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The implications of distance selling for general agents

The health crisis has revealed a need among general agents for solutions adapted to distance selling in order to enable them to pursue the commercial development of the company. Therefore we can wonder about how agencies can adapt in a scenario where prospects no longer travel to agencies?

First of all, it is necessary to ensure the conformity of the sales process, in particular based on the recommendations of the CCSF.

In November 2019, the Financial Sector Advisory Committee (CCSF) published an opinion on insurance telephone canvassing as well as a commitment on the application of best practices at the end of the first half of 2020. The CCSF will follow up and will take stock of these new practices no later than 1 year after their implementation. In view of these recommendations, the sales path of general agents, although adapted to distance selling, still requires special attention, in particular to ensure compliance.

As part of these recommendations, the intermediary must ensure that  informed consent is taken  in the sales process. However, by telephone, it is not easy for prospects to learn about the content of a contract. From a distance, it is therefore necessary to give the necessary time for reflection and proofreading of the documentation. The two-step selling solution helps give the consumer “up front” to make an informed decision. With this objective in  mind , the  sale of an insurance contract by telephone canvassing to any “cold prospect” must therefore necessarily be done in  two stages. These mainly concern calls for commercial purposes or to a non-customer consumer who has not requested a call or taken any action vis-à-vis the distributor for the product for which it is requested.

The agent must train and equip himself with tools to assist him with this new method of sales.

In addition to traditional courses including the situational peer  to this new sales in two stages, some intermediaries also use scripts to ensure that all regulatory requirements are properly implemented. Nowadays, digital makes it possible to go beyond a simple script. Indeed, digitization is one of the means of assisting intermediaries, in particular thanks to conversational AI which allows via listening in real time (in compliance with GDPR rules) to help professionals as well on the part collection of customer and regulatory knowledge .

What if humans also assisted digital?

For several years, players have invested in providing their prospects with a 100% online subscription process. However, the ROI remains very limited, in particular due to the significant marketing investments to capture qualified flows via social networks or referencing. It is therefore very frustrating for these actors to have invested to finally see the prospects stop halfway. In order to secure the latter, it is possible to adapt the digital journey to be assisted by humans . The available general agent can intervene at the right times on the digital journey and assist the prospect remotely. A solution to use the available resources and qualify who has the experience to answer the objections, questions of prospects and secure the act of purchase.

Rhalid Bouakhris, Senior consultant

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