Digitisation compels agents and advisers to be "more human" - startup CEO

01 Aug 2017

Technology will not replace agents and advisers; instead, digitisation will force them to focus on their "more human" traits like being curious and thinking critically, said Ms Kang So-Young, CEO and co-founder of Gnowbe, a mobile-first learning platform for businesses.

Three key challenges that insurance companies face today are staying on top of a dynamic InsurTech landscape; agent retention and development—specifically recruiting and developing millennials; and providing a WOW customer experience, highlighted Ms Kang, who was speaking at the 1st International Training Summit for Life Agents and Financial Advisers organised by Asia Insurance Review.

For the last point, she said that insurers today should look at how to create the most amazing customer experience, or they would otherwise be disrupted quickly.  A chatbot can provide advice, but in her view, it cannot take the place of the agent in terms of the "three Cs" of humanisation.

What makes an agent human?

She cited the three Cs:

  • Curiosity

The desire and will to understand others and their deep needs –why do they need insurance? Desire to protect? Financial gain? Fear?

  • Critical Listening + Thinking

Finding innovative, alternative solutions to clients’ true needs and adapt to them accordingly.

  • Creativity

The ability to constantly innovate new solutions, potential products and ways of serving customers in new ways.

Thus, she said, the question at hand is how to develop agents in these traits as many of them today deal significantly with transactional matters--that should be left to technology. “How do we move them from that place which is easily systematised, automated and replaceable to one that is more creative, curious and relationship building to create that ‘wow’—that makes clients want to call you,” said Ms Kang.

Fostering being more human

She said that agents should shift to new ways of engaging their customers. From skill-building and just knowing, they should change their mindsets and behaviours to truly understand and build relationships. From pushing content in a way to “spoonfeed” agents, who then consume it passively, insurers should find ways for agents to take ownership of their learning in a personal way. And from passive content consumption, insurers should help their agents take part in participatory learning, who will then develop their skills in critical thinking, curiosity and creativity. This is what Gnowbe, the learning platform she founded, aims to achieve.

Bearing these in mind, technology would serve as a useful tool to co-exist with agents. “I don’t believe tech should replace human beings. Tech should empower and enhance the human experience,” said Ms Kang.