impact of the technology will change the way we work, the way we interact, and the way manage internal processes. People, Process and Content will be connected in new ways that haven’t even been recognized yet. How consumers interact with us will become even more dynamic, their expectations will continue to evolve at a faster pace than we have ever known.

What will be the impact of both internal and external influences to the carrier? How will the next generation of information management technologies adapt to the new normal? What can you do to prepare your organization for the future of work management and business process automation?

To find out how more insurers are leveraging improved information strategies integrated with portals and core systems to provide competitive advantage, help improve their global relationships, and improve the ease to do business with them, visit the OnBase by Hyland booth (P2) at #GuidewireConnections.

Or attend the session: Insurer-Agency Connectivity: How to Make Your Company the “Insurer of Choice” with Agents.

Ruth Fisk

Ruth Fisk has more than 25 years of experience working within the insurance industry and is a foremost expert on the practical application of EDMS technology. In her role as Global Director for Insurance at Hyland, she has travelled to more than 90 countries helping insurance organizations to successfully reduce operating expenses, increase efficiency, and positively impact their bottom lines.

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