26 February, 2021
Engaging & Incentivizing Channel Partners in the Insurance Sector
The insurance sector in India is growing at a rapid pace due to the rise of a young, security-conscious, insurable population coupled with favorable regulatory interventions by the Indian government. Policies like 100% FDI allowance, increase in basic premium rates and open architecture have boosted competition in the sector. As per the pattern followed in most competitive industries, there has been a major influence of IoT and innovative ‘InsureTech’ to improve direct insurance sales channels via innovative technical interventions. However, according to PWC, for both the life and the non-life insurance sector, the majority of sales is still accomplished through face-to-face channels like brokers and agents. These channels are not being optimally leveraged, partly because of the continuous change of stakeholders. Studies show that attrition in the insurance sector was predicted at 60% in 2020, the highest among all formal sectors. Primary challenges like lack of collaboration, transparency in data and targeted incentives can only be overcome by adopting technology for structured channel partner incentive programs. Following are some of the benefits insurance firms can get through a channel incentives platform:
Increased Data Transparency
Information flow across hierarchies and functions increases the trust between the management and the agents, thus boosting brand loyalty. This can be facilitated through user management, real-time sales campaign data and role-based dashboards. Agents/dealers get complete visibility into how their rewards are calculated and how their performance measures up against their peers. Collaboration tools like discussion forums and announcements can ensure effective two-way communication regarding new policies, schemes, products etc. These factors equip sales teams to learn more about the differentiators of their products in an easy-to-understand format. Sales enablement documents can also be accessed easily accessed through a single portal.
Data and Analytics
Often, firms are unable to make sense of customer data and sales numbers, which can be a huge opportunity missed for an insurance firm. With data being captured in multiple formats and systems, a powerful BI tool is essential to collate the myriad sources and present them in a readable, prescriptive format. A channel partner management software comes with in-built reports and analytics, which can help both the firm and agents get crucial information at the right time. For example- agents will know about the best performing products real-time, which can help them make recommendations on the field and close sales opportunities faster. For the management, reports can be used to determine the progress of a region, zone, cluster, teams and also individuals.
Automation helps in the smooth running of sales campaigns and significantly reduces the need for manual intervention for sales and incentive management. For example, automated notifications for milestone achievement and target reminders can keep channel partners engaged and motivated. Accurate incentive payouts are often a cause of friction between finance and sales teams. Incentive calculation for complex networks including the internal sales team, bank tie-ups/cross selling, independent agents or website conversions can all be done through a single channel incentive software within minutes. This ensures a seamless workflow saving time, manual efforts and avoiding workplace conflicts.
A channel incentives software comes with increased options for dealers and agents to choose their rewards from. Reward catalogs can be curated and customized as per industry needs and give channel partners the freedom of choice for their rewards. A robust system offers the options of payroll additions, instant e-voucher deliveries and high-value physical products to the persona’s homes. Since rewards are linked to live performance data, pay-outs can be configured for each milestone, instead of making agents wait till the end of the campaign, resulting in higher engagement and gamification of the sales process.
Manual methods of channel partner engagement are no longer feasible for the fast-moving insurance industry, where best-in-class customer experience is important to gain an edge. Centralized data and automated workflows can prevent incentive calculation errors, delayed commissions and ensure program measurability, resulting in increased channel loyalty and overall success.