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Digital Advisor Tablets – Increase Sales Effectiveness

At the heart of the Digital Advisor business model is an investment in tablet devices and supporting software. Improve your pre-sales processes including fact-finding, quotation and digital proposals. Find out how usability, let’s call it the “wow factor”, is central to success.

A wander down memory lane

Up until the early 1980’s the typical life insurance advisor’s toolkit was a product brochure, a premium rate booklet and perhaps a specimen copy of the policy terms and conditions.

The widespread adoption of PCs combined with the need to produce more sophisticated illustrations, to support investment linked products and increasing regulatory requirements for information disclosure, lead to the development of PC based quotation tools. Since then improvements to pre-sales tools have been around the areas of needs analysis and some forays into electronic proposal submission – with mixed results.

What’s changed with the tablet?

The introduction of the tablet devices in January 2010 (the launch of the first iPad) represents a huge opportunity for insurers to redefine their sales processes. This article will outline in some detail what those opportunities are and what the potential benefits are but let’s start by taking a look at what’s different about the tablet from the PC:

Humans love them:  I know from personal experience if you give a child a tablet device that within seconds they are up and running and engaged. The look and feel of both hardware and software is the work of genius – and has made these tools accessible to all with minimum effort. The product is extremely complex but the user experience is simple.  A child can use an iPad with no training.

They are perfect for a 1-1 sales experience: The portable nature of the tablet, the size, the connectivity when combined with such high levels of user acceptance provides the perfect platform for pre-sales tool for insurance advisors.


Digital insurance and the tablet implementation challenges

Tablet addicts – across the generations


The Digital Advisor Tablet (DAT) – tablet functionality

The key focus of your Digital Advisor Tablet development should be on functionality that needs to be shared with potential customers. This principle should guide the development of your first versions as it focuses on the key success metric – using the tablet to improve sales effectiveness.

The table below highlights key functionality our clients typically want to deploy in the first one or two version

Table: Digital Advisor Tablet – Priority Requirements

Functional Area Business Requirement
  • Quotation inputs
  •  “Reverse” calculations to calculate premium from given needs
  • Graphical and interactive outputs allowing what if analysis to refine to meet customer requirements
  •  Statutory outputs
  • Conversion to proposal
  • Quote review and signing
  • Auto capture of quotation information
  • Dynamic proposal capture (varies by product) – including sections with traffic lights indicating completeness
  • Photo and ID capture
  • Agent reporting (when applicable)
  • Proposal signing (and signing readiness)
Needs analysis
  • Capture of statutory fact find information
  • Investment risk profiling
  • Needs tools for main areas of need (retirement, protection, education, general savings
Resource Centre
  • Folders of documents (sales Presentations, brochures , fund fact sheets etc.)
  • Available “on demand” within DAT
  • Email, print and viewing capability. System records when these actions are performed with a customer (compliance)


Key Success Factor – usability

The first version of your DAT should focus exclusively on Advisor acceptance – and this means that the focus should be on making it easier and more effective to sell.

And because selling is psychological the DAT needs to have usability, or “WOW” factor, with both the Advisors and the end customers.

Some key usability factors that should be included are:

  • Word class interface design (pay for a specialist in tablet design and iterate the design until it meets requirements)
  • Interactive Graphical components for illustrations
  • Time saving items such as photo capture of identification and other documents
  • Customisation options for illustration outputs and proposal inputs – allow the advisor to personalise for their clients
  • Automation of transfer of quote information to the proposal

When the usability factors have been identified it is important to communicate with advisors and get them excited and engaged. If your DAT development is seen as just another piece of technology with low engagement of end users then do not be surprised if the initiative fails. “Average” is not acceptable for a tablet based sales tool.

Usability is all about making simplicity from complexity. This is always a challenge for insurance sales which are inherently complex – but significant benefits, in terms of adoption and improved sales accrued to the companies that take the effort and put in the hard work to make their tablet device work.

Making the business case

The business case for a Digital Advisor Tablet should centre on increased sales effectiveness – namely improving sales closing rates. The increase in sales closing rates should come from 3 areas:

  1. Deployment of better sales tools than are currently available – specifically making it easier to close customer sales via the interactive illustration capabilities
  2. Standardisation of sales process that makes training easier (and monitoring success easier)
  3. Lower drop-out rates as the proposal can be completed at the time of closing on the quote (instead of often having to re-print and re-sign the final quote that the customer settles on)

With successful achievement of the first business benefit, increase sales effectiveness, it will be possible to upgrade the tool to gain substantial additional benefits in terms of:

  • Paperless processing of applications (faster & more accurate)
  • Increased and easier compliance (with tracking and recording of sub processes)
  • Opportunities for increased automation of the underwriting  processes (fast track processing, sending out emails with medical requirements immediately)
  • The Business Intelligence  captured (more information on the entire pre sales process is captured and can be deployed to improve the sales experience further)

Implementation Challenges

As ever it is one thing to know what you want from your Digital Advisor Tablet and another to implement successfully. At the Digital Insurer we are planning another article soon to cover the many implementation issues that need to be addressed. For executives at the start of their Tablet journey we would like to focus on two key implementation success factors:

1. Implement in the context of an overall plan

Ideally your organisation should have an agreed strategy and roadmap before embarking on the development of table devices. The Digital Advisor business model example below, used by Insight Consulting’s digital insurance practice is an example of such a framework.

Digital Advisor Business Model for the insurance Industry

Have a plan. This  is the Digital Advisor Business Model

2. Deploy rapidly

Rapid deployment allows organisations to prove the tablet works and to get feedback, buy in and support from the wider organisation. Key decisions to take to achieve this include avoiding integration with other systems if at all possible, only build an online version (not an offline one), limit scope (for example do not include needs analysis in the first version), use rapid application development approaches and use a pilot based roll-out.

By following this approach you should be able to deploy your first version in 6-9 months instead of the 2 years needed for most new technology deployments.

Good luck with your Tablet development initiatives. A successful deployment will put your organisation on track to meet the needs of the Digital Advisor – and their customers.

Share this article – and learn more

Please feel free to share this article with your colleagues. And don’t forget to Sign Up to our email newsletter to be the first to see future articles that are posted on The Digital Insurer. In future articles The Digital Insurer will explore how to set the best roadmap for your organisation and what the challenges you may face as you start to deploy the Digital Advisor model.

If you have comments and suggestions on this article of for future articles please contact us directly or just leave a comment below.

Related articles that explore the Digital Advisor model further include:

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About The Digital Insurer

The Digital Insurer is a blog/article forum and accompanying email newsletter maintained for the benefit of insurance professionals interested in improving on existing business models, or creating new business models that take advantage of technology developments. More about The Digital Insurer

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