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How Agencies and Brokers Can Successfully Scale Carrier Connections

By Jim Dwane, bolt Chief Executive Officer

Businesses throughout the insurance industry are rushing to digitize in the wake of the pandemic, but some considerations are needed to guarantee long-term success.

Deloitte’s 2021 Insurance Outlook found 87 percent of insurance leaders with operational responsibilities believe the pandemic unveiled shortcomings with their company’s digital strategy. Almost everyone surveyed said they were speeding up digital transformation efforts.

In a rush to connect with as many carriers as possible, brokers and agents are building myriad individual peer-to-peer (P2P) connections. The peer-to-peer concept is actually how insurance distribution first began to diversify, but it’s no longer a suitable solution.

While these connections work, they aren’t scalable and detract significantly from the customer experience. An alternative is required.

What Are The Challenges of P2P?

The benefits of peer-to-peer connections may seem obvious — giving insurance brokers access to a broad cross-section of carriers offers a wealth of choice to consumers. However, the pitfalls become quickly apparent.

The main issue is that peer-to-peer connections actually limit customer choice. Because there are individual connections with each carrier, brokers (and therefore customers) must go through each connection one by one. The more carriers there are to choose from, the more likely it will be that customers are forced to pick a handful of carriers in advance of entering any personal information. In essence, brokers using P2P connections ask customers to choose a carrier even before they’ve had a chance to compare prices or coverage.

The alternative is to have customers provide their personal information to each carrier. Few customers will put up with that kind of experience. Brokers cannot expect a customer to go through multiple channels, filling in the same information over and over again. We’ve all come to count on a more seamless user experience from digital platforms.

These multiple P2P connections also pile additional work onto the broker. All of those connections must be managed individually, which quickly becomes cumbersome, time-consuming and expensive. The more connections the broker adds, the more complex the system becomes. It’s the antithesis of a scalable process.

A Better, Choice-Based Alternative

There’s a better way for brokers to connect with multiple carriers. Rather than create and manage a unique connection with each, brokers can leverage an API-powered platform that links to all of their chosen carriers through one single interface.

Rather than filling out individual forms to connect with each of a dozen different carriers, brokers and their customers simply need to complete a single form once to receive personalized quotes from all available carriers.

Brokers who use these kinds of platforms will thrive, says Seth Rachlin, Ph.D., executive vice president at Capgemini. “Ultimately, as those electronic trading platforms evolve, the brokers who are particularly tech-focused are going to see enormous value, not only in terms of their operational efficiencies, but also in their ability to deliver true value-added services to their customers.”

That’s because brokers can streamline their process, declutter the administration side of things and reduce costs. What takes repeated tasks and duplicate efforts with P2P channels can be achieved in one stroke with a platform. And as systems reduce friction, they are more easily able to grow.

The benefit to customers is more choice and a much more seamless user experience. They only have to submit information once to get every possible quote and price. Ultimately, this results in more sales for the broker.

Partnering with bolt provides companies with a single pipeline that connects to a wealth of carriers — more than any other insurance exchange. It’s a flexible, scalable and lower-cost alternative to peer-to-peer alternatives.

Images by: Elisa Ventur, Amy Hirschi