During and post Covid lockdowns, majority of the global insurance advisors and sales teams were grappling with unprecedented challenges and were thinking of ways to get back to normal business. On one side the Covid scenario had helped in increasing the awareness and need for insurance for larger consumer base. It had also thrown a new challenge for Insurers – how to sell in the new reality of physical distancing.
Direct to customer (D2C) digital models have seen very limited penetration of around 3-5% in most markets. Especially in the long-term life Insurance products, due to complexity of the product and at times, regulations – it is found to be challenging for a new customer to buy most products online. Insurers even attempted to address the emerging niche needs through new partnership models like telecom-assurance and bundled offerings with newer POS partners.
Yet during the Covid lockdowns there were no signs of growing penetration in D2C business and same had languished in lower single digit levels. The bread and butter business continued to flow from distribution through agency/ bancassurance/ independent advisory models. While many had launched digital sales tools/ POS tools for their advisors, the same were crippled due to the sudden need for non-face-to-face (NF2F) interactions. Bancassurance businesses dwindled significantly as customer walk-ins or even NF2F interactions were limited to critical banking business.
Insurers were amidst a new challenge in their digital transformation journey. Insurers’ key challenge was in expanding the collaboration for regulatory compliant interaction across the end-to-end sales journey. The interactions needed to expand the collaboration, to share the agents/ advisors tools not only for collaterals, customer financial needs analysis and Sales Illustrations; but more also in areas of e-Application fulfillment which demands high amount of regulatory compliance and security standards.
Many solutions with temporary workaround using web meetings/ screen sharing were explored and launched. Some provided quick temporary solutions to address the signature capture on the proposal PDFs and launched the same. Regulators too were quick to help and allowed some temporary options and guidelines to avoid misuse of online tools. For many insurers, a comprehensive end-to-end solution to address the sales advisor – ‘Digitally-aided F2F’ need was a distant milestone. They were suddenly seen rushing back to drawing boards to explore truly collaborative, secured and compliant Digital (DF2F) selling alternatives.
At the outset 3 new directions seem to be emerging! At the very base level are…
Screen Sharing : Some web meeting apps are providing screen sharing which was growing rapidly beyond enterprise market into the retail segment. This seems to be the quick and easy solution due to the new rapid penetration in the home users segment. The new found applications for personal use post lockdowns – by Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet (as against the earlier entrenched players like Webex, Go To Meeting, etc. in the corporate segment) provided a free basic option. Yet the limitations of the said screen sharing tools in addressing the consumer concerns on loss of security due to complete screen share, were not the favourites with the regulators. Significant challenges also emerged on issues of real time documents capture (not wanting agent to store critical supporting documents for future misuse). Other concerns on e-signature also remained unattended.
Co-browsing : On the other side, the emergence of the co-browsing capabilities showed good promise – to have more secured and specific access as needed in the customer service/ call centre scenarios. Leading tools like Up scope, Acquire, Firefly, Surly, Glance and many more emerged rapidly. With abilities like no-download and specific control features (hiding sensitive fields, audit control) helped increase in use for screen-sharing online browsers. Their easy and seamless integration with the existing websites and live chats was also helpful. While the co-browsing could emerge as a key feature in expanding the D2C business, i.e. beyond simpler commoditized products (like Term, Health, Personal Accident, Auto- travel). This would fit more as a tool to help customer servicing agents to assist online customers in their self-service journey as most have been designed for customer initiating a request and not an agent.
At the outset, co-browsing fell short of addressing true need of insurance advisors/ agents’ journey – many of whom had hybrid apps on their devices and needed an easy extension like co-browsing. But in reality, most initiatives stopped short with limited e-Sign capabilities on finalized PDF proposal and did not allow truly interactive engagement with customers. Customers were unable to edit proposal/ declarations or append any supporting documents. While some insurers even explored digital signatures, albeit considering the low penetration of the same in the broader target consumers, it seems to be a much longer-term solution.
Collaborate: Insurers truly wanted to address with higher priority end-to-end interactive digital journey for advisor- agents, who majorly sell products that are more complex than ones sold on D2C / Online options. A third alternative has emerged to optimally address the regulatory (including security) as well as the interactive engagement with consumer. After a thorough analysis of field needs across markets and with various insurers’ sales teams, an end-to-end Collaborate Model is emerging. Based on this Collaborate Model, C2L BIZ Solutions has launched its solution which extends its pioneering SymbioSys Sales Tool to addresses all the above needs very effectively. C2L BIZ leverages its SymbioSys Sales Tool’s truly omni-channel capabilities (with combined online-offline modes) to handshake across versions, to encourage seamless interactions between agent & customer.
In SymbioSys Sales Tool’s latest launch of its Digital-Face-to-Face (DF2F) upgrade, e-application process is seamlessly transferred to customer and allows customer to not only review the proposal filled by advisor (on his behalf), but also allows customer to fill up incremental confidential declarations (at times as mandated by regulators). Said DF2F solution from C2L BIZ, uniquely allows the customer to upload the critical personal requirement documents. These requirements are intelligently prompted as per pre-configured rules and thus not necessitating sharing of confidential-documents, which is always a customer’s & regulator’s key concern. It even allows customer to complete the payment process and e sign (or even OTP process) online, on his own device or even a mobile phone. All this without any need to download any app. C2L BIZ has uniquely designed its DF2F keeping in view customer ease and without any compromise on the security concerns’ and thus getting an easier nod for insurers from multiple regulators too.