When it comes to technology and its impact on distribution, the narrative has largely been around robo-advice and disintermediation. But Mr Joe Cheng, CEO of Group Agency Distribution, AIA Group, highlights the continued importance of face-to-face and how technology is also helping agents in ways that were not possible in the past.
In the insurance industry, face-to-face advice and interaction are vital in creating the right environment to gain customers’ confidence and nurture enduring relationships that lead to people obtaining the protection they need, he said.
“Independent research has shown that industries are not just becoming automated with machines replacing humans. They are using new intelligent building blocks to re-architect the way they do things. The human touch is more vital than ever in this evolving environment with complex products such as life insurance,” said Mr Cheng.
The fact is that today’s agent, and the agent of tomorrow, is much better digitally equipped to help and advise consumers by offering products and services that meet customers’ needs.
On the unprecedented opportunities presenting itself to agents, he said: “We are assisting agents by using technology and data to identify customers with insurance needs. Customers’ information can be analysed to provide the agent with the possible cross and up-sell opportunities that we had no chance of discovering in years gone by.”
Optimistic about the future of agency
“We are very optimistic about the future of the agency business. It has never been a more exciting and rewarding time to be an agent. We see huge untapped potential in our markets with a significant protection gap present across the region,” he said.
For AIA, Agency will remain its core distribution platform, with 70% of its Value of New Business (VONB) coming from it.
“Enabling our agents with market-leading technology will help them get closer and be more relevant to our customers and serve their needs like never before. AIA agents can also rely on the power of our trusted and well-established brand across Asia as we continue to invest in them and provide them with the tools they need to succeed,” he shared.
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