Covid kick: changing broker minds about e-commerce

Customers have been comfortable with e-commerce for a while, but others agree with us that the insurance industry is at last beginning to play catchup.

The Blitz didn’t shut down the underwriting floor at Lloyd’s, but Covid-19 has. And Coronavirus has also done what many in the industry have failed to do, by finally overcoming insurance brokers’ resistance to technological change.

After years of industry predictions about external disruption and tech evangelism for online distribution, in true insurance style, it has taken a force majeure to drive brokers towards e-trading. At Quotall we are witnessing this, anecdotally, through an influx of new enquiries. The past six weeks of lockdown has seen more enquiries than the whole year before it.

Covid-19 is compelling brokers to look at creating new distribution models and digitising the broker proposition for insurance businesses that have been suddenly put on the backfoot by lockdown conditions. Recently, insurance advisory firm Oxbow Partners put it succinctly for the brokers to take heed: “It is no secret that the insurance industry is still heavily dependent on legacy platforms” and their blog looks at a technology ecosystem that is familiar to us.

Taking the brakes off

We want a situation whereby technology can expedite more efficient operating models. It’s happening now. Brokers have acknowledged too much reliance on manual brakes in their business processes, human intervention and reliance on face-to-face interaction.

The cultural shift is hardly unique to insurance, but this has been a massive wake up call, and for many smaller brokers, produced the realisation that they have a lot of ground to catch up on. Whatever the size of the broking business, specialists have been saying for some time that technology will empower the insurance industry to give its customers a better experience.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be painful, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It’s less about systems and more about culture. The biggest step might be in that realisation that things should be done differently now, just as many insurance companies have opened their eyes to the liberating potential of more flexible and remote working.

 These lessons from Covid-19 will more than likely be more pronounced for smaller UK brokers that lack the funds to invest in technology. Conversely, bigger brokers may have the funds but they are focused on larger risks/clients and therefore the dependency on technology to reduce cost is less profound.

Small brokers emphasise a personal and tailored service, but still need to find alternative means to deliver that when old ways are unavailable. These brokers need to appreciate that digitisation itself is a service and that they can communicate, take sales enquiries and deliver just as well digitally. Simply put, digital innovation can help your business engage with customers and open up commercial opportunities. Not just to survive, but to prosper. 

Technology is evolving fast

At the same time, technology doesn’t stand still – it’s a process of constant refinement and improvement – and continually updating the technology that we offer is a matter of course. As it happens, we’ve also recently refreshed our own marketing website, everything from the logo to our messaging – watch this space for more updates! 

As an e-trading insurtech, technology is in our DNA, but the same pressures apply for the clients we support.

Customers are smart and their expectations are high. Nothing stands still in this industry, customer expectations change constantly, and we need to acknowledge that and evolve with them, because the day you stop investing in your platforms is the day your business dies. It’s not just us saying this:

The rise of technology ecosystems

Collaboration and the customer experience

The route to digital

Insurance: digital transformation, digitization and optimization in a disrupted landscape

The Benefits of Digitalisation