Industry Trends | Read Time: 4 Minutes

How Data and Technology Could Create a Bionic Broker

July 22, 2021

Christen Kelley headshot By: Christen Kelley

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the concept of a bionic person has started to emerge – one who combines the power of technology with their unique human attributes to enhance the customer experience. In the insurance industry, could brokers and other roles become bionic?

By leveraging technology, data and strategy, the bionic broker could become a reality.

Catching Up with Technology

Brokers are in a unique position of having a relationship with both the insured and the insurer. Like the rest of the industry and the corporate world, brokers started leaning heavily on technology in 2020 to maintain these relationships. After industry professionals started racing to implement the latest technology platforms, they realized the necessity of connectivity.

IVANS CEO Reid Holzworth joined a panel of experts to share his thoughts on the vital role of technology and digital connectivity at a virtual Commercial Lines USA conference in May.

“When you talk about the pandemic, the biggest thing I saw is the demand for connectivity with brokers and agencies,” Reid said. “People have realized all the manual tasks with paper and how much it costs their staff. It has ramped up the whole industry to double down on digital connectivity.”

There are many technology solutions available to help streamline processes, including no-code platforms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, but these tools are often siloed and disconnected.

“The tech is out there. There are a lot of shiny objects, but you need connectivity to all of these systems,” Reid said. “You see so many solutions, but if they’re not connected, they fall short. By solving the connectivity issue, you solve the biggest issue in the industry.”

In the same way that we have seen point-of-sale systems help orders go faster in a restaurant, technology can help replace manual tasks so that brokers can focus on the customer experience.

“A server can write down BLT on a piece of paper and hand it to the kitchen or they can use a system for it. Either way, the customer will get the sandwich. The difference is the piece of paper doesn't tell you how many BLTs you have sold, what your food cost is, how much inventory of bacon remains, how to manage shrinkage, etc. Basically, the technology takes the business to the next level,” Reid said. “It doesn’t mean humans are going away. It means they’ll be more efficient.”

“Basically, the technology takes the business to the next level. It doesn’t mean humans are going away. It means they’ll be more efficient.”
— Reid Holzworth, IVANS CEO

Bringing Strategy and Data to the Transaction

The insurance industry is still in the beginning phases of unlocking the power of data. Brokers have historically handed the raw data over to insurers. While some brokers are still just transferring the data, some have started to scratch the surface with data insights and others have started hiring data scientists. Guy Carpenter Senior Vice President George Woods joined Reid on the expert panel to share the perspective of a broker.

“We as brokers are starting to see what value we can find before handing it over,” George said.

The broker has always had some data at their fingertips, but with the help of more advanced technology, the potential to use that data is more realistic.

“They [brokers] are realizing they have access to the C-suite,” George said. “What’s happening is by having the trust of the client, they begin to share strategic ideas. The broker is seeing if they can provide more solutions than just transactions.”

While brokers do have a foundation of data to work with, there is still much more that could become available as more technology is adopted.

“We don’t have the data – we have some of it. With systems opening up, we’ll have the data. People can start digging in and pulling it out. We’re not there yet,” Reid said.

According to George, brokerages have already started hiring more actuaries and people with technical backgrounds and developing analytics groups. If manual processes are continuously replaced with automated technology, brokers, insurers, and MGAs will have more time to focus on bringing strategy to transactions and uncovering data insights to inform their decisions.

Leveling Up Digital Connectivity

Like Reid mentioned, the lack of digital connectivity is the biggest industry challenge to overcome as brokers and other industry professionals adopt more technology. With the IVANS Distribution Platform, insurers, agencies, and MGAs can now connect once and expand their distribution channels. This enables everyone to focus on their core business, providing a faster path to commercial quotes.

Find out how your business can become digitally connected through the IVANS Distribution Platform.

Christen Kelley headshot

Christen Kelley

Christen Kelley leads Ivans' overall marketing strategy. She brings more than a decade of insurance technology experience to her role. Kelley holds a master's degree in Communication and Information Technology from Bay Path College, and a bachelor's in Business Administration from Bryant University.