‘Clunky, confusing & unfit for purpose’: Brokers unsatisfied with core tech

Insurance brokers technology

Nearly a quarter of insurance brokers regard the technology they use for their work as “unfit for purpose”, according to a new industry survey, with concerns these systems – many considered “antiquated” – are too confusing and a sap on brokers’ productivity.

Results from the survey, conducted by Kiwi insurtech company JAVLN last year, revealed that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of surveyed brokers believe the technology they use to manage clients and policy information is “too confusing”.

More pointedly, 23 per cent of respondents believed that the technology currently serving the insurance broking industry is “no longer fit for purpose”.

For brokers, these outdated, even “antiquated”, platforms have become a barrier to their core, day-to-day work, the report wrote, and have thus hampered their ability to effectively interact with clients.

Almost a third (30 per cent) of brokers claimed that the adoption of a more modern, cloud-based platform for managing clients and policies would be a major differentiator for their business.

“Insurance is a slow-moving beast. The industry is highly conservative. Decisions on technology take years. But this hesitancy is seeing the industry miss out on advancements that are revolutionising other industries,” JAVLN wrote in its report.

Around a quarter (24 per cent) of surveyed brokers said their organisation’s hesitancy to turn to cloud-based technology for client and policy information would cost them in the long run, increasing productivity hurdles and hindering client interactions.

JAVLN founder and chief executive Dale Smith rates broker technology as “more important than ever in insurance, not simply just to keep up with other financial industries, but also to help broking firms in Australia take their services to the next level.”

He added: “When you look at the root cause of most productivity issues in Australian brokerages, you quickly realise it’s a tech problem. Most brokers are lumbered with old clunky technology to do their jobs, which makes managing client and policy information extremely difficult, and in turn makes customer service difficult.”

According to JAVLN, part of the reason why brokers are challenged by customer service concerns is the feeling they are “being pulled in different directions by menial tasks every day”.

According to the research, 70 per cent of brokers said that they spend more than three hours per day on administrative tasks like processing and data entry, while a quarter (24 per cent) said that adhering to regulatory requirements has become harder and more time-consuming.

More than a third of brokers agreed that claims administration as well as processing quotes and policies were among their most burdensome day-to-day tasks, while a similar number were hampered by onerous compliance demands.

“The insurance industry in Australia needs brokers more than ever, but if those brokers have to fight battles on multiple fronts every day, they’re naturally going to struggle to deliver the kind of customer service they’d ideally want,” Smith said.

JAVLN noted that, according to its research, brokers are struggling to meet customer demands. Just 28 per cent of respondents said their clients would rate their customer service levels at least 8 out of 10, while 23 per cent said they found 2023 a difficult year for customer relationships.

As a result, 24 per cent of brokers said they would specifically like to develop their customer service skills in 2024.

Breakthrough technology solutions could also aid brokers in dealing with menial, repetitive tasks. One-third (33 per cent) of respondents called for their firms to invest in artificial intelligence (AI) to support their work.

Over a quarter (27 per cent) of surveyed brokers said technology should improve their policyholders’ experience, enabling them to self-serve on small requests.

A further 24 per cent said technology should increase broker efficiency by automating repeatable, everyday tasks, and that broker efficiency would be increased markedly if they could access their systems “from anywhere at any time”.

JAVLN surveyed 500 insurance brokers from small and medium brokerages across Australia.