Globally, people’s engagement with one another is profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasingly, remote activities have replaced activities once considered vital to be conducted in person, such as physical separation. Despite physical distance measures continuing, this will affect insurance distribution in the short and long term. As we move toward the “next to normal,” society’s relationship with technology and remote interactions is constantly changing.
COVID-19 has already driven many insurance companies to move to a remote setup and expand their online customer service channels to deal with its short-term and immediate impacts. Insurers are now focusing on reimagining distribution in a remote world, one of the biggest challenges they are facing.
It will be necessary for insurers to change their distribution model in three different dimensions: customers, salespeople, and enablers. By preparing for the unpredictable, insurers can remain competitive in the future.
The Future of Distribution
1. A Shift To Digital Tools
2. The Move Towards Self-Service
3. Converting Offline Processes To Online
Agents currently handle legacy products which, from physical signatures to medical underwriting, sometimes require offline execution. A majority of customers, meanwhile, avoid taking part in physical medical underwriting due to fears of contagion. Therefore, insurers need to find ways of digitally underwriting the business-such as relying on external data, adjusting fluidless thresholds, and making use of external data to extend the number of customers who can avoid a physical examination.
Future Distribution Strategies Will Change
In many cases, insurance companies are already preparing for the next normal during the near future; many of these steps have never been taken before. To support customers, their focus is primarily on digitizing sales forces and using data and analytics in a more meaningful way to support customers.
It is better to move quickly to pilot, test, and learn during the next few months rather than spending time planning and waiting for perfection. In light of the knock-on effects of the virus, it is important to get the business back to scale quickly. Three areas need attention from insurers: customers, sales forces, and enablers.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
We have found that many traditional insurance products are too complex for digital sales because insurers need to understand how customer preferences have changed. And, many traditional insurance products are too complex to be sold online, so it may be necessary to simplify products for remote sales.
In a virtual environment, it will be critical that successful agents and their customers learn how to recreate an in-person, advice-based relationship. And with roughly half of their customers planning to continue using telemedicine after the crisis subsides, insurers can look to advances in telemedicine-which have seen a huge increase in recent weeks. While protecting the privacy and security of consumers, telemedicine tools (such as video-based appointments and photo- or screen-sharing) can let your patients conduct appointments virtually.