More insurance agents are adopting digital technology, and ASX-listed Gefen wants a big slice of that
Link copied to
New data reveals how quickly insurance agents are adopting digital technology to serve their clients. Gefen is right in the middle of that evolution and wants to capture a big slice of that pie.
A recent US survey is tracking the accelerating pace with which insurance agents are offering their clients the option of digital engagement, and are using digital tools for greater reach, deeper connections and more business.
ASX-listed Gefen International (ASX:GFN) is at the forefront of this digital revolution in the global insurance sector.
Gefen has already begun disrupting the traditional model by allowing insurance (as well as financial) agents to digitise and rapidly grow their sales.
Stockhead caught up with Gefen co-founder and CEO, Orni Daniel, to understand how his platform plays a part in this digital transition, and how big the potential market opportunity is.
“The entire world is going digital. Every service in every sector in every geography, the digital evolution is happening and the pandemic has accelerated it dramatically,” Daniel told Stockhead.
“The question is, how could this digital evolution be done in a regulated environment where everything needs to be compliant while working with a minimal budget. And that’s exactly what Gefen is doing,” he added.
Daniel says that Gefen Arena technology provides agents with a data driven platform which is able to not only digitise their service to clients, but also their whole ecosystem.
“We’re no longer in an era where we can just have one website landing page. We’re now expected to provide good personalised service to the customer digitally, to really serve them,” said Daniel.
Building a great digital platform is however not the specific expertise that insurance or financial agents necessarily have.
“So Gefen is building that capability for them.”
Daniel says the whole world is not only going toward digitisation, but it’s also moving toward personalisation.
He cited the examples of Amazon and Facebook where every user will have a different experience when using those platforms, because they’ve been personalised according to the user’s digital behaviour.
According to Daniel, the problem with insurance or financial agents is that they can’t provide this personalised service to their clients because of a limited budget, as well as the sheer amount of effort it would take to get personal with thousands of clients.
“So Gefen has created this distribution network where we provide the tools that every advisor needs to personalise their service to clients, without their need to be an expert,” Daniel said.
To be clear, the platform itself does not replace agents in the sales process, because it understands that they are necessary to the process itself.
What it does provide is a highly compliant platform that advisors can leverage – tools such as messaging and sales & marketing that would otherwise have not been available to them.
“We’re transforming the agent-based networks in the insurance and finance industries into practically digital sales fleets,” said Daniel.
The survey also found insurance agents rely on relationships, and pointed to the, “establishment of trust” as one of the most important elements when interacting digitally.
Daniel agrees trust is of the utmost when dealing in financial products.
“When you’re just buying a meal, the relationship between a buyer and a seller is not too important, but when you’re buying a financial product like insurance, we’re talking about the customer’s life,” he said.
Daniel says trust can be built by personalising the service to each and every customer, depending on their needs and current situation in life.
For example, if a client has just had a new baby and it was posted on Facebook, the Gefen algorithm could recognise that and might offer the client a new family protection insurance for the growing family.
The technology also looks into data such as how much time a customer spends on a particular website page, or how they responded to different offers in the past.
“This invaluable data means that an advisor would already have a lot of information about a customer when they see them face to face, building that trust further.”
The Gefen platform also allows interactions at different touch points throughout the life of the purchased product – from policy changes, renewals, and dispute resolution – allowing for an ongoing relationship between the agent and customer.
The technology is meticulously monitoring these interactions, with the company now registering more than 1 billion events on the platform.
“We track everything from campaigns that were sent to customers, communication between an advisor and a customer, and even customers who visited an agent’s website,” Daniel said.
Twenty years ago, Time Magazine said that insurance agencies were a dying institution, and would go the way of the dodo.
But the latest data shows that commissions paid to insurance agents were a total of US$358 billion in 2020, and is expected to soar to US$462 billion in 2023.
“People are not going to vanish and be replaced or controlled by bots,” said Daniel.
“What technology does instead is to interrupt the way things have been done, and disrupt the traditional model which is what Gefen is doing,” he said.
He believes that Gefen is a pioneer that has just begun its journey, as the huge niche of financial advisors and insurance agents haven’t been fully disrupted yet.
The highly regulated nature of the industry creates a natural barrier which many other players haven’t been able to overcome.
The challenge for Daniel now is to make the Gefen platform widely accepted and adopted within the industry.
“Many insurance agents don’t know yet that there is a platform that could help them and be used as easily as Gefen, so it’s a matter of brand awareness,” Daniel said.
This article was developed in collaboration with Gefen International, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.