The past year has made a significant impact on how individuals engage with one another across industries. Physical distancing measures have transformed traditionally performed activities, with several companies resorting to remote working for most of their employees. V. Viswanand, Deputy Managing Director, Max Life Insurance, shares in this article how it has affected insurance distribution and reimagines advisers' role to align with the future of life insurance distribution in India.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably affected insurance distribution in a country like ours, where the popularity of insurance agent advisers runs strong. So much so that even in a technologically advanced era, face-to-face distribution has been the primary driver of new business in the life insurance space.
However, amidst the rapidly changing business landscape, the pandemic has highlighted the need for a new approach.
Reimagining distribution in a digitalised world and focusing on digitally empowering agents has become very important for new-age insurers, such that they can thrive in a post-COVID-19 world by navigating short- and long-term challenges effectively.
Digital disruption is transforming the insurance business of today
By embracing digital disruption, partnering with disruptors, and leveraging new technologies that meet rapidly rising expectations, agents could engage with customers more effectively and drive sustainable new growth.
At an inflection point brought by the pandemic, the insurance industry has to deploy robust digital tools that can help pave the path for agents’ progress in the long run.
With traditional roles and workplace structures in transition, these digital tools have become the need of the hour to help upgrade operations across the entire sales and distribution chain.
From prospecting to onboarding, learning, and engagement, insurers must identify and leverage an array of advanced tools to empower the agent advisor’s role.
New models, new growth opportunities
In today’s ‘new’ normal, new-age insurers will have to understand how reinventing the distribution model with insurance agent advisers on the field will impact the overall business.
The pertinent need is to nurture the right kind of innovation to establish a distribution model in the best interest of the agent built in a robust, sustainable manner, that is suitable for the post-pandemic world.
Building efficient distribution modules will also be imperative for helping the agents come up to speed and empower them to solicit insurance policies efficiently.
To be resilient in the current situation, insurance companies would have to go beyond successful crisis management and capitalise on new opportunities.
A roadmap for the future
Ultimately, for life insurers to efficiently leverage technology-backed changes and build differentiated insurance agent adviser enablement solutions, it is pertinent to create a culture that is welcoming of digital metamorphosis.
Having digital-savvy leaders who are keen to internalise digital upgrade into day-to-day operations and frequently communicate the benefits of digital methods can help and motivate agents to embrace change in the wake of COVID-19 effectively.
The pandemic has provided lessons on a redirection for all industries and businesses across the spectrum.
As a successfully emerging and reliable sector in the country, it is about time for the life insurance sector to take on the future #FrontFootPe and be ready to operate in the post-pandemic world.
An industry veteran in the financial services sector for nearly three decades, V. Viswanand is Deputy Managing Director at Max Life Insurance and a member of the Board.
Under his belt, he is responsible for Distribution, including Proprietary Channels, Bancassurance and Third Party Business, Institutional Sales, Business Development and Distribution Operations.
He steers the strategic direction and growth of the company and leads the Max Skill First training partnership as well as the Procurement and Facilities functions.
He played an instrumental role in not only propelling the company to emerge as the industry leader in Customer Retention, Claims Paid Ratio and Customer Loyalty but also had led the Company’s wins in several global and national accolades in Quality and Technology, including the coveted Gold medal at ASQ, USA and RBNQA.
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