The future working world of the insurance broker is unthinkable without IT and software. However, the broker of the future will not only use IT solutions, but will also be in demand when it comes to practical new and further developments. In the complex area of industrial insurance, this probably applies even more than in private customer business, where there is scope for standardisation throughout.
In brokerage, IT can create uniform quality standards and at the same time efficiency through defined processes. However, the technology supporting the insurance broker must not be conclusively standardized, especially in the commercial and industrial insurance business, but must be highly flexible in its application in order to be able to map individual scenarios in line with the situation. This requires new skills on the part of the employees: they must also increasingly have the ability to think ahead and define the technology – always with a view to optimizing processes.
The importance of IT for successful business processes is growing. While IT was previously sometimes regarded as a necessary evil in order to be able to perform certain tasks as a kind of service, it will become an increasingly important component in the future in order to be able to work efficiently and productively at all. IT departments will therefore gain enormously in importance. In the figurative sense, they will become larger because operational employees from the specialist departments will increasingly support the IT departments in their tasks.
IT is business, business is IT – also for industrial insurance
The natural consequence: the strict separation between the departments will have to be gradually dissolved. The more IT becomes a determining factor of business activity, also in industrial insurance, the more the relatively strict boundary between IT departments and business departments will dissolve. IT is no longer just a vehicle, but digital performance is becoming a business. IT staff will have to leave their silos and business experts will have to deal more with IT in order to be able to participate in shaping it. This is the only way to actively meet the demands of the market, such as those for speed, but also those for new business models. These processes are changing the familiar distribution of roles in the long term – towards a partnership-based cooperation across departmental boundaries.
Interdisciplinary teams: not ideal for the challenges
In everyday life, industrial insurers and brokers are now at best putting together interdisciplinary teams in order to achieve the best possible success with larger projects. However, experience shows that this often leads to frictional losses. It is more efficient and more promising when people come together who have an idea of both areas.
In addition, an understanding of the other’s way of thinking is helpful: If the IT employee only thinks in the possibilities of IT and the broker only in the processes or in the operative concerns of his department, they will have difficulty finding a good common path. This “thinking along the same lines” is not a temporary project that will end at some point. Both sides must learn from each other permanently in order to be able to develop things successfully in the long term.
Customer as a guideline
Customer needs can be the guiding principle here – the common goal towards which collective efforts are directed. While the IT employee may get lost in so-called corner cases, i.e. extremely theoretical marginal situations, the business expert can use his experience and competence to determine whether these cases are at all relevant in practice. The broker, on the other hand, does not have the knowledge of what can be done with certain technologies. Here it is extremely beneficial for the customer if both sides are always able to bridge the gap to the other perspective.
As in all professions, the demands on the technical understanding and skills of the insurance broker are growing. From a pure user he becomes a co-developer of customer-oriented solutions. This requires openness on the IT and technical side and the willingness to be able to see things from the perspective of the other area. However, in this way, products designed to meet customer needs can be created that satisfy all players.
This article was created in the context of a joint partnership between mgm and the insurance broker Gossler, Gobert & Wolters Gruppe (GGW) from Hamburg. In the series different participants write from and about the practice.