When Tom Sawyer saved himself some work by convincing the young boys of Hannibal, Missouri to paint his fence for him, he proved that he understood the “customer experience,” and how to convert customers’ desires into an accomplished goal. When it comes to distribution management, we can also use customer demand and agency trends to help us sharpen insurance distribution processes so that we can “work smarter, not harder.”
While many insurers are focused on how they can develop next gen products and modernize for flexible customer engagement, they shouldn’t take their eyes off of the sales and distribution process itself. Distribution is currently in a major phase of change that can be disruptive, if not handled properly. It deserves its own focus because it is, of course, the doorway through which your customers pass.
This week, Majesco announced the availability of Version 11 of its Majesco Distribution Management platform. Distribution Management Version 11 is the perfect example of integrating the best tools and processes to work smarter, not harder. It takes the concept of 3D Strategy (which we’ll discuss in a moment) and delivers new efficiencies and expanded insights in distribution management.
“With the proliferation of new channels and the consolidation of agent and broker channels, insurers must meet the unique needs of these diverse channels with more innovative, forward-looking channel management, compensation and on-boarding capabilities,” said Eric Bustos, Vice President of Distribution Management Practice at Majesco, in this week’s press release. “Majesco Distribution Management provides a new platform that brings digital, distribution and data together for a new era of insurance to help insurers optimize and grow business.”
“3D” Understanding and Strategy — The View Across Three Dimensions
Everything is connected. When developing business strategies, context is just as important as process. How can we use the connections to our benefit? Can a trend in “data” modify our creation of a “digital experience”? Does a demographic shift among agents tell us anything about how we can improve the distribution experience for agents and brokers?
To better understand the vital role of distribution management strategy, we’re going to take a few minutes to walk around the perimeter of three D pillars, Digital, the core functions of Distribution, and Data. We’ll also look at how Majesco Distribution Management Version 11 uses the three cohesively to improve visibility, usability and results.
Digital — Customer Desire and Insurer Engagement
Marketing pays great attention to customer engagement, measuring criteria such as Net Promoter Score (NPS). But when it comes to the customer relationship, is the insurer itself engaged? Are agents completely engaged? Are associates within the organization attentive and engaged and using systems to their full potential? Digital efforts can transform an insurer’s definition of engagement.
With margins under attack across all lines of business, and as customers’ digitally-driven engagement expectations increase, insurers must have a broad digital strategy that transforms the engagement process across a multi-channel environment. Multi-channel options enable agents, channel partners, outside parties and customers to interact with insurers from any channel, any device at any time and in real time.
A well-rounded digital strategy can yield competitive advantages. Since no relationship can be considered a one-way street, Majesco has designed a digital engagement platform, Majesco Digital1st Insurance® that carries through on its promise to engage users at all levels and responsibilities — inside and outside the organization. Distribution Management Version 11 fits within an insurer’s multi-channel strategy with these key features:
- Mobile/Portal Digital Engagement is enabled via pre-integration with Majesco Digital1st Insurance®, so that insurers can create unique agent, broker and customer digital experiences – from quoting through compensation management and reporting.
- Multi-Channel Enablement helps insurers to expand into new channels and manage across channels, while still keeping control of complex compensation.
- A Robust API Catalog and API Gateway with hundreds of OAS3.0 compliant APIs to tap into an ecosystem of data sources and digital delivery partners, offering innovative capabilities for agents or brokers.
- Digital Tour Guide improves user adoption of features with contextual menus and interactive tutorials that make it easy to do business.
Capabilities such as these can align the whole organization behind digital transformations instead of isolating the engagement conversation to non-integrated customer portals.
Distribution — Precision Management of Agents, Channels and Performance
Traditional distribution management technologies were built to manage distribution’s basic needs in an era of traditional channels. Today’s era of expanding channels including direct, marketplaces, compare sites, and partnerships are reaching customers in new ways and demand new distribution capabilities. Today’s technologies, data and analytic features and automated functions have infused next gen distribution management with both new capabilities and optimizations of current tasks. The result is a core that eclipses the traditional approach in both value and relevance.
Automation is crucial. There are too many details to consider within distribution and too many new channels and data sources to operate efficiently without it. Majesco has previously automated many producer lifecycle processes, but Majesco Distribution Management Version 11 takes automation to a whole new level.
Within agency processes, these automations begin the moment a new agent is hired. Enhanced Onboarding and Compliance offers automated credentialing, licensing and appointments. Compensation, Performance and Relationship Management provides enhanced Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and benefits including automatic evaluation of benefit schemes based on evaluation frequency, and state-specific requirements. Growth-focused benefits have been greatly expanded, including compensation schemes based on transactional, event-based, KPI-based schedules, and innovative new schemes that will allow insurers to achieve real channel optimization and growth.
Data — A Distribution Game Changer
Data’s value to distribution must once again be viewed in context. Data and analytical reporting is useful in agency and producer understanding, measuring KPIs, selecting sales opportunities and branching into new markets and geographies. An insurer’s data, analytics and distribution management system must be optimized and aligned for an effective multi-channel strategy to work.
Within Distribution Management Version 11, data’s power is unleashed for use as the data can be pulled into Majesco Enterprise Data Warehouse to optimize each channel. To assess effectiveness and performance, insurers must use data and a strong data and analytics framework as a game-changer to incentivize your top channels and producers in a market that is increasingly competitive.
To fully grasp how powerful it can be for insurers to offer some of these data-driven capabilities to their agents, it may be helpful to think about two unrelated trends discussed by Mary Meeker in her 2019 Internet Trends report. The first is regarding mobile use. Between our 2015 Digital Strategies for Distribution Management report and today, mobile use has grown from 3 hours 8 minutes per day to 3 hours and 46 minutes per day. This is both increased engagement time and increased data collection time.
At the same time, people are becoming more and more willing to share their data if it means they are receiving a personalized experience. According to an Adweek summary of Meeker’s findings, “91% of retail customers prefer brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations; 83% said they are willing to passively share data for personalized experiences; and 74% said they are willing to actively share data for personalized experiences.”[i] Meeker’s takeaway was that “context-rich data yields happier customers.[ii]
With Majesco Distribution Management Version 11, it will be increasingly easy for carriers and agents and brokers to analyze data that will yield sales growth – driving opportunities to the right channels and producers at the right time, while providing personalized engagement. To complete the picture, insurers and agents will utilize Digital1st EngagementTM tools to market those opportunities across all relevant channels in order to maximize the number of impressions. The Amazon-like experience for insurers is here. A “3D” approach will personalize, automate and optimize your distribution operation, making it easy to do business with insurers, regardless of channel.
The rapidly changing market boundaries are creating challenges and opportunities for insurers to reach customers in new ways. In this new and ever-changing business landscape, insurers must rethink distribution-related strategy and execution; namely to one that requires a 3D strategy - digital, distribution and data – to build, manage and optimize a multi-channel network —from front to back office. Majesco Distribution Management Version 11 will help insurers step up to capture this opportunity by enabling the business to work smarter, not harder to accomplish the goals that can drive growth through a true digital distribution platform. To find out more about Majesco Distribution Management version 11, see this week’s press release or contact Majesco today.
[i] Lacy, Lisa, 10 Takeaways From Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report, AdWeek.com, June 12, 2019