Insurtech’s advice to life insurers: Get out of your ivory tower and reach out and engage customers with digital.
- John Weber
- July 2019
The future of life insurance sales lies with understanding customers' needs according to Sureify's CEO Dustin Yoder. Sureify is a life and annuity platform built to transform all the next generation life and annuity companies,
“The company of tomorrow is the one that has the ability to reach out to that customer and service them, engage with them, sell to them, all through agents, but also digital.”
Yoder spoke with AMBestTV at the Willis Towers Watson InsurTech Conference in New York.
We don’t think the insurer should fear the life startup, but I think they should take note of the listening that the life startups or insurtechs are doing. What they’re doing is they’re listening to where the customer is and what they want.
Is now the time for life insurers to be going digital?
Yes. We believe in 2019 we're already five years behind. If you look at the pressure coming in on the legacy insurers, it's all digital.
It's other insurtechs. It's different types of digital companies coming into the market. Maybe most importantly, you, myself and every consumer are expecting digital. We think we're behind and now is exactly the time, if not a little bit late.
How do you compare the life insurer of yesterday with the life insurer of tomorrow?
The life insurer of yesterday was located in what I call an ivory tower here in North America. They did a lot of processing internally. Ultimately, they never had the ability to press a button and talk to the customer.
We all know why. It was because of the agents. The agents are great. However, even the agents need digital to service and meet the needs of the customer. We think that goes deeper to where the insurance company needs digital.
When you look at yesterday, it was a company that stayed inside the building. The company of tomorrow is the one that has the ability to reach out to that customer and service them, engage with them, sell to them, all through agents, but also digital.
What new types of data do you think life insurers are interested in?
We've had the experience and the opportunity to meet with 300 insurers around the globe over the last three years. We have found that at first it was IoT data, geo locations, social, so they are interested in that.
However, if you go deeper and maybe even more basic, they're interested to know even if a customer would, for example, access a mobile device to service themselves. They're interested to know on a purchasing experience where that customer stops for 30 seconds versus 10.
They're really interested to know what path—whether it's buying, servicing, or just talking to the customer—serves them most. The data runs from mortality data which is kind of the fluids all the way to steps, now even down to the basic, basic digital interaction data.
Do you think traditional life writers should be fearing new life startups?
We don't think the insurer should fear the life startup, but I think they should take note of the listening that the life startups or insurtechs are doing. What they're doing is they're listening to where the customer is and what they want.
Fear isn't necessarily the word. However, if they sit back, there's generally something to fear if you decide to do nothing.
Ultimately, I think it's all about that we want to admire some of the interesting things that are being done, but also look at why things are being done.
The insurtechs are helping move those companies that are five years, 10 years, maybe 30 years behind into where they need to be today. I look at them as a positive for us as an industry, and ultimately meeting more customers in the marketplace.