During this year’s CIAB-EBLF, ReSource Pro Consulting’s Mark Breading sat down with a panel of several other industry leaders to talk about the profound impact of new technologies on the insurance workplace. In this blog, we’ll recap Mark’s answers to key questions surrounding technology, including the impact of AI on insurance roles, the risks associated with tech, and more.
Q: What is the biggest shift you’ve seen in the last five years with respect to how employee benefits brokers approach technology?
The biggest shift is how tech has enabled a higher level of service to small and medium-sized clients. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have invested in new ways to manage costs better. Today, it’s far easier for a broker to integrate with APIs and other companies, such as payroll providers. This has made serving those smaller clients more feasible and has enabled brokers to go a step further with a more consultative approach.
Q: What effect has AI had on jobs that are in demand across the industry?
Make no mistake, tech is transforming our everyday lives and it’s accelerating. But while I’m very pro-technology, I’m equally pro-human. I believe that in our industry, AI is not going to replace human expertise. I don’t see AI driving automated decision-making for the kind of complex decisions that insurance professionals have to make. It’s going to be a balance. The winners will be the ones who find the best way to leverage the strengths of both tech and human expertise. And as we talk about tech and AI and their impact on roles, it’s important to also consider the effect it will have will on career paths. If we’re beginning to automate the tasks we’d normally give to an entry-level employee, what does that career path now look like?
Q: Carriers are investing in new service capabilities and digital resources. Are brokers in alignment with those investments/enhancements?
They are somewhat aligned. ReSource Pro has done lots of P&C research to see what agencies expect from their carrier partners and what carriers are actually building. While we haven’t researched the EB side, we’ve found that there are certain investments carriers prioritize, like portals, that are typically not an agency’s highest priority. But there is decent alignment. Carriers are taking the right steps by investing in things like download capabilities and APIs that allow them to connect to the right partners—such as payroll providers, benefit platforms, and raters.
Q: When we think about tech, which advancement do you think has been most impactful to the industry?
A few things come to mind. One is the availability of more options for electronic enrollment, especially for small and mid-size employers. Then there’s self-service options and improvements in BenAdmin platforms, both of which have helped shift the burden from the broker to the employer. And lastly, the ongoing integration with payroll providers has made a big difference.
Q: Is there a place for ChatGPT in the solutions companies offer?
I think a big opportunity is correspondence creation. In our industry, there is so much correspondence that we create, and ChatGPT and similar tools can help us become focused more on insurance. I’ve also seen demos where ChatGPT is used to query databases. A senior exec can ask a simple query, and ChatGPT will build the query code and come back with the answer. You have to wonder where business intelligence solutions will be in the future because generative AI can have these conversations with databases. Should we develop large language models and train them to be insurance-specific? I think so.
Q: When it comes to the usage of new technology, what are the risks?
The number one risk is data. Specifically, when it comes to compliance, privacy, and security. Today there is so much manual data entry, and that already exposes us to risk. When we move into a world where we’re more digitally connected, with smart devices and so on, it opens up a lot more exposure. And we have to think about how to manage all of that data in a secure way.
Read More About AI
We hope you enjoyed this recap, and if you’d like to hear more of Mark’s perspective on AI, consider reading his articles, “Should We Trust AI to Make P&C Decisions? and “How My View of ChatGPT Changed In 90 Days.” Be sure to visit our Consulting page to learn how ReSource Pro can help guide your organization’s technology strategy and investments.