Agents – Developing a true digital partnership
Life assurance in the UK is still primarily sold through partnerships with independent financial advisers (IFAs). This makes IFAs a key partner to life and pension providers in fulfilling the needs of the customer.
As we rush headlong into a digital dominated age, and focus on delivering products and services to today’s “always on” consumer, it is vital that providers don’t lose sight of their relationships with their partners. The digital strategy of life and pension providers should devote a lot of consideration to how we support IFAs by helping them deliver to their customers, and ultimately the provider’s customers. They should be focused on services that can be developed to support the IFAs in the selling of the providers products and services.
Key to this is empowering IFAs, by giving them direct access to a wide range of support services and enabling them to immediately carry out the instructions of their clients. In order to achieve this, they need the same level of information about their clients as the provider’s staff have and the same ability to execute a wide variety of alterations and claims without requiring assistance or intervention by the provider.
IFAs need to be welcomed in as part of the team via their own portal. An IFA portal needs to be cloud-based to enable anywhere, anytime access to the agent so that he or she can deliver quality services to their clients, at a time and place that suits them. The portal should let them access all the information about their clients, including their existing policy values, and allow the IFA to make alterations to those policies as demanded by the client.
It needs to help them manage their own business, with reminders and prioritisation capabilities, and feedback critical information about their clients’ investment portfolios to them urgently. It needs to allow claims to be carried out there and then, so that the end-customer doesn’t feel fobbed off by the agent having to get back to them once the provider has responded.
Portals need to provide the graphical information the agent needs and to allow the agent to customise that output, so that it can be personalised to the needs of the client. Fund-switch capability is also vital – when the client asks for a switch, they don’t expect it to be left waiting on a bureaucratic process whilst the world and the markets move on.
Granting the agent these levels of access will empower him or her to completely manage the customer relationship themselves and allow him to provide top-ranking service levels, enhancing both the agent’s and the provider’s reputation.
The portal should also allow the IFA to manage their own relationship with the providers, giving them access to information on their commission and fee payments, product-dependent, and letting them manage their own personal data to ensure prompt and correct payment. It should also enable larger IFAs to manage their own hierarchies, ensuring that changes are promptly reflected and that the relationship is always up-to-date.
DistributionPlus is Majesco’s distribution management solution with comes complete with a Broker Portal to put the entire power of your distribution management system in the hands of the agent. It enables Life and Pension companies to create a true digital strategy for their partners, bringing value to the provider, the agent and the ultimate end customer. DistributionPlus is the ideal solution for providers who want to embark on a digital strategy in order to leverage the power of technology in raising their levels of support of their distribution channels.
By Tom Murray