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Insurance intermediaries’ embrace technology as COVID-19 heightens competition

Insurance intermediaries including brokers and agents that hitherto operated office only in their hand briefcase have been forced to operate at least a near formal office since the dawn of Covid-19 pandemic.

These intermediaries in other to remain in business are beginning to adopt technology and digital communication infrastructures as physical marketing and contacts are almost fizzling out with the Covid-19 pandemic still here.

At the down of Covid-19 in early March 2020, when lockdowns were imposed by government to contain the spread of the pandemic, most businesses resorted to technology and working from remote locations.

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The realities of the Covid-19 lockdown have meant that the world has been forced to do all their business virtually. Face-to-face meetings have been replaced by Zoom calls, travel has been banned, and processes have had to become paperless. Some have said that, in just a few weeks, this global crisis has catapulted us a good five years ahead in the way that we harness technology. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

This period therefore became difficult for insurance brokers and agents who have been used to moving about for marketing and correspondences with their underwriting partners, so many now have decided to adopt technologies to enable them remain in business.

Besides, clients who could not allow visitors in their offices so preferred to deal with brokers who have established offices and could technologically serve them.

This has increased completion in the market, with a lot of the brokers investing in infrastructure to remain relevant and competitive.

Gbenga Olayiwon, managing director/CEO, Prorisk Insurance Brokers Limited said the brokers generally are keying into technology to service their clients, stating that his firm has embraced technology years back since he became the CEO.

According to him, his communication is online with both clients and underwriters, having acquired a software years that that enable then process and pay claims without physical contacts.

“For me, this is the way to go and for efficiency every business entity should embrace technology”.

Sean Hanlon, executive director, Sales and Distribution at BrightRock speaking to Risk Africa looks at how Covid-19 is changing service delivery at the broker’s table.

He noted that this sudden change has been a bit jarring for the insurance industry, as we are a sector that generally lags behind the times when it comes to technology. However, companies like BrightRock have risen to the challenge and have devised ways of ensuring you can still get cover for your clients, especially at a time when many people are feeling vulnerable and more acutely aware of their own mortality. For example, our clients can now sign counter offer letters on WhatsApp, and are able to submit previous blood test results from the past year in order to apply for cover.

“As financial advisers, your business has always been heavily reliant on personal relationships and your ability to establish and maintain them. Our COVID-19 world is now demanding you do this differently. Ironically, technology that might have previously been seen as alienating and being a barrier for personal connection has now become the sole tool that can facilitate it. In addition, our current state of affairs has made people crave more personal contact (in this case a voice on the phone or a face on the screen), especially in situations where they may not have wanted it before, he said.

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