Cutting through the noise: What does ‘digital’ even mean?

Margo Lyons June 6, 2019

A lot of brokerages are calling themselves ‘digital’ – it’s time to raise the bar on what that actually means

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There’s a lot of noise out there about what makes a digital brokerage. When I investigate what exactly makes a brokerage digital, it’s usually that they have a mobile-optimized website, or that they offer their clients the ability to put in “e-signatures” on “e-docs.” They pat themselves on the back and tell everyone that they’re a digital brokerage, and everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon, throwing awards and accolades at them, and talking about how advanced they are.

I have no idea what an “e-doc” is, but I am willing to bet it doesn’t result in a client being able to buy insurance online. I’m tired of hearing about brokerages that are doing the bare minimum of modernization, without anything that actually benefits the consumer in a real, practical way.

Don’t get me wrong, more brokerages could benefit from doing the bare minimum. Mobile-optimized websites are important, of course. How about having a website at all? But that isn’t digital — it’s the bare minimum. Nobody should be praised for doing the bare minimum.

What does a real digital brokerage look like? I propose a new definition: a digital brokerage is one that sells insurance online, with a turnaround time that is in line with consumer expectations. I know, it sounds crazy, right? If that were the case, someone could go in and buy a straightforward policy in the span of five minutes, the same way they sign up for a bank account. Or, at a minimum, they could speak to a broker who is able to leverage technology to complement their expertise and find the best solution for them in a simple, frictionless process. A true digital brokerage is one that facilitates or fulfills insurance digitally.

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Margo is Head of Broker Engagement with ApolloXE. She assists brokers with their digital transformation.

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