The insurance advisory landscape is evolving rapidly with the changing behaviour of the society in the digital-first world. Rather than viewing it as a threat to the careers of insurance agents and advisers, Mr Sara Lamsam, President and CEO of Muang Thai Life Assurance, said the way forward is for advice that combines digital insight with human touch.
It is almost accepted as a fact that insurance products are not on people’s wish list. Hence, traditional marketing has always been focused on pushing products.
“The world is changing rapidly. Customers are now more responsive to, and positive about, the importance of insurance,” he said.
Customers are increasingly digital-savvy. They research, ask questions, compare and they share their experiences and findings online, often even before meeting an adviser. This is a trend that cannot be denied and it is up to agents to transform themselves and ride the wave.
Of course, there will be some customers who will feel that they do not need agency services. There will also be those who demand a frictionless approach with the right products pushed to them directly at the right time.
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“As an industry, we need to manage and adapt to these consumer demands in order to survive and thrive; however, advice from digital insight combined with human touch is the best way to do it,” said Mr Sara Lamsam.
The use of technology is essential in helping agents in training, facilitating needs-based selling, understanding customers more deeply and matching the consumer needs with the right products.
“Through data analytics, we can move beyond a generic one-size-fits-all product that needs to be pushed. By making good use of data, we can look at personalised products and services to meet individual needs of our customers as a ‘segment of one’,” he said.
Insurers and agents have to work together since change is inevitable. There will be greater use of technology for insights, but advice will still need to be given face-to-face. He said, “Face-to-face, whether agents or representatives in banks, is still going to be important, but the way it is being done will have to change. It needs to be advice-based. These tech-savvy customers will no longer accept a push sales strategy.”
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