Modern day Medicare Field Marketing Organizations (Medicare FMOs) often walk a tightrope – working hard to simultaneously keep their carriers and agents happy. In order to stay competitive, its essential that every opportunity for modernisation is embraced – digital transformation, and specifically, digital distribution, have an important role to play here.
In this article, we’ll explore the contribution and opportunity of digital distribution as a competitive advantage for Medicare FMOs.
Digital distribution is the process of assets being digitally transferred – usually via the internet. In the context of the Medicare industry, digital distribution is having a transformative effect, diversifying the way in which plans are being sold and serviced. This is marked by a move away from traditional physical channels, towards more user-friendly and efficient digital ones.
Digital distribution represents a fairly radical shift within the insurance industry, as traditionally, the sector has been slow to adopt and adapt to new digital methods and channels. With the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic forcing incumbents to catch up with other industries, today, many more are embracing the opportunities and advantages that digital distribution offers.
For many, the move to digital distribution is a necessary one. Clients and prospects will no longer tolerate lengthy waiting periods, delays in paperwork or being kept on hold. Expectations, forged during interaction with other more progressive industries, have evolved. As a result, FMOs should embrace the shift towards digital distribution for the opportunities that it holds.
Digital distribution holds a number of exciting opportunities for Medicare FMOs in the modern insurance industry. The main opportunities include:
Being able to meet evolving customer experience expectations.
Digital distribution has influenced customer expectations – expedited workflows, instant support messaging and digital signing are all tools your agents should have access to.
A more personalized offering and service.
Through the collection and application of data, coupled with the ability to distribute assets digitally, it is much easier to customize and tailor-make Medicare offers to specific needs of clients.
As an extension to the data opportunities available through digital channels, digital distribution also allows for greater segmentation and therefore increased ability to personalize communications according to behavioral insights gathered.
Slicker point-of-sale experience.
The ability to design e-proposals, e-renewals and e-submissions means that Medicare FMOs have the ability to create sleek experiences that elevate their brands through refined visual identities.
Increased opportunities for upsell and cross sell.
Artificial Intelligence incorporated into digital distribution platforms enables ‘next-best’ action recommendations for agents, thereby giving them greater capability to upsell and cross sell products and product combinations.
Reduced turnaround time via streamlined processing.
Digital processes allow for the removal of inefficiencies in the system and result in reduced turnaround times and streamlined processes.
While digital distribution and its adoption into business processes hold a number of advantages and opportunities for Medicare FMOs, it is also important to understand that there are potential issues to mitigate.
The main pitfalls to look out for include:
Poor adoption and underutilization.
Implementation is vital to the adoption and utilization of any digital platform. If this phase is not carefully considered, it may result in poor adoption by agents and an asset that underperforms.
Increased training burden.
Creating understanding as to how your new platform works is vital to adoption. There will be a greater training burden associated with getting up and running, but put measures in place to ensure this can be maintained effectively over time.
Some more traditionally leaning agents may resist the adoption of digital technology. Go into the change expecting this and approach the matter pragmatically.
Attrition of agents.
As some resistance to change is inevitable, there may be some attrition of agents from the FMO as a direct result. This is usually associated with a lack of experience and confidence in digital technologies, and can be mitigated through empathetic implementation practices.
Focus on the experience.
Ensure that the customer-facing experience is designed from every angle. Build strategies and define what each claim or renewal experience will look and feel like. The ability to control the experience is in your hands, so be sure to maximize it to its full potential.
Make use of data.
Digital distribution unlocks so much potential in terms of accessing detailed behavioral information at scale, and this data is the key to unleashing new levels of service and satisfaction for your organization.
Don’t underestimate the importance of adoption.
Be careful not to assume that all your agents will take to the platform instantly. Design a strategy that will help you ensure the very best adoption and success rates.
Listen to your agents.
Your agents are your eyes and ears in the marketplace. They will come to understand the opportunities and short falls of this sales method better than anyone else, and are therefore the key to optimizing the platform to become the best possible version. Be sure to listen to their feedback, both positive and negative.
Remain mindful of compliance.
Compliance is an essential aspect to quality insurance services in the market. Be sure to work with a platform that places compliance at the heart of its value proposition.
For Medicare FMOS, digital distribution is an essential component of staying relevant and competitive in the ever-evolving world of Medicare sales. The question is no longer should you make the shift, but rather how quickly can you move to secure the long-term future of the organization?
Digital distribution should form part of a wider digital transformation strategy – embracing the opportunity that automation represents for ROI and improved operational efficiency. Commissionly offers a dedicated and intelligent solution for streamingling Medicare commission payments, removing the admin associated with ensuring payments are accurate and on time.
By building out a modern, digitally transformed operation, you’ll be able to attract the right type of agent – keen to work with a digital-first, progressive FMO which invests in their ability to make more sales.