Why agents may be missing the boat on automation
Property and casualty insurance carriers are moving ahead with plans to implement automation, with many either developing automation strategies or already in production. Recent research by ReSource Pro Consulting on digital strategies in mid/large commercial lines, however, shows many agencies are uncertain about the impact of some forms of automation. This uncertainty could be depriving agencies of significant growth opportunities.
ReSource Pro Consulting’s January 2022 report, “P&C Agency Distribution: Digital Strategies and Plans for Mid/Large Commercial Lines in 2022,” sheds light on where agencies’ see an impact from artificial intelligence. While agencies generally see positive impact on insurance in several AI technologies over the next three to five years, 79% are uncertain about the impact of robotic process automation (RPA) and bots.
Interestingly, this percentage does not square with carriers’ views, as ReSource Pro Consulting found in its December 2022 report, “Transformational Technologies in P&C Commercial Lines: Insurers’ Progress for 2022 and Future Predictions.” Most carriers are in the investing or staging phases of transformational technologies, meaning carriers are developing strategies and plans, piloting, implementing, or already in production. Those technologies include:
- Machine learning, where 80% of carriers are in the investing or staging phase
- Natural language processing, 80% in investing or staging phase
- RPA, 88% in investing or staging phase
- Computer vision, 65% in investing or staging phase
Where agencies see positive impact to automation
Insurance agencies surveyed by ReSource Pro Consulting said they do see some of these transformational tools as having a positive impact, though to a lesser extent than do mid to large P&C carriers. For example, machine learning is one of the top automation technologies that agencies view as having a positive impact on insurance, with 67% saying so. Natural language processing is seen as positive by 56% of agencies, while computer vision is viewed as positive by 42%.
Some of the difference in perspectives between agents and carriers is to be expected, as many of the transformational technologies and automation tools have been piloted or in use longer by carriers. As more agencies and brokerages gain experience with these tools, their views may change. For the time being, many firms in the distribution channel may be missing an opportunity to derive advantages from automation.
What agencies can do with automation
Automation empowers insurance professionals to meet their customer needs faster and with more accuracy and can give employees more time to focus on higher-value activities. ReSource Pro Consulting research shows the top five business drivers of tech investments among agencies are:
- Improving efficiencies
- Improving the customer experience
- Staying competitive
- Improving profitability
- Growing market share
Automation can be a big value driver in agency operations. For example, RPA can help producers and customer service representatives to complete coverage submissions, prepare for renewal discussions, and accelerate new business prospecting. By reducing or even eliminating manual processes, agencies can apply significant time savings to improving customer service or finding solutions to complex coverage needs.
ReSource Pro Consulting’s report on agency digital strategies in mid/large commercial lines found the biggest technology and business roadblocks for agencies are uncertainty about adoption, uncertainty regarding ROI, and prioritization challenges. This uncertainty can prevent or delay agencies from adopting automation. Agencies can address these issues with help from an expert partner that has deep experience in developing and implementing automation strategies. ReSource Pro can enable your agency to determine what’s needed to start benefiting from transformational technologies, develop strategies, and build and manage automation tools. Learn more about our experience with automation.