As published in Insurance Journal
The small commercial market offers tremendous opportunities for agents to increase their market share more than ever before, particularly for those who leverage technology to effectively and efficiently serve their customers. However, it is critical these technologies enable, rather than exclude, the expertise of an agent or a carrier in the insurance buying process for small businesses.
Our research continues to reinforce the premise that commercial customers are not inclined to directly purchase business insurance online. In fact, in a survey conducted by The Hanover and Forbes Insights, we learned just 2% of small businesses surveyed purchased their insurance online. Many of these businesses realize just how complex their insurance can be and how important it is to protect the assets they worked so hard to build. So, when it comes time to make a purchase, they want to work with an expert. Some small businesses may go online to research their options, but, ultimately, they rightly continue to value and trust the advice of an independent agent.
As insurance carriers continue to invest in innovation and digitization, agents benefit as well. Independent agents are partnering with carriers that prioritize their technology investments in ways that enable independent agents to augment their expert counsel with efficient technology capabilities, delivering an even better customer experience.
Let’s talk tech
Here’s a look at how some carriers are investing in technology to help drive a positive impact for your agency’s day-to-day operations—and your growth:
Quoting – Carriers are making it easier for you to get a quote, with quoting systems that are intuitively built, with clear steps and prefilled fields. Partnering with a carrier that aligns its quoting process with your workflows is key. For example, with the introduction of a new, efficient quoting and issuance system for small commercial business from The Hanover, agents can quickly generate quotes for small accounts with both standard and specialized coverage needs through TAP Sales, helping to make the process more efficient. Our new system has proven to be 50% faster and more efficient with pre-fill of data fields and a more intuitive workflow.
Servicing – Carriers are investing in service enhancements that make it easier for agencies to remotely serve their clients. As the pandemic continues to guide businesses and agencies toward more remote work settings, it’s important to partner with carriers that offer conveniences such as electronic signatures, paperless options for policyholders and agents, and electronic document delivery to agency management systems – all critical when it comes to effectively servicing customers in a virtual world.
Customer experience – Carriers are finding ways to expand their customer-facing online self-service options, offering ways for customers to manage their policies, conduct routine transactions, and handle certain claims. As agents consider carriers that offer digital customer service experiences, they are looking for effective customer self-service tools, such as online platforms and mobile apps. With expanded capabilities on the My Hanover Policy web portal and The Hanover mobile app, the company has focused on delivering self-service solutions that customers need and want, while at the same time, helping agencies improve their efficiencies. With these self-service tools, customers see value in completing their own easy service transactions such as paying a bill, viewing policy documents and ordering insurance certificates, while agents gain more capacity to grow their businesses and broaden their expert consultation to their customers.
The power of people
The Hanover is a carrier partner that puts people first: our agents, our customers and our staff. That commitment to people drives us to create processes and digital tools that enhance the user experience and offer innovative solutions that enhance the expertise of our agents. In the end, though, digitization will not replace the expertise and dedication of the people that power them. Technology provides the tools, but ultimately, it’s the agent who will find the right solutions—and make the real difference.
About the author
Erin Fenlon is The Hanover’s vice president, small commercial operations. With more than 25 years of property and casualty experience, she is a proven leader with expertise in the transformation of operating models, technology and processes, resulting in successful profitable growth and modernization of the user experience.