The world of insurance is changing rapidly as insurers modernize their system and look toward what’s next. The work of the future will look vastly different for brokers, writes Joe Markland for Employee Benefit Adviser, but “the opportunities ahead are much greater than at any time in the past.” Part of the reason is that insurers are finally starting to catch up on things like basic system modernization, write Sreedhar Alavalapati and Krishna Prasad for benefitspro.com. This foundation allows insurers to try new things and explore new possibilities.

 

Here are four ways brokers will benefit from insurance tech improvements.

 

  1. Serve customers better

 

Big data is being used for what Alavalapati and Prasad call “actionable analytics.” It could totally revamp customer service. “Increasing customer knowledge is a fundamental part of providing an effective omni-channel experience and allows insurers to identify opportunities for cross-selling products and services that they have not had the ability to identify in the past,” they write.

 

Possible action items could include increasing cloud-based offerings, especially in areas that will offer “the most positive and direct impact,” Alavalapati and Prasad write, “things such as more intuitive user interfaces for agents and customers, and real-time access to policy and claims information and updates.”

 

  1. Improving old options and introducing new ones

 

“Much-needed technological advances have been sweeping the entire health care industry. Private exchanges, online enrollment and a wave of benefits administration and other HR automation like PPACA compliance have dominated the space in recent years,” according to benefitspro.com.

 

Self-funding is growing in popularity, and Markland predicts “most health insurance will be individually purchased within 3-5 years,” which could drastically change the role brokers play in how those individuals are insured.

 

  1. A push toward holistic tools

 

“There’s the push toward ‘one desktop,'” Markland writes. “The thinking is that an HR system shouldn’t be somewhere you go. It should be a seamless part of your daily user experience as an employee.” He believes this option will be especially popular among companies with 100 employees or fewer. They “will look for a single-source technology and services solution,” he writes.

 

  1. Tech-based add-ons

 

“Employee benefits brokers have an increasing number of innovative ‘value-added’ solutions they can offer their employer group clients,” writes Katie Kuehner-Hebert for benefitspro.com, which can be used for fringe or voluntary benefits.

 

These include vendors that allow employers to set daily goals that help employees explore fitness and wellness activities in a social way, or have on-demand access to doctors and nurses to provide remote health care services. “In all cases, the value-add services can generate greater appreciation from their clients, resulting in stickier relationships,” Kuehner-Hebert writes.