In this series, we’re looking at where digital investments can have the biggest impact for insurers. As we mentioned in our last post, Accenture research suggests that for North American insurers, customer experience and distribution innovations deliver the best returns. Since agents play an outsized role in the customer experience and expanding distribution, we recommend insurers focus on innovations that will empower agents throughout the customer journey.

What does it mean for an agent to be a partner?

The most successful insurance agents integrate four dimensions in the ir work—partner, growth seeker, collaborator and entrepreneur. Being a partner is key for agents wanting to earn a position as a trusted advisor to customers and prospects. It means dropping the shiny quintessential salesperson persona for a more human and empathetic approach.

Partner agents engage with customers and maintain ongoing relationships with them. Through friendly conversation and shared moments in a safe space on the customer’s channel of choice, partners listen to the unique challenges their customers face and understand what they need, desire and fear.

To build long-lasting relationships, agents need to prove their commitment to their customers, especially at times when the customer is facing a challenge. Claims management is one such event that can test the relationship. Agents with the right tools and skills have the power to make the most undesirable and unhappy situation into one that provides comfort despite the misfortune.

What do agents as partners need to be successful?

As the customer’s partner, an agent needs a thorough understanding of the customer’s “as-is” state. More than just recognizing that each customer is unique, agents need a fuller picture of what surrounds the customer, their connections and priorities.

At a minimum, agents need a complete and updated database of the customer—a 360-degree view of the customer’s profile and their current products, networks and coverages. They also need structured guidance to help them be proactive in offering the right assistance at the right time.

Where digital innovations can empower partner agents

When it comes to investing in digital innovations that will help agents perform their best, we recommend insurers focus on the following:

  • Provide an efficient “needs analysis” feature that allows agents to see progress and suggests the next best products based on the data collected.
  • Offer a full view of the customer, including their network and next best actions.
  • Highlight problematic customers and recommend actions for mitigation.
  • Enable transparent and actionable claim tracking.
  • Provide updates on products, campaigns and news and suggest actionable tasks.

Investments in these features will make it easier for agents to build meaningful and lasting relationships with customers—which will benefit customers and insurers alike.

If you’d like to talk about how Accenture could help your organization support and empower agents during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, at the same time making the most of your digital investment spend, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jim directly.

To learn more about our research into digital innovations, read our report: Where’s the payback on digital innovation in insurance?

Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.

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