Insurance agents and adjusters have an enormous opportunity to improve outcomes and increase sales revenue by presenting the relevant information they need to close deals and up-sell customers during their meetings in the field. Unfortunately, too many agents are still limited to unreliable email and faulty web portals.

The single largest hindrance to agent productivity is a lack of access to the latest illustration tools, policy materials and people with the expertise they need to help expedite the policy writing process. To increase the likelihood of successfully transforming sales opportunities into revenue, agents need to be able to access a variety of client, policy and sales information quickly, regardless of where they are or what device they are using at any given moment.

By reducing administrative tasks and automating policy origination paperwork, insurance companies can increase their agents’ available selling time, and deliver on the expectations of customers who demand answers in seconds, not hours.

For instance, imagine if insurance adjusters could take an iPad into the field when they are doing an appraisal on a vehicle. A pre-tablet environment would require an adjuster to take hand-written notes and capture a few pictures with a digital camera while on-site. The adjuster would then have to travel back to the office to labor away at a desk, searching through databases and compiling findings from the field. With a tablet, an adjuster could access everything they needed in real time, without having to worry about traveling back to the office to complete forms or paperwork.

To put it in perspective, let’s say a rare 1985 Ferrari comes in for an appraisal. The field service professional or insurance adjuster snaps a few pictures with his iPad, taps into a technical database to find how expensive new parts are, checks if there are any available in the general area and submits a claims form on the spot.

This type of information access can completely change the way insurance adjusters work and exponentially increase available selling time.

Reinventing the Face-to-Face Relationship

By eliminating sales process inefficiencies, an agent doesn’t have to say to a customer, “I’ll have to get back to you on that,” stopping the momentum of the sale and sparking customer uncertainty. The built-in interactivity of the device creates a fluid dialogue between agent and customer, making for a less intimidating and confusing selling process.

Tablets create a more visual, user-friendly and collaborative experience in meetings with customers and provide easy access to relevant content. Tailoring the discussion to meet a customer’s individual expectations will always yield better results.

Tablets are perfect for generating and illustrating quotes, as it takes only minutes for a customer to answer a series of questions on a tablet’s touch screen. Using a product illustration system actively engages a prospective customer by shaping the policy based on their specific financial needs and objectives. Agents can quickly make changes to policy benefits, while demonstrating to the prospect how each change will affect the cost of the premium. If the customer is uncertain about a proposed premium, the agent can quickly present another one better suited to their needs and circumstances. In this way, policy sales can be closed and renewed more quickly, opening up time for new sales.

Improving the Customer Experience

We’ve all been stumped before while on the clock with a customer. Video conferencing has eliminated physical boundaries between field agents and subject matter experts. Now, if an agent is on site with a customer and inspecting something that they need a second opinion on, colleagues are only a video call away.

Automation accelerates the underwriting process as well, eliminating the time needed to transcribe error-prone written forms into the underwriting application. Digital requests submitted from the field in real time are more accurate and reduce unnecessary customer follow-ups due to transcription errors or omissions. With touch screen capabilities, customers can even sign ACORD applications with their finger, which agents can then bind on the spot.

Minimizing Wasted Time for Agents

Time wasted by agents attempting to navigate a carrier’s site searching for current versions of tools and sales content has a direct impact on an insurance carrier’s revenue. Asking agents to hunt for the latest version of the materials they need across numerous content repositories, file shares or web portals is inefficient and leaves plenty of room for agents to pull outdated versions or unapproved content.

Using analytics, insurance companies can gain insights into how content is utilized, enabling content creators to better understand what works and what doesn’t, and sales to replicate expert behavior across an entire group.

Here’s an example from a major insurance company. Originally, the carrier’s content wasn’t compatible with the company’s mobile devices. Interactive content wasn’t portable or mobile friendly and the “view only” enterprise file sync and share solution didn’t allow claims agents to edit and update content on-the-go, forcing them to return to their desks to manually enter information and update presentations. By implementing a solution that empowered their field agents to make these changes remotely, and in real time, errors were reduced and customers were better engaged throughout the claims process.

The difference between carrying tablets around and using them as a tool that enables efficiency and productivity is vast. Agents, carriers and customers all stand to gain from this shift in the insurance paradigm. Allowing agents to more effectively engage with customers in the field improves productivity, shortens sales cycles and increases selling time.

David Keane is the founder and CEO of bigtincan, a provider of mobile content enablement solutions to the Global Fortune 2000. You can contact David at david.keane@bigtincan.com

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