Life insurance was one of the industries that was making advances slowly before the pandemic, but it was not known for being innovative or fast moving. Brick and mortar offices, paper applications, long processing times and old-fashioned marketing were still part of the industry. When the pandemic sent people to work from home and raised more awareness of the need for life insurance and health insurance across Canada, things changed – fast. The impact was strong and lasting.
We talked to Ray Mutuc, an insurance broker from Winnipeg, who discusses four aspects of the re-shaped industry.
1. Working Remotely
Pre-pandemic, some brokers and agents were already working out of a home office remotely, but most meetings were still face-to-face, and applications were still processed on paper. During the pandemic, the tables turned. Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other online meetings became crucial for conducting business. Many advisors who were adapted to paper applications struggled to shift meetings over to remote. With restrictions loosening, Mutuc predicts more seasoned advisors will be going back to face-to-face meetings. However, many, like himself, have grown to prefer working remotely as it is more convenient and timesaving for agents, brokers and clients.
2. Use of Technology
With the lockdowns and not being able to see people face-to-face, there was a forced adaptation of technology, such as Zoom, WebEx and Microsoft Teams, to conduct business and stay in communication with industry contacts. Learning how to put through applications via eApp was a must. The need to learn and use technology to build business were crucial for brokers to survive the pandemic. Advisors who once thought that it wasn’t necessary to be virtual have now realized that the world has evolved and going virtual is key to adapting to this evolution.
3. Changes in Underwriting
Nurse visits were the norm pre-pandemic, but that also changed during lockdowns. Carriers started waiving medicals and relied more on APS reports and increasing non-medical limits. In some cases, coverage limits of $1,000,000 or even above became available without medical exams. However, with restrictions easing, requests for random labs have been increasing. Despite the non-medical life insurance limits being increased, there is a possibility of being randomly selected for a medical.
4. Higher Reliance on Digital Networking/Marketing
Pre-pandemic, there were no restrictions for events and get-togethers, so physically meeting people to build networks was the norm. With the lockdowns and seeing how heavily businesses rely on social media, brokers have started investing in learning how to market their services through these digital avenues. With the adaptation of being virtual, it’s a must to utilize and implement these tools into one’s practice. The pandemic forced insurance distributors to become savvy with other digital marketing avenues, including learning Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and affiliate marketing.
Mutuc expects that, although some of these changes might partially bounce back, the majority of them are here to stay as the pandemic has forever changed how insurance brokers and life insurance companies serve their customers.
About the author:
Ray Mutuc is the founder of Contevo Financial, husband to Leslie and father of two sons (Makaio and Koani). After feeling disappointed with the service he received from financial advisors when he needed advice as a young man, he started teaching himself about money management, investing, insurance, debt repayment and more. This led to a passion for finance and wanting to share his knowledge with others. Mutuc entered the financial services industry to help families and business owners achieve their dreams.