The insurance market in 2023 is going digital and embedded to meet consumer demands. Insurance companies, wholesalers, managing general agents (MGAs), agents and third-party businesses entering the insurtech market will need to focus on the customer experience to capitalize on these new revenue and service opportunities. Partnering with the right solutions provider will be crucial to building the perfect customer journey.
Companies across industries — including insurers themselves — are building digital solutions to offer commercial insurance as an add-on option alongside other products and services at checkout. Solutions are also being built to make agent journeys easier.
Known as embedded insurance, this branded experience can occur during the online purchase of an association membership or service agreement for businesses. The branded experience can also occur during the online journey for a broker, embedded on an MGA or wholesaler’s site. These solutions are projected to close a widening protection gap by meeting B2B customers online during the buying journey and also streamlining the broker's online rating, quoting and buying experience for a faster consumer experience.
Adding embedded insurance opens additional revenue streams and boosts conversion rates by offering customers insurance when and where it matters most and giving brokers easy access to all lines of business. As we all grow more accustomed to shopping online, the self-service insurance market’s compound annual growth rate is expected to increase by almost 21% through 2029. Customers are already expecting fast service thanks to products being placed where they want them. The appetite for fast service from brokers is also increasing, with customers wanting speed that matches that of self-service.
Relying solely on third parties for distribution is not new to the insurance industry, but e-commerce and its ever evolving and high-risk landscape, as well as branded platforms embedded on wholesaler and MGA sites for broker use, do require expertise to create a great user experience. As it turns out, not all embedded insurance platforms are created equal.
Your embedded insurance partner credentials checklist
When it comes to offering coverage through an outside party platform, having a top-rated carrier for the risk at hand and offering good claims service are table stakes. The user experience — from filling out an application form to understanding the policy through payment and collection of the certificate of insurance — determines your conversion rate, whether the customer is buying directly or through a broker.
When looking for an embedded insurance partner, here are six essential requirements they should deliver.
1: Easy access. Customers want to purchase coverage as part of an existing customer journey. Similarly, for agents, being able to rate, quote and bind during their online journey with the wholesaler, MGA or aggregator is a major benefit.
In these scenarios, both the B2B consumer and agents benefit when they gain immediate access to insurance products. With non-embedded methods of rating, quoting and binding, business owners and brokers have to wait weeks to secure coverage. Look for an embedded insurance partner that places insurance exactly where the customer wants it for direct sale. With broker distribution, MGAs and wholesalers need coverage on their sites with a single user experience across carriers. When the embedded insurance partner can offer that experience regardless of the carrier, it further enhances access.
2: The ability to rate, quote and bind in one session. The value of embedded insurance occurs when a customer leaves the purchase experience with an actual purchase.
Imagine you’re finally ready to secure a loan to purchase that second warehouse to expand your business. The bank has an embedded insurance option at the point-of-sale (POS) for your loan, but they require 72 hours to look over your form before ensuring coverage. Some business owners will close out of the loan and find another bank and agent that ensures coverage immediately upon securing a loan. For busy business owners, having all they need at the POS is now a must.
Similarly, for brokers, this is equivalent to the ability to rate, quote and bind a policy directly from within a wholesaler’s site in real-time. An effective embedded insurance platform enables business owners, their lending institutions and brokers to not only fill out a form but get a quote, pay and secure the policy (and documents like proof of insurance) at the POS.
3: Simple, easy-to-understand questions. What many businesses call embedded insurance is simply a digitized ACORD form, grabbing answers to the same questions as any other paper application.
What makes true embedded insurance a value to insureds, agents and carriers alike is the ability to leverage automation to ask the right questions at the right time to generate the right responses on-demand.
Since the consumer or the agent must understand the product — its benefits and boundaries — with little to no assistance upon first read, intake questions should be written in everyday language, not insurance jargon. Even better, look for a platform that lets embedded insurance providers offer supporting materials. For example, customers may want clarification for why a question is being asked. This context can transform a potentially confusing experience into a comfortable one.
4: Speed. Effective communication will also foster speed when it comes to embedded insurance.
Eliminating non-essential questions that don’t apply to the specific risk the consumer wants to cover enables customers and agents to move through the purchasing process quickly. The allure of purchasing through embedded insurance is convenience and speed; if the process becomes arduous, agents, carriers and customers all lose.
Speed is delivered through built in business rules and appetite and direct, real-time application program interface (API) integration with carriers. Depending on the type of coverage, the questions provided to each applicant may be the same. However, if the coverage is dependent on a customer’s profile, be careful to ensure the solution you choose can filter questions based on answers in real time.
5: Warm and inviting aesthetics. Color scheme, size and position of buttons, formatting and order of questions are impactful components of a good experience.
You don’t want your customers or agents to think about these details when completing the insurance purchase. The more branded and seamless the aesthetic, the smoother the process and better the user experience will be. A solution that stays within your site and adopts your brand will be most welcomed by your customers or agents.
6: Customer service controls. Insurance is not a set it and forget it product. Access to documents and policy management are critical.
Just as customers and agents went online to purchase coverage easily, they will want to get proof of insurance and other policy documents online too. Paying bills and managing claims must be equally as simple.
Having simplified access to customer service will accommodate the insured, the agent and the insurer. Insureds and agents will benefit from easy access to policy information and the ability to make and request policy changes and file claims as well. Insurers benefit when their customers and agents have easy access online as it reduces demands on their customer service centers — and keeps customers coming back.
Not every embedded insurance solution is designed equally. Contact iBynd to learn more about the embedded insurance customer journey when purchased direct or through a broker.
 Research and Markets “Global Embedded Insurance Business and Investment Opportunities,” February 2022.