An adviser’s work relies hugely on networking, events and in-person meetings, and according to one tech expert, advisers have not done enough to carry that through into a digital environment.

JRNY co-founder and CEO Michael Lovegrove says that for most advisers, the extent of their transition into remote working has been through installing Zoom. And although this is a good start, he says a client’s online experience should be more comprehensive than this, from providing information to talking through their options.

“Digital innovation is no longer just a nice to have; it’s a must have,” Lovegrove said. “It’s no longer just about reducing costs or improving margins- COVID-19 has shown that it’s now an imperative addition to risk management processes and business continuity planning (BCP) as well.”

“I think advisers very much rely on in-person meetings and communication,” Lovegrove said.

“That’s now been ripped away from them, and so being able to transact and build your business has become really tough.”

“What we have seen little of is insurers or banks deciding to deploy technology to empower their advisers, which they absolutely need to do,” he explained.

“Advisers are still the ones who are bringing them business, and there aren’t currently many tools for them to use. They’re still using forms that need to be printed out, signed, scanned and sent off, and that doesn’t work for anybody. They need to have something that they can fill out digitally or on their phone, and so everyone can do their transactions online.”

Lovegrove says that an end-to-end interaction might involve an adviser sending a client a link for an online information form, which would give the adviser and insurer immediate access to the client’s details. They could then organise a video conference to talk through options, and digitally sign off on a suitable product.

“Financial services firms need to provide the digital tools so that advisers can do their job, and the advisers need to think about how they can digitise particular processes,” Lovegrove said.

“It’s not about “let’s send off an email,” it’s about how you can make it easy, and make sure you run as efficiently as possible. The truth is that nobody likes dealing with insurance, so how do you make it less painful?”

“That’s the kind of interaction that we need to have – a facilitated, augmented online experience,” he concluded. “At the moment, we just haven’t seen that yet.”

JRNY is a New Zealand headquartered insurtech company working in APAC markets. Its mission is to help insurance providers protect people better by making the insurance customer journey simpler and easier than ever before.