Why brokers have nothing to fear amid digital innovation
This article was produced in partnership with Amwins Group, Inc.
Gia Snape of Insurance Business sat down with Tom Parsons, head of digital strategy for Amwins, to talk about Amwins’ approach to technology and how it is leveraging and investing in digital tools to empower its customers.
The rise of artificial intelligence and other digital tools has led to ground-breaking innovations in insurance. But there’s also growing concern that technology is taking the focus away from what’s important.
For Amwins, a leading specialty and wholesale insurance broker, investing in the latest technology for its digital marketplace is a critical part of its relationships with its retail customers and partners.
“When we look at our strategic initiatives, we think about how we can use technology to meet retailers’ needs,” said Tom Parsons (pictured), head of digital strategy for Amwins.
At the same time, Amwins wants to ensure that its technology empowers its brokers rather than disintermediates them.
“If we can solve operational problems with technology, we totally should,” said Parsons. “It empowers our broker to maximize the value they’re offering to our retail and market clients.”
Bringing the best digital experience to retail brokers
Amwins has invested heavily in its digital marketplace to fulfil carriers’ desire to take on more risk while creating an excellent experience for retail brokers.
In 2022, it launched a new personal lines portal and dove deep into the professional lines space with cyber liability, bringing a collection of markets together to offer retailers more choices amid a volatile market.
It has expanded across a suite of professional line offerings, including D&O and E&O, and will launch flood capabilities in Q1 of 2024.
According to Parsons, the developments were driven by what Amwins saw retail brokers value in their digital experience: choice, speed, ease of use, access to resources, and seamless integration.
“Retail brokers want to control the experience,” he said. “They want less error, access to resources, and be more informed. They want to be able to work in an online experience, confident knowing there’s a team of experienced brokers there if they need them.
“As we think about all these attributes of a good experience that we believe our retailers value, we can see that technology, in many ways, can be leveraged to offer that.”
Catering to carriers’ risk appetite
This strategy also holds for Amwins’ carrier partners.
“Carriers know that their appetite is not going to cover everything. So, when a retailer comes to them, and appetite isn’t there, we know there’s another market we can fit them in, so the carrier doesn’t need to be leveraged to do something it doesn’t want,” Parsons said.
“And from a technology standpoint, not all carriers are made equal. Not all of them have the same skills or desires, and we can be there to meet them where their needs are.
“Technology enables us to access a great amount of data which can give additional predictive insights, underwriting control, and portfolio management capabilities.”
Parsons acknowledged that Amwins’ investment means it is on a path of continuous learning and growth to help retail brokers address evolving risks in the market.
“Learning doesn’t just happen and end,” he said. “It’s not technology for technology’s sake – it’s compounded learning and staying grounded in your purpose of serving the customer.”
‘Best-in-class’ tech and people go hand in hand
Cutting-edge technology in insurance is often thought to disintermediate a broker or underwriter. However, Parsons emphasized that digital tools complement their expertise, creating more value for clients.
“Amwins doesn’t see a world where best-in-class technology and best-in-class brokers and underwriters are not going to be paired,” he said.
“We see that those two things work at their best when it’s almost seamless; it’s always hard to tell the difference between them. We don’t see a world where it’s one or the other.”
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