A startling statistic is rattling industries worldwide: 7 percent of jobs will cease to exist due to automation. The fear that underlies this unspoken truth is that no job or industry is immune to machine learning. This is becoming even more apparent in the world of insurance where major groundwork and investment is being devoted to the mining of big data and consumer analytics automation.
While technology powers the automation of data-driven results and decision support in the insurance industry, many things can’t be solved by an algorithm. What brokers can do today to compete with AI and automation is to simply tap into what is already allowing them to thrive: expertise, education and explanation, empathy, and embracing what will accelerate their business into the future.
When it comes to a major financial decision like insurance coverage, it comes as no surprise that group or individuals look to experts in the field to help. Brokers are the go-to expert for thousands of individuals and businesses and provide years of invested knowledge and field experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere, including the smartest of technology. With their honed expertise, brokers are able to assist their clients with their current needs and anticipate what lies ahead.
Education and explanation
The expertise of brokers leads to their most cited need when it comes to insurance: education. The complexity of the insurance industry, coupled with the lack of transparency, means that brokers are not only the window into insurance policies but also the chief communicator to their clients. Being the “chief communicator” also comes with the responsibility of the role of the “translator.” While businesses and individuals are bombarded with information from insurance companies or details on their policies, brokers act as the guide to answer questions and synthesize the information provided in clear language.
Perhaps the most human experience of all is that of empathy. Empathy may be a buzz word in the tech world, where developers are striving to keep up with the user experience or decision support, yet no technology can tap the conscious human experience of relating to one another. When it comes to clients struggling with managing payroll, growing a business, and understanding and complying with regulations, brokers are on the front lines to manage it all. Not only can brokers relate to their clients’ struggles, they see these struggles every day and can offer trusted support, not just services, to their clients.
Good brokers are able to tap into their expertise to provide education, explanation and empathy to their clients; but truly great brokers take it one step further: they embrace the future of their industry. Instead of fearing change, these brokers are change agents, constantly looking for better and faster ways to deliver better and faster results for their clients. Change agents are empowered by the potential of technology.
These brokers thrive because they embrace the combination of technology and human interaction and are ready to be the brokers of the future.
This post originally appeared in BenefitsPro Broker Innovation Lab.
As a broker, one of your most important assets is your time. On top of all the lead scouting, sales calls, enrollment meetings, and compliance duties, brokers are often left with an overwhelming schedule. The best insurance brokers are the most productive and are able to manage their schedules. Here are 3 sales secrets of top producing brokers.
Leverage digital tools
The most important question top-producing brokers ask daily is, “How can I sell more, faster?” Digital technologies are the easy answer. Whether you’re looking for a quoting engine, a payment system, simple CRM software, or any other system to boost your productivity, we live in an age of many options for digital technologies, each designed to enhance your ability to communicate and sell with ease.
The key is finding exactly which tools and technologies – or which combination of them – will make you more effective. For top brokers, experimenting with several technologies is critical. Any great technology provider today will give you the opportunity to try their programs at no cost so you can design a technology suite that suits your needs. While many brokers are still in the early stages of using digital technologies, top-producing brokers admit that applying these tools is an easy way to drive efficiency, profitability, and competitive advantage.
Streamline repeat activities
Selling often requires the completion of time-consuming and repetitive tasks: quoting, emailing, proposal generation, client relationship management, and so on. However, the most successful brokers identify the tasks that they are repeating on a daily basis and find automated solutions to streamline those activities. Automated proposal templates allow you to respond to prospects faster, email templates save time and improve consistency, CRM software helps to organize your prospects and follow up with leads; the benefits are endless.
While many solutions exist to address these activities on a standalone basis, there are also broker-centric solutions that address them with a more holistic view. Identifying the repeat activities – especially those that are paper-based processes – and matching solutions to those can save you massive effort. What’s crucial is that having automated processes in place to streamline your repeat activities allows you to focus your time where it’s needed most – on your clients.
Stay ahead of regulatory concerns
Insurance brokers are faced with an ever-changing and increasingly complex regulatory landscape. The sheer volume of these updates can be overwhelming, and for clients, understanding how the legislation may affect their business is not only confusing, but unsustainable.
To support clients’ needs to stay ahead of legislative risk, top-performing brokers prioritize preempting the questions their business clients have. In order to do so, they stay up-to-date on industry regulations by reading broker-centric blogs, attending broker conferences and panels, and talking to broker partners focused on developing thought leadership around regulatory issues. For top-performing brokers, the ability to stay ahead of clients’ regulatory concerns, and the velocity with which they can respond to them, is the key to maintaining successful and long-term relationships.
Today we’re thrilled to share that we have raised $5M in a Series A financing. The round is led by IA Capital Group, with participation from Aflac Ventures, other institutional investors, and some of the insurance industry’s top executives and luminaries.
Our institutional investors are pros at backing companies that have successfully scaled innovations in the gigantic industries of insurance and healthcare. We’re proud to have the support of our advisors and investors – the industry’s top executives and veterans – who understand that lasting transformation in our industry takes a concerted and collaborative effort from incumbents and innovators.
With this new round of funding, we’re excited to take on this transformation and accelerate our growth by helping brokers and carriers deliver an intuitive and engaging shopping experience to small businesses and individuals. With our health insurance e-commerce marketplace, small businesses and individuals can easily find the affordable health coverage best fit for their needs and preferences.
Guidance from brokers and carriers is essential, regardless of how the healthcare regulatory landscape unfolds. Now, given industry’s push towards simple and modern selling technologies that simplify distribution for all insurance stakeholders, Wellthie’s ability to provide simple navigation, shopping, and support is critical for small businesses and individuals to make the optimal choice about their health insurance.
It is only through the joint and deliberate effort of incumbents and innovators that we can bring simplicity and ease to the complex world of insurance for millions of small businesses and individuals. So, if you are a forward-thinking broker or carrier, reach out to us to see how we can help you engage customers and maximize your sales today.
And, if you are a smart, passionate individual looking to transform the health insurance industry from the ground-up, we need your help by joining our rapidly expanding team!
From the entire Wellthie team, thank you for all of your support!
New Year’s resolutions are fun to make but difficult to keep. 2017 is here and should be a year filled with opportunity for everyone in healthcare, including brokers. Here are 3 New Year’s resolutions that brokers can’t afford to miss in 2017:
Take advantage of regulatory uncertainty
Between the new administration, potential changes to existing healthcare legislation, and carrier mergers, the industry is bound to experience change in 2017. While for most in the healthcare industry, regulatory uncertainty is a hurdle, for brokers – it’s an opportunity.
In times of change and ambiguity, brokers become the source of experience in expertly guiding clients through the transition. In health insurance, regulatory uncertainty is when client prospects – especially those in small businesses – most reach out to an advisor to answer questions and help make their coverage decisions. Transitional periods are also opportunities to soothe the fears of existing clients and secure customer relationships long into the future.
Embrace digital technology
In 2017, health insurance decision support technologies will be ubiquitous. It’s no surprise, given just how tech-savvy and retail-oriented consumers have become, even in the healthcare industry. What does this mean for brokers? In order to secure long-term relationships and keep clients engaged, brokers must improve their digital shopping experience.
The difference now, however, is just how easy these tools have become to use. These tools are built to simplify the broker’s job, and as a result, are designed with ease-of-use as a top priority. Whether in the shopping and enrollment or benefits administration space, tools that are built to support the broker – rather than disintermediate the broker – will become the norm.
Support small businesses
As of January 1, employers with less than 50 full-time employees can fund Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (QSEHRAs) to pay for out-of-pocket costs and premiums for health insurance purchased on the individual market. Given that 40M Americans work in small businesses and only 30% of those receive employer-sponsored coverage, there is a huge population of companies that are simply looking for more affordable coverage options for their employees (Modern Healthcare, “Could a provision in the Cures Act help stabilize the ACA exchanges?” December 2016)
This bill gives brokers a chance to support small businesses that may want to transition employees to the individual marketplace. Following the passage of the HRA bill, brokers are needed more than ever before to educate small business owners on their cost savings opportunities. By staying up-to-date on the latest regulations and leverage the technologies described above, brokers can increase their reach across the small business landscape.