The Changing Face of Insurance Distribution

The business landscape across every industry has seen a significant number of disruptions in the last decade. The insurance industry is no different, and the need for a sharper distribution strategy has never been more pressing, given the sudden rise of digital penetration across the country due to the Covid pandemic.

The rise of InsureTech companies, tech-focused digital offerings by new-age banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), strategic government initiatives, changing customer behaviour and conducive regulatory changes, too have forced traditional insurers to rethink their existing strategies and distribution models.

The Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated this process and heightened the focus on building digital capabilities for insurance distribution channels.

In a paradigm shift, digitisation of distribution channels is playing an increasingly important role in the sales strategies for insurance companies, and agents’ roles are shifting from being the only point -of-contact for customers, ranging from functions like sales to claims disbursement, to being enablers in the entire digital experience.

Reimagining Assisted Distribution

Assisted distribution is nothing but the old school face-to-face distribution channel. Agents and brokers are typically the key players in this distribution channel. 

Insurance companies are in the middle of a transformative phase, enabling and empowering their distribution partners with innovation-driven tech-assisted platforms that enable a tangible and better engagement experience for their customer interactions.

With customers having easier access to information, the sales process, too, has evolved to be customer-centric instead of being a product-led one. 

Insurers are increasingly experimenting with technologies like augmented and virtual reality, chatbots, virtual assistants and omnichannel enablers, integrated with the provision of advice from partners, to give their customers an immersive experience, highlighting their secure futures through powerful and customizable insurance solutions.

Optimizing the DIY Model

The DIY or self-directed distribution model is an insurer selling an insurance product directly to a consumer through an online channel without an intermediary agent or broker.

It encourages independent decision-making by making the customer experience simple and intuitive by leveraging technology, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, to gain valuable insights into their customers’ needs and provide innovative approaches to delivering solutions.

Covid restrictions and the demands of a tech-savvy customer base for self-service capabilities has led to a surge in the growth of the DIY distribution channel. However, research has clearly highlighted that insurance products are too complex for most consumers to understand. 

It is imperative hence that Insurers who offer self-service distribution need to simplify products, engage the customer, and provide personalized solutions, by leveraging data from diverse sources in real-time.

A self-serve model increases customer satisfaction and retention due to its speedier and seamless claim process facilitated by AI and ML technologies. For example, upon hospitalization, customers can easily upload the diagnosis, treatment, list of medicines, etc., to the self-serve app, get the claim processed and receive the claim amount directly in their bank account. 

Leveraging Embedded Distribution

A classic example of embedded insurance is when you book flights or a holiday, and the booking platform has a little checkbox at the end, on the checkout page, to add travel insurance to your booking.

Embedded distribution is nothing but bundling insurance protection within the purchase of a product. For example, anti-theft insurance with a smartphone, automobile insurance tied to the purchase of an automobile, etc.

When done right, embedded insurance is a great value proposition to the customer, right at the point of sale. It is a frictionless process, transforming the insurance distribution model, where the insurance is bought, not sold.

Consumers put in a lot of thought and research before buying health, accident or term insurance. No one wakes up one fine day thinking they need insurance for their phone, they wake up thinking they need a new phone!

Insurers can be in the right place at the right time by embedding their insurance solutions in products or platforms with large customer bases, essentially meeting the customer where they are.

Riskcovry – Your Trusted Insurance Distribution Partner

Riskcovry is a state-of-the-art full stack insurance platform that enables insurance companies to easily build and scale their insurance distribution through any of the above distribution channels.

We support 25+ insurers with over 60 products, like HDFC Ergo, Kotak Life Insurance, Max Bupa Health insurance, multiple omnichannel distribution options, payment gateway integrations and endless customisations.

Our platform can be leveraged by all types of insurers, from individual brokers and travel companies to NFBCs, banks, eCommerce platforms, FinTech companies and more to offer best-in-class curated digital user journeys.

Conclusion

To thrive in this tech-first and customer-centric world of today, insurers must be strategic and ensure the convergence of all their partners onto a single platform. This increases efficiency and bridges the demand-supply gap with digitally-enabled simpler products.

With the new and evolving spectrum of insurance distribution channel options now available, there are tremendous opportunities for growth, and insurers must act now!