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COMMENTARY Maximizing Today’s Bancassurance Model


Darren Thomson
International Head of Bancassurance and Regional CEO, South Asia

September 2023

When we consider today’s bancassurance landscape, what reaction does it prompt? Excitement at market opportunity, perhaps mixed with concerns around efficiency, risk dynamics and the need to improve sales quality. Whatever your viewpoint, our increasing dependence on technology as a facilitator of innovation and change definitely will be a factor.

The Power of Data

 Aside from the technology itself, how well we harness and utilize the data it is capable of generating will perhaps be the most dramatic driver of bancassurance performance in the coming decade. The ability to leverage richer, more insightful behavioral, geographic, demographic, psychographic and usage data from both policy holders and sales advisors will be a true differentiator of both top-line and bottom-line performance. Increasingly, data science is enabling our understanding — not just what has happened, but what can happen and why.

In bancassurance, this kind of data is already beginning to inform more sophisticated segmentation and product design.

It is also capable of driving more innovative and inclusive underwriting policies, which can present new opportunities to help protect previously uninsured segments within our communities. 

While few would dismiss the opportunity ahead, harnessing success is often hampered by complex interdependencies. We need technology to deliver reliable data, but reliable data comes after behavioral change, which is often only aided sustainably with technology — something of a classic chicken and egg conundrum.

Let me share a few examples:

  • The most innovative insurance products need strong segmentation capabilities and more tightly controlled sales processes, which often means tech-driven sales.
  • Quality customer data is crucial for successful segmentation. Cooperating advisors who invest in new sales techniques and technology are poised to deliver just that.
  • Cooperative advisors seek new incentives to enhance success and productivity before becoming eager advocates of change.
  • While improved productivity often is driven by technology, it cannot occur in a vacuum. Change must be embraced and must have compelled the new behaviors necessary to gain new business insights.

Where to start on this interconnected journey can be a perplexing issue. There’s no single right answer. Every bancassurance partnership has its own unique dynamics.

How to Accelerate Success

There are, however, often significant opportunities to help accelerate success. Many partnerships have embarked on significant change programs to enhance penetration of a loyal customer base with a mix of sales process, segmentation, data science, customer-experience journey planning and product innovation — often with imperfect understanding of the interdependencies ahead.

The pace of success in such a wide diversity of initiatives is often dependent on activity sequencing as well as more intangible cultural and behavioral drivers. Until the change process starts and we begin observing advisor reactions, it is often difficult to accurately anticipate resulting causes and knock-on effects.

Change programs are, by their very nature, dynamic and unpredictable, often prompting reevaluation and reaction at multiple steps. We need to implement, observe, measure reactions and reevaluate next best actions and additional support. 

Nurturing Competency

One of the most overlooked dimensions of strategic change is the need to actively nurture the competency, effectiveness and motivation of advisors throughout the change journey. At its heart, a blend of skill, will and thrill support needs to be delivered.

Often this means addressing different groups within your sales hierarchy, not just front-line advisors. Encourage sales supervisors to develop new skills and behaviors and support them in doing so. Urge them to adopt sales practices that move your organization forward. Motivate them to help advisors become their best.

It is critical to protect and grow your loyal advocates — reorientate their focus, upskill and reenergize them to deliver enhanced behaviors and outcomes. To support organizations facing such challenges, LIMRA developed the Horizon Bancassurance program.

Horizon is a series of short videos filled with content tailored to help upskill bancassurance advisors and to empower their supervisors to navigate the new demands of strategic change in the industry. The program addresses competency, trust, sales productivity, leadership and regulation.

The Horizon program is effective in self-learning scenarios, and its resources can be used to support your central change journey and to reinforce strategic messaging. Additionally, supervisors can use the resources to support coaching and personal development planning within their teams. 

Developed by seasoned industry practitioners specifically to deliver agility, flexibility and responsiveness, Horizon is designed to help enhance return on investment in product design, data science, technology adoption and consumer protection.

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