NAILBA Perspectives Perspectives Summer 2018 - Page 31

technology Technology as the New Normal S KATIE ELLIOTT Katie Elliott is the Client Success Manager for OneHQ, a combined CRM and AMS platform for life, annuity, and senior brokerages. Katie and her team are passion- ate about being a true partner to their clients, guiding them in utiliz- ing HQ’s capabilities to meet each group’s unique business needs. For more information on how the OneHQ team can help you accel- erate your business, please visit urely not one person reading this needs to be reminded of the incredible advances technology has made in the last couple decades. These advances have shifted the way we work, shop, communicate, and interact with each other; in fact, all too often we hear about technology not only influencing but replacing person- al interactions. Instead of talking to a cashier at a grocery store, we rush through the self-checkout lane. Instead of getting to know a sales associate at a department store, we read reviews and get recommenda- tions online. While these advances have made business more efficient and convenient in many ways, con- sumers are also growing increasingly wary of businesses that no longer have a face and a name. This year, only 48% of American consumers reported that they trust business- es, down from 58% last year i . In an industry as important and personal to consumers as insurance, gaining consumer trust is an absolute ne- cessity; so it’s best to avoid deper- sonalization by resisting technology altogether, right? Definitely not. The approximate- ly $4.8 trillion global IT industry ii no longer consists of a few geeks in garages; technology has been ac- cepted and integrated into almost every area of business, including the comparatively traditional finan- cial services industry. The number of new InsurTech companies formed annually has been in decline since 2016, alongside a rise in FinTech ac- quisitions and IPOs iii , signaling that the industry is nearing maturity. It is no longer an advantage for your business to understand and utilize operations and management technol- ogy; it is a necessity in today’s com- petitive environment. As CRM, AMS, and marketing automation technol- ogies mature, industry innovators are looking toward multi-carrier data aggregation as the new frontier in in- surance technology. With this rate of advancement toward another break- through in the industry, it is imper- ative for brokerages agencies to stay up to date on technology standards. The reason behind this rapid growth is that, overall, technolo- gy really is good for business. This may sound counterintuitive in the context of brokerages, where sales, marketing, and service process- es depend so highly on trust and personal relationships. The truth is that current CRM and AMS technol- ogies can provide countless tools to streamline communications and organize data like never before, if used correctly. When can this cause problems? When agencies lose sight of their core mission and try to re- place their expertise with technolo- gy. When can widely available tech- nology help a brokerage to regain a competitive advantage? When used to enhance the traditional sales and marketing efforts that set them apart in the first place. A recent Deloitte report states that FinTech companies are “chang- ing expectations for what a quality customer experience can be” iv . The challenge that brokerage agencies face today is not whether to adopt technology, but rather how and why to use available technology. As De- loitte puts it, brokerages need to “change the mindset, from defense to engagement” v . A common mis- conception regarding technology is that it exists solely to replace the current way of doing business. How- ever, technology can and will accel- erate your business only when inte- grated into your existing strategy to support proven processes. Keeping in mind the efficiencies and insights that technology can provide to brokerages when used correctly, there’s no denying the necessity for technology in the in- surance industry. Deloitte notes that one of three speedbumps fac- Cutting edge technology is quickly becoming a necessity rather than a privilege in the insurance industry. When can it be come a competitive edge? When used to increase efficiency and enhance your tried and true sales and marketing efforts. 31