Despite the higher availability of insurance policies that can be bought over the Internet or telephone, insurance agents still remain the main distribution channel. There is an expression in Polish - you do not buy insurance policies, you sell them. More than 2/3 of all insurance contracts are concluded through insurance agents. Insurance companies are well aware of this fact and therefore try and accommodate the agents to ease their work and support their actions. Better working conditions attract better agents and better agents assure better sales results.
Besides sales and product training, which agents are obliged to attend on a regular basis, as well as marketing support, it has become a standard to apply modern IT solutions in order to serve insurance agents.
The first group of solutions is dedicated portals for brokers (Comarch CMS). Their role is to deliver basic product information to their users. A proper portal offers current and reliable data on the insurance company, products offered by it, the overall conditions of sold policies, internal regulations and proceedings of certain actions.
In order to ease access to information on clients, policies, current settlements and policy phases, service agents often gain access to dedicated solutions by taking data from the production systems of insurance companies. Maintaining a high level of security and data safety is crucial in this regard (Comarch Draco). Agents greatly value the availability of monitoring current sales values and levels of commission dues. Being able to compare approaching deadlines of installment dues and lists of expiring risks on a daily basis are very helpful (Comarch Internet Insurance). An optimal solution is to unite various systems in the form of one useful platform. This approach guarantees no need for multiple logging into more than one system and it is easier to train users. These types of solutions are called mashup. They consist of various applications selected accordingly to one agent's needs, unified into one solution working on an internet environment (CAFE for Insurance).
Examples of these solutions include:
- Special production insurance systems (Comarch Nonlife Insurance, Comarch Life Insurance, Comarch Insurance Claims)
- Systems supporting sales and customer relationship maintenance (Comarch Sales Management and Comarch CRM)
- Systems for training remotely (Comarch eLearning)
According to the Novarica report, an American analytics company examining business and technological trends on the financial market, during cooperation with insurance companies, insurance agents are focused mostly on comfort, good relations, responsibility and the speed of reaction to issues on the insurance company's side. Agents start and maintain cooperation more eagerly with companies, which offer them a better content of dedicated internet portals and more usability of functionalities. The same goes for customer portals; those supporting insurance agents must contain current and detailed information about products and have convenient operational tools. Insurance agents pay special attention to the insurance premiums calculator and forms allowing to initiate various processes, especially the process of insurance policy sales, damage enrollment, access to data about current production and due commission value.
Agents pointed out the following portal features as especially significant:
- capability of binding the calculation of insurance premiums
- access to information on policies and clearance
- usage of safe electronic mail provided by the insurance company These features are crucial for cooperation durability.
Additionally, agents indicated tools for improving cooperation with insurance companies, offering quick communication with competent underwriters, in order to smoothly adjust to customers’ needs.
According to the report, using portals is gaining more and more popularity, higher than the usage of agent sales applications, which are applications installed on an agents' personal computer. 72% of research participants stated that they use insurance companies’ dedicated portals – only 53% of them use agent sales applications.
The Novarica research was conducted in the United States. There are no doubts though, that sales support from insurance companies is of great significance in our region as well.