A Look at Insurance Business Canada’s 1st Virtual Broker Connect Event
Last week, Goose Digital joined over 300 insurance professionals at the Insurance Business virtual Broker Connect summit. It was our first fully digital conference and we were very excited to hear from industry experts on how they see the insurance industry adapting as we all move towards a new post Covid-19 normal, as well as networking with brokers, MGAs and carriers and understanding how they have pivoted to grow and meet the needs of their existing clients.
How brokers sell and service their customers has changed, and in many ways will likely never be the same. This was the general consensus from the keynote panel – and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Digitization of operations and communications – something many brokers had been considering for a long time – happened incredibly quickly, out of necessity. This new way of working – in many cases with new platforms- enabled brokers to operate remotely and provided additional channels for them to engage with their customers. Both insurance providers and customers have seen that digital is a viable channel for buying, selling and servicing insurance and don’t want to go back to the way things were before.
Goose Digital hosted two round table sessions, where we shared some of the innovative and exciting ways our customers have been using digital to meet the challenges of the last few months, and where we see the opportunities in the post Covid era.
Many insurance providers slowed down or even turned off their lead gen campaigns when Covid-19 first hit. With consumers – both companies and individuals- focused on trying to adjust to working from home, new family dynamics and economic changes, Insurance providers felt it wasn’t appropriate to focus on sales. What emerged, though, was a need for insurance products and coverage but one that required a change in positioning. Consumers required more access and information for certain products, offered in a way that recognizes the situation. In the pre-Covid era there was so much focus on quick and fast. Providers who are pivoting their value proposition and messaging from time saving to financial savings, budgeting and even in some cases a usage-based approach are seeing huge responses. Brokers who are re-focusing on cyber protection, life insurance and estate planning with considered educational content are in fact meeting a consumer need without appearing opportunistic.
There has never been a greater need for brokers, carriers and MGAs to communicate with their customers. The last few months have seen a huge surge in customer communications ranging from office closures and operational details, to policy and coverage relief information – unique to policy holder’s specific situations. And based on positive feedback and engagement, the volume and value of these messages will only continue to grow.
Many companies are implementing new self service tools and digital payment options, and have developed campaigns to tell their customers about these new platforms. Including detailed messaging on how to use the tools have proven very effective at driving adoption. MGAs are creating critical bulletins on hot topics such as cyber protection and business continuity. Brokers shared important information about operating remotely and relief details that are still coming from the markets to ensure their consumers don’t miss information they need to have.
While many insurance providers were able to successfully engage, others struggled. Challenges included not having the right communication platforms, limited or no access to data lists, inability to segment and personalize and concerns about risking a cold or impersonal user experience. These providers will need to find ways to address these issues in order to meet their customers’ expectations.
Addressing Covid Uncertainties… Subtly
No one needs to have the words Covid-19 plastered all over every message they receive nor do they need to be constantly be reminded of all the changes this has brought to how we work, play, eat, shop and live. At the same time, every communication has to somehow recognize all this in a way that feels authentic and compassionate. Some insurance providers are partnering with local charities or food banks, showing their commitment to help their communities and even giving their customers the opportunity to do the same.
Others are using relevant incentive based campaigns to drive engagement using gift cards for food delivery services, which subtly acknowledge a challenge so many people are facing. Other providers are focusing on highly personalized text based emails, which look like they are being sent from a producer of CSR, which have helped get key messages into consumers inboxes at scale, and without sacrificing existing relationships.
Getting Infrastructure Ready For The Post Covid-19 Era
While the frontline of most insurance providers have been extremely busy over the last few months, in many instances marketing and innovation teams have taken the opportunity to re-look at priorities and act on projects that have long been on the back burner.
There has been a focus on refreshing or rebuilding websites to better represent the brand and improve product pages. Landing page content is being updated and expanded to reflect new realities and customers need for more and better coverage information. Content hubs and subscription centers are being created to reflect customers’ increased expectation for continued communications, driven by their preferences. Integration plans are being re-prioritized from nice-to-have to business critical and projects to improve automation workflows and future digital strategies are kicking off.
The IB Broker Connect expert panel all agreed: the value of customer communications, virtual selling and the continued digitization of the industry are all areas of focus for the insurance industry. Providers who have a strong strategy and the right platforms are well poised to meet these challenges and deliver the continued value that their customers expect.