Meet the Insurance Agent of the Future

Asimo robot doing handsign

The future is already encroaching on the insurance industry of today. Cloud technologies combined with Big Data are transforming how insurance companies work. One major impact: technology is making insurance agents more accessible and responsive to their customers, and that’s a trend that will only accelerate. But what are the tools and technologies that the insurance agents of tomorrow will be using, and how will they affect their customers? Here are four major trends carrying the insurance sector into the future.

Already Hitting: Going Mobile

This futuristic change is already happening: thanks to smartphones and other devices, customers can now handle a wide variety of insurance-related tasks from anywhere, including from the scene of an incident (like a car accident or property damage). When users need to make a claim, they simply open the app. From there, their mobile device will walk them through the process of filing a claim.

And all of this happens with just a few clicks through a user-friendly app, which can also shorten waits: users often get a final estimate back within a day. This can also remove the agent from the day-to-day transactional service requirements, freeing them to focus instead on high-priority, high-value, or escalated issues that truly need their dedicated attention.

On the Rise: More Customer Advocacy

In fact, technology is facilitating the agent’s ability to serve their customers better. EY (Ernst & Young) reports in its Global Customer Insurance Survey that the agent of the future is as much or more a “customer advocate” than just a carrier rep. As described above, agents are able to spend more time focused on the customer, providing more personalized advice and fitting them with more appropriate insurance products. This results in “more frequent, meaningful, and personalized communications,” per EY. This is an area ripe for improvement: nearly half (44%) of current [insurance] customers “report no interactions during the previous 18 months.”

On the Horizon: Smarter Insurance

As insurance becomes more digital, it’s creating more options from which customers can choose. Case in point: usage-based insurance (UBI), which aligns insurance rates with customer behavior (e.g., driving behavior). This can reduce claims costs and enable carriers to price policies more competitively. Everyone benefits. Altogether, innovations like UBI thus give agents more tools and options for serving their customers more effectively.

Down the Road: Artificial Intelligence

In a separate report, industry analysts at McKinsey and Co. predict that AI will take over a number of important functions, like claims processing. This will accelerate the trends already described – freeing human personnel to focus on matters that require or benefit from personalized attention. This should help agents to be even more responsive to customers, while simultaneously shortening wait times (“dramatically reducing claims processing times from days to hours or minutes,” per McKinsey) and reducing costs. Agents will also be better equipped to work with a larger volume of customers while actually improving service levels. It’s a win-win.

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