Feb 17, 2021

Coronavirus rewriting rules of engagement playbook

Article by Steve Piper

Chief Distribution Officer

Division of Bidvest Life Ltd

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The Coronavirus pandemic rewrote the business rules of engagement playbook overnight, from in-person meetings to online Zoom calls. This has had a particularly transformative effect on the financial planning sector, where the client-adviser relationship is the very heartbeat of our industry.

And even though restrictions have eased, most clients would still prefer to meet online, largely due to the ever-present threat of the virus, but also because many individuals have simply become accustomed to this new way of doing business and find it far more convenient.  

Which means, virtual meetings are not going to disappear when the virus is finally eradicated. Therefore, as people move into this virtual space, so should insurers ensure effective online business processes to support advisers and their clients.

Amidst the uncertainty and challenges of 2020, we at FMI have managed to maintain our focus to achieve our long-term business goals set out just over two years ago. We have made major advancements in technological capabilities to support service delivery. FMI’s latest developments see improvements in application process ‘intelligence’, underwriting speed and operational efficiencies, all of which promise to deliver exceptional customer experiences and to support advisers’ business processes.

As our Chief Technology Officer, Gareth Quin says, ‘Digitisation of new policy applications and servicing processes doesn’t just improve the customer experience by making underwriting and servicing faster and easier, but it also creates a more robust operating base, able to function under any circumstances.’

‘FMI’s new fully digital application process provides a far superior experience compared to paper or e-applications. Quicker to complete, less questions, live chat support and faster turnaround times are a few of the benefits that comes with the new digital application process. This forms part of FMI’s move away from paper applications where we can start to provide immediate answers to applicants and elegantly guide them through the underwriting process in a much more efficient, pain-free way by delivering applicants the questions relevant to their profile through assessing how they answered the question before.’

By moving to a fully digital application process, we will have so many new opportunities to dramatically improve both the client and adviser experience at such a crucial stage of the life insurance onboarding journey and we’re excited to have made this leap.

Another area in which we have innovated in order to meet the needs of a growing market, is by expanding the range of occupations we’re able to insure. The ability to cover more occupations than ever before has never been more relevant than this uncertain world in which we currently live. But it was instigated through improved methods of risk assessment even before the pandemic, to cater for a changing workforce, increasingly defined by business owners, independent contractors and those earning multiple income streams.

The decision to expand FMI’s range of occupations eligible for cover, to include occupations which other insurers aren’t always able to protect, is in line with our core belief that everyone should be able to protect their income against the risk of injury, illness or death – the “Income First” approach, as we call it. This is why we exist and why product innovation will continue to be the driving force behind everything we do, in 2021 and beyond.

And our advanced digital business processes have not only geared us up to support advisers and their clients in the backdrop of the Covid-pandemic, but with a longer-term view into the future as we continue to embrace a virtual world.

 

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