The rise of InsurTech within general insurance has been widely documented, with professionals increasingly facing disruption in their day-to-day roles that can only be met with the help of technology. While the human element of insurance broking is still critical – and Commercial Account Executives must be seen to be trusted advisors – new tools and technologies are enabling executives to cover more ground at once. Despite this, legacy systems and a resistance to change mean many Commercial Account Executives aren’t effectively utilising technology in their day to day dealings. So what are the benefits of doing so, and how can it help you secure more business as a Commercial Account Executive?
Where are we at currently?
Looking at the insurance industry as it stands currently, it could be said that brokers and account executives aren’t using marketing technology as well as they should. However, change is certainly afoot, with57% of brokers saying the insurance industry will be disrupted as investment in InsurTech continues to take hold in the UK. According to the Chartered Insurance Institute, this potential disruption has been slow going, with technology-led change in broker/client interaction rare and technological opportunities not fully exploited. There has, however, been some uptake amongst the likes of Willis Towers Watson, which has rolled out a cloud enabled service to improve information security, reduce business risk and boost productivity. Elsewhere, brokers including Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions arm and Guy Carpenter have collaborated with The Institutes RiskStream Collaborative on the use of distributed ledger technology and blockchain, a move which is said to be an important step in improving transactional efficiency and creating value.
Despite this cluster of firms dipping their toe into the technology pool, we’re still largely seeing a combination of tele-marketing and tele-prospecting as the way to secure new business, with a reluctance from commercial account executives to fully embrace platforms such as Hubspot and Salesforce. Existing business connections are being mined for referrals, but there is a limit to this – which is where technology comes in.
What can technology do?
Account executives spend 47% of their time on administrative tasks, with the remaining 54% on client services, according to the Chartered Insurance Institute. This highlights a prime opportunity for software to streamline administrative processes to free up human resources to spend more time on client interaction.
Account executives may manage up to 250 commercial prospects at any one time – but it is unlikely such management is effective and efficient. It is unrealistic for an account executive to physically call and check in with every one of these prospects each month. Technology can enable this interaction, with a whole host of automation and artificial intelligence tools on the market designed specifically to help executives identify the right leads at the right time. Take Salesforce’s suite of tools as an example: Sales Cloud Einstein uses AI to help target the best leads, while Pardot is an automation tool that turns web visitors into sales leads. Elsewhere, Open GI can be employed to streamline the full cycle process, Acturis is considered an industry leader due to its end-to-end client management capacity and Applied Epic is the fastest-growing cloud-based user management system, now rolled out and in use across the UK.
There has long been discussion around legacy platforms and the resistance to digitisation within insurance, which remains a problem for many larger corporations in the UK. However, there is plenty that can be done even if core platforms are difficult to change. Brokers can embrace digitalisation in their everyday customer interactions, from using social media (particularly LinkedIn) more effectively to utilising video conferencing. Executives can disseminate thought leadership that is relevant to their client markets, using technology to build brand awareness, run inbound marketing campaigns and generate leads. This builds on the current ‘niching’ movement, where insurance professionals are increasingly tailoring their messaging to narrow, specialised groups in order to secure new business.
What should I incorporate into my work as a Commercial Account Executive?
Taking an innovative approach to lead generation gives you a competitive advantage in the broker marketplace. Savvy use of technology can see executives go from managing 250 prospects to thousands, with predictive analytics pinpointing which of these are the most likely to buy. This provides more time for executives to focus on those leads which have a higher chance of converting, dedicating their attention and high-value human expertise to those potential clients. Clever use of technology could help to shift the almost 50/50 split of time spent on administration and client services, something which will only benefit both the industry and executives themselves.
As the account executive population continues to age, technology provides a significant opportunity for new entrants to disrupt it with a more innovative approach. Prospective clients in the digital age will want to see an understanding and harnessing of technology from their insurance brokers, and those who don’t keep up with this risk being left behind.
Take the next step as a Commercial Account Executive with IDEX
At IDEX, we pride ourselves on staying up to date with the latest market trends and technologies. We’ve been providing a bespoke service to the insurance sector since 2006 and take pride in advising talented candidates on their next career step. Find your next general insurance job with us here.