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In today’s rapidly evolving insurance industry and changing risk environments, it is essential for brokers to embrace innovation to maintain a competitive edge. Modern insurance customers expect not only risk prevention but also convenience, customisation, and value-added services. This is where the integration of advanced 24-hour assistance services and value-added service offerings, supported by digital ecosystems solutions, become a game changer.

By embracing transformative assistance and value-added service offerings, insurance brokers can not only enhance customer satisfaction and experiences, but also revolutionise the delivery of insurance products.

This customer-centric approach ensures improved engagement and ultimately determines who the industry leaders are.

Revamped value proposition

Insurance plays a crucial role not only in safeguarding individuals, businesses, and communities, but also in enabling them to make valuable contributions to society. But the ever-evolving insurance market poses challenges to traditional brokers, urging them to adapt and revamp their offerings. In order to remain competitive and meet evolving customer needs, brokers need to focus on expanding their services beyond the conventional. This includes incorporating features like 24-hour availability, responsive assistance services, efficient policy administration, prompt claim processing, and proactive first notice of loss. By embracing these changes, brokers can better serve their clients and align their offerings with the dynamic insurance landscape.

Projected shift in risk landscape

In the coming years, technological advancements are poised to significantly mitigate conventional risks across various industries, such as the implementation of advanced safety features in vehicles or the emergence of autonomous driving. Consequently, this dynamic transformation will result in a decline in conventional insurance premiums for numerous products. However, the evolution also brings forth fresh avenues within assistance and service offerings, offering a chance to offset – at least partially – the decrease in premium revenues.

Enhancing customer experience in the evolving landscape

In the ever-changing landscape of customer expectations, it is paramount for brokers to adapt and meet the demands of today’s customers. Customers today are more knowledgeable, discerning, and connected than ever before. They not only expect prompt and efficient support, but also personalised experiences. Insurers recognise this shift and are increasingly focusing on creating online and mobile platforms to address these needs. However, they often face challenges in convincing customers to embrace these digital portals. Considering that traditional insurance offerings have limited customer interactions per year, it becomes crucial to leverage new assistance and service offerings to make these digital portals more appealing and encourage increased customer engagement.

Demographic transformation

The insurance industry is witnessing significant demographic changes, particularly in mature and lucrative markets. Older members of society, notably the affluent baby boomer segment, requires insurance offerings that address their specific needs, which are not currently covered by traditional insurance value propositions. To tap into this growing market, insurers need to develop new lifestyle solutions and services that cater to the needs of wealthy, older individuals, such as assistance and support services targeted towards the elderly.

Brokers will need to balance the needs of our new and younger generations with those of older ones, including the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, who do not have the same preferences or aptitude with digital interactions. It is important to remember that the customer and employee demographic combination will change dramatically between now and 2030, when digital natives will make up half of South Africa’s adult population.

Brokers must align the needs of younger digital natives with those of older generations. It’s crucial to understand digital natives’ unique attitudes towards risk, such as their methodical information-gathering approach and practical responses to crises. This generation values trust, flexible solutions, simplification, and a holistic view to manage different areas of their lives. As this group continues to mature and gain experience, they will shape the economy and dictate risk products and insurer talent recruitment. Insurers must develop added value and digital services to manage the diverse risk needs of this rapidly changing demographic.

Digital disruption and IoT

The rapid advancement of digital technologies and the rise of the Internet of Things are disrupting the conventional insurance value chain. To stay competitive and attract new customers, brokers must adopt innovative approaches and harness the power of data obtained from connected ecosystems. However, many established brokers are limited by their traditional products, business models, and technological infrastructure, hindering their ability to offer competitive solutions in this evolving landscape.

Emerging challengers

The insurance market is witnessing the entry of new competitors due to the dissolution of traditional market boundaries driven by digital business models, big data utilisation, and advanced analytics. Aggregators and players from outside the insurance industry, such as automotive companies in connected car services or utilities in connected home offerings, pose a threat to present insurers. To protect their customer relationships and avoid being treated as commodities, brokers can focus on providing assistance and service-oriented offerings that add value and differentiate themselves from new entrants. This strategic approach can help brokers maintain relevance and forge stronger connections with customers in the face of intensifying competition.

The concept of “assistance services”

The concept of “assistance services” revolves around providing help and support during emergencies or a risk event, which includes support, emergency response, and problem-solving services or cost covered in various emergency situations. This type of service is typically linked to insurance coverage on a life, property or motor vehicle. Assistance aims to be always available to directly assist customers in situations of loss or emergency, going beyond the traditional monetary support provided by standard insurance offerings.

Value-added services related to assistance are defined broadly and often extend beyond the scope of insurance coverage, especially in emergency situations. These services encompass more than just financial support and immediate customer care at the time of loss. They are designed to offer long-term benefits under the brand of the broker such as:

  • Risk mitigation strategies, advice, services, and support.
  • Coordinating and scheduling regular car maintenance and safety checks through a partner network. License renewal reminders and fine payments or RAF claims. Motor vehicle valuations. Driver monitoring, support, crash detection and response services.
  • Coordinating and scheduling regular home maintenance, geysers, or gas safety, fire or lightning risk, security checks through a partner network. Monitoring solutions and devices for geysers, smoke detectors and security cameras. Issuing of compliance certificates or property valuations.
  • Medical emergency response and private hospital guarantees. Trauma counselling or providing medication reminders.
  • Crime victim assistance and response.
  • Risky weather conditions, monitoring and warning (lightning, hail) notifications via digital channels (apps/social media/WhatsApp).
  • Security: Armed response to panic button location.
  • Preventative services like home safe chauffeur services to prevent drinking and driving.
  • FNOL, fast-track claims and self-service portals.
  • Funeral assistance, concierge, and body repatriation services.
  • Compiling asset registers and asset valuations.

“Assistance services” have become a much broader risk facilitation and assistance ecosystem solution. They evolved to help customers avoid loss and protect the things that matter most. This includes helping them learn more about the unique aspects of their health, security, property, vehicles, valuable assets, and the ensuing risks and regular maintenance they face. Risk management is a crucial aspect of insurance policyholders’ experience, encompassing everything from ensuring proper coverage and protection to emergency preparedness and loss prevention. It is important to develop assistance and value-added services that effectively minimise the demands placed on customers by their insurance policies:

  • To make their lives easier
  • To make them risk smarter
  • To help them to avoid claims
  • To make the claims process painless

A total customer experience

The insurance sector is witnessing a shift where the Total Customer Experience is becoming the primary differentiator rather than price and product offerings. However, brokers are facing the challenge of establishing seamless connections and maintaining constant availability to effectively communicate, engage, advise, and satisfy their customers through various channels and digital devices round the clock.

It is crucial for brokers to adapt and remain relevant within the changing landscape. Despite evolving digital ecosystems, brokers will still play a critical role in assisting customers who require independent advice. To thrive into the future, insurance brokers must embrace digital sophistication, focusing more on providing strategic advice in order to deliver the transparency and control that today’s connected customers demand. Being an early adopter offers substantial rewards. Insurance brokers need to fully understand the scale and nature of the transformation they are facing.

As digital advancement continues, insurance brokers will need to safeguard and bolster their core business while concurrently pursuing new strategies that contribute value and assistance. A Total Experience Ecosystem can serve as a valuable tool in achieving both objectives effectively.