Consumer preferences for insurance are growing, driven by digital transformation across all industries. COVID-19 only accelerates change, as machine locks force people to download all their solutions online or from mobile apps. A EY 2021 Global Insurance Consumer Survey found that consumers who prefer to digitally contact their agents rose from 30% before the pandemic to 49% after the pandemic.
The digital experience offered by Amazon and other major retail brands has set high standards, and consumers now want the same quality of interaction when they buy insurance. The challenge for brokers is how to enhance their digital presence while still providing valuable direct service when clients need them, creating a combined “multichannel” experience.
Recognizing this need, HUB International has launched a new digital platform for personal insurance. The Chicago-based brokerage aims to streamline the insurance buying and quote process.
Bryan Davis, head of personal line strategy and business development at HUB, said Viu will allow customers to engage in any way they want. Whether customers want a quick quote process that cuts down on manual research time or a range of policy options for comparison, the retail platform’s goal is to provide a seamless digital experience.
“Our aim for VIU is to be a full multichannel experience,” Davis told Insurance Business. Some customers may want a complete digital experience. Some customers may want a combined product in which part of the experience they want is digital, but they want to be able to text or chat with people. Some still want to go to a local agent and we want the experience to remain the same. ”
Davis emphasizes VIU’s flexibility in enabling HUBs to adapt to customer needs throughout their journey. Noting that people’s need to participate in insurance changes as they go through different stages of their lives, Davis said HUB has developed VIU to help close the gap in coverage and provide advice to a professional broker.
“When their risks change, whether they have an extra car, they are now in a flood zone, or they have a new child, a broker must be there to give advice and advice to clients. So VIU has always accompanied customers throughout that time,” he explains.
The neutrality of the service provider is also a differentiating factor in VIU’s features. The platform offers a “comprehensive selection of insurance options backed by unbiased expertise,” according to HUB president and CEO Mark Cohen. It also aggregates customer policies in one place regardless of which service provider, allowing them to view and control their entire level of protection.
“We are not trying to disrupt service providers. We really work very closely with our service provider partners, to be a good broker for them,” Davis said, adding that HUB’s intention was to “not know the service provider and be customer-centric.”
As the digitization of the insurance industry obfuscates traditional roles and processes, Davis found carriers prioritized their requirements and offered services as distribution shifted to digital brokerage platforms.
“I think you’re going to see the growth of service providers and some people are going to have to make some decisions, ‘hey, do I spend a lot of time trying to be a good distributor [insurance], or is I partnering with big brokers like HUB and shifting my efforts and energy to the claimant side, The guarantor and the service of the business? ‘ and more collaboration with major brokers who are investing in digital capabilities,” Davis further explained.
Together with VIU, HUB is implementing a new strategic partnership program to combine with automotive dealers, mortgage brokers, real estate agents and bankers as well as other industries to provide insurance through the platform.
“I think that brings about a good insurance ecosystem for consumers, as these networks between the retail market, the insurance market and social media platforms are becoming more closely connected. We’re trying to be a good insurance broker in that ecosystem, and we think good, strong service providers have a role to play in that ecosystem. That’s how I see this going to happen in the next few years,” Davis said.