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Brokers face secure future enhanced by technology: Panel

Amy Zupon, left, Bill Pieroni and Liri Halperin Segal

LAS VEGAS — Insurtech firms and technology applications won’t replace insurance agents and brokers, but intermediaries will need to change, a panel of experts said.

Expertise in insurance will be in high demand, but technology can replace many processing tasks that are being performed by brokerage staff, they said during a session at the InsureTech Connect conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

“Where technology can really help is figuring out how to automate a lot of the manual work that happens across the industry to allow people to do what they do best, which is getting new customers and keeping the ones that they have,” said Amy Zupon, CEO of Vertafore Inc. in Denver, a software company targeting the insurance sector.

Brokers will be focused on higher-value tasks, such as risk mitigation services, rather than processing tasks, said Bill Pieroni, New York-based president and CEO of the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development, or ACORD.

“The need for a broker is going to be growing, given the increasing risk climate and the desire, particularly with commercial insureds, to transfer that risk and mitigate it,” he said.

Brokers will continue to offer advisory services, such as recommending coverage options, but “technology will provide the data and analytics to do that,” Liri Halperin Segal, founder and CEO of Leo, Chief of Stuff Inc., a New York-based chatbot provider for insurance agents.

But insurtech companies need to focus on the insurance sector, rather than broader business sectors, and bring in insurance expertise in order to provide relevant services, she said.

Brokers and agents will have a “360-degree view of the customer available at their fingertips,” and complementary benchmarking data, Ms. Zupon said.

“The ability for data and all that related technology to turn the reactive conversation into a proactive and predictive conversation, I think, is absolutely within our reach,” she said.

In addition, the introduction of artificial intelligence and quantum computing will have a transformational effect on the insurance sector, driving the “cost of prediction” to zero, Mr. Pieroni said. But a lot of investment must take place over several years to achieve that outcome, he added.

While insurance firms can delay implementing artificial intelligence without suffering in the short term, “if you wait until it is that unstoppable force, I think you will have waited too long; it requires investment now,” he said.



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