Why insurers must improve range of digital tools

by James Burton17 Jul 2019

Insurers and distribution firms need to up their game after a survey revealed more than a quarter of advisors thought their digital tools were out of date.

The LIMRA research, however, showed that advisors are incorporating digital tools in all aspects of their business, from communicating with current clients to prospecting and marketing. Almost 8 in 10 advisors see digital solutions as the most helpful for marketing and client acquisition (46%), and ongoing client engagement (31%).

It’s clear, though, that the insurance industry has to do more to provide the tools that advisors find useful to achieve these goals. With the exception of lead generation tools, more than half of advisors did say they are satisfied with the current digital tools they use but there are warning signs that more has to be done.

A total of 23% believe they are poor quality or don’t integrate well with other systems (17%). And when it comes to lead generation tools specifically, more than half who are unhappy cite a lack of quality – the tool is too complicated, cumbersome or slow – or the tool is not advanced enough and/or out-of-date.

The report said: “Given the increasing importance of digital interactions, it is important to understand which areas of an insurance organization’s digital support are not satisfactory and the impact on advisors most important to its distribution strategy.

“Insurers face an important strategic investment decision in determining whether to provide digital solutions directly to advisors or develop a plug-and-play capability with partners across the ecosystem.”

It added: “Technology is essential in today’s business climate and its importance will continue to grow. Companies that understand how advisors use digital tools and the challenges they experience with some of the solutions can make better decisions on technology investments. It is clear that technology is vital for advisors to be successful.”

While emphasizing the need for human, personal relationships, the report concluded that incorporating a digital element reflects changes in society and advisors are increasingly supplementing face-to-face client meetings with digital tools. Three in 10 advisors use virtual meetings to connect with clients but, interestingly, 55% said they plan to use this more in the future.

Other key takeaways include the fact advisors with 3 to 9 years of experience expect 20% of their clients to come from social media just three years from now. Today, only 8% of their clients come from social media.

Crucially, the report showed that advisor would be well-minded to follow this digital trend and go all in, with 63% of consumers expecting to conduct more of their financial business online in the next five years, while 4 in 10 millennials prefer meeting with an agent or advisor virtually rather than in person.

Having an effective digital presence is also clearly vital. More than 7 in 10 consumers indicate that they would like to educate themselves about insurance of an agent or advisor’s website, while 4 in 10 are likely to check an agent’s social media presence and movements.