November 17, 2021
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Despite the increasing pace of modernization across the insurance market, agents remain in demand. According to Levvel’s 2021 Insurance Consumer Report: A Guide to Growing Digital Demands for Insurance Providers, 50% of customers “feel the need to speak to an agent at least a couple of times per year or more,” often for tasks such as filing claims or making coverage changes.
Web and mobile applications, meanwhile, make it easy for customers to quickly get quotes, learn about their insurance options, and make payments. The result? Market success now depends on the effective combination of trained staff and self-service software to provide complete customer support. Here’s what it looks like in practice.
Agents exist at the crossroads between physical and digital touchpoints. While fewer customers now opt for in-person visits and are choosing mobile-first insurance services, the critical and often complex nature of insurance products means that human expertise continues to be invaluable.
As a result, agents remain in demand across three key areas:
As noted by the Levvel survey results, while just 15% of customers prefer to speak with an agent to make insurance payments, 58% want human expertise when it comes to filing claims, 55% prefer people for making coverage changes, and 53% opt for agents if they need assistance.
Agents also form the core of the customer outreach process. While apps may include banner ads or policy discount offers, the complex nature of many insurance products means that customers prefer to speak with experts who can give them an exact breakdown of what they’re getting—and how much it will cost.
Customers want apps that provide regular updates on claims status, but agents are the preferred option for completing the claims settlement process. Here’s why: With settlement amounts often tied to multiple factors and affected by specific policy details, customers want the ability to ask agents how claims decisions were reached, what happens next, and what (if any) avenues for recourse are available if settlements don’t match expectations.
More than half of survey respondents believe that risks are variable and insurance policies should be personalized and adaptable to meet their needs. Self-service software processes offer an ideal starting point for this personalization: Prospective customers can enter basic personal data and insurance requirements to generate rate and policy options and get answers to commonly asked questions about premiums, payments, and deductibles.
The Levvel research report shows that best-in-class apps also include frequent updates about claims in process, personalized data-sharing options, and strong security features such as facial recognition or digital signatures to gain access.
Trained agents, meanwhile, act as the next step in the process—once apps have laid the groundwork, humans take over to complete the purchase or deal with more in-depth questions or concerns.
Known as a “human in the loop” approach, this combination of people and processes allows digital transformation to enhance agent abilities. Rather than replacing agents across the insurance process, web and mobile apps set the stage for agents to deliver improved customer service by equipping them with relevant and real-time customer data.
This hybrid approach also lends itself to simple scalability. With apps handling the heavy lifting of data collection, entry, and basic verification, agents can serve more customers more quickly. And as customer volumes increase, insurance providers can easily scale up IT infrastructure to handle growing demand while the number of agents required to complete key tasks remains relatively stable.
Bottom line? Agents are still in demand to address complex questions and solve customer concerns, but web and mobile applications are preferred for easy access and personalization. To deliver on digital-first expectations, providers are best served by a hybrid approach that combines software and staff to create a complete customer service loop.
Discover more about making the most of insurance modernization—read the full Levvel Insurance Consumer Report.
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