Trust in our world is everything. The broker-client relationship, broker-insurer relationship and of course client-insurer relationship need to be built on strong principles.
In simple terms, trust is making sure brokers and their clients have the peace of mind that, should an unforeseen or sudden circumstance cause a loss to a client – as seen with 2021 unrest and KZN floods, for example – they will be covered and the claim will be paid timeously and fairly.
The industry is ever evolving. We have new insurtech startups entering and disrupting the market, and insurers keep evolving and becoming more and more innovative – not only to make sure they offer the best possible product at the best possible premium, but also offer service differentiators.
We need to bring back people-friendly interactions
We started Ami based on three main principles: trust, service and product offering. I actually need to add a fourth – friendliness! On the whole, the insurance industry has lost the friendly approach and care factor. We need to bring back people-friendly interactions across the entire value chain, while remaining comprehensive enough to ensure clients aren’t left short at claim time.
Someone has just been involved in a hijacking, or car accident, perhaps they lost their home to flooding. Whatever the case, it is severely traumatic. We need to keep our empathy, friendliness and service offering at the forefront of dealing with claims and clients. It is an emotional and traumatic experience and our offering should be more than just paying the claim. Empathy, care and understanding go a long way. This, combined with a comprehensive solution that is simple but thorough, should add that little bit more of a differentiator and trust factor.
Understanding the ultimate needs and expectations of your brokers and their clients isn’t rocket science, hence we based our offering on exactly this – a boutique insurance provider where everyone is treated like a trusted friend.
Why? Because friends are there for each other in good and bad times. They’re reliable, compassionate and understanding. They know and live in each other’s worlds. We always aim to be friendly to brokers, clients and communities by providing insurance that’s accessible, easy to understand and socially aware.
Be ready to adapt to change
It’s crazy how things change… and quickly! We need to be ready to adapt just as quickly. Taking Covid as an example, we saw a forced move to virtualisation in the workplace and an almost overnight move from in-person interactions to online. While it was clear that a technology shift was needed, it also shook up traditional employment models. You speak to different people of different ages about what they prefer and you will mostly get different answers.
Some of us just prefer the “eyeballs and handshakes” approach over online meetings, but virtual contact is better than no contact at all. Keeping a balanced hybrid model is key to growing, building and maintaining trusted relationships. Making sure you know your clients’ and brokers’ needs, plus keeping communication channels open, consistent and transparent, is vital.
Take care with data
Keeping ahead with TCF, and of course POPIA, is also going to play an integral part in what we do. In fact, according to a Cisco Consumer Privacy Survey, 80% of people say they’re willing to act to protect their privacy and personal data. It’s no secret how much personal data is shared within our industry. It is therefore crucial that we continue to make this a priority, both through onboarding and the day-to-day protection of our clients’ and brokers’ data.
It’s not just about clients
As we know, trust isn’t only centred on clients. In fact, our focus is on the intermediary. Constantly engaging and keeping ahead of what is happening around us is critical. It is up to us as an intermediated business to fulfil that trust offering with brokers and their clients and work together, both in mitigating risk of claim as much as possible and also educating clients further on insurance as a whole. It is up to us to simplify insurance yet stay grounded in our core principles.
The FIA, which represents more than 12 000 licensed financial services advisers, plays an important role and does a great job at facilitating the concerns and needs of intermediaries as a whole. It is vital that insurers, UMAs and relevant stakeholders pivot together and continue to build trust and a reputable name within the South African economy.