A recent survey of MGAA members, conducted by insurance communications agency Full Circle, reveals that despite heightened use of social media and video conferencing services during the current crisis, the large majority of respondents expect a return to face-to-face client and broker meetings.
In fact, just 15% of survey respondents said that social media would remain their preferred method of communication post-lockdown.
As the UK government enforced a national lockdown to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the region’s insurance and reinsurance industry had to adapt and working practices went remote. During this time, it appears to have been pretty much business as usual for the sector as firms of all shapes and sizes have continued with their operations with limited disruption.
But despite the increased use of social media and video conferencing, the results from the survey show that most respondents are eager to get back to the office and to operate in a face-to-face marketplace once again.
Overall, 38% of respondents said that they were using LinkedIn and Twitter more during lockdown, with 43% saying their use was unchanged. However, social media still came in below video conferencing, telephone and email as the preferred method of communication.
Alex Wise, Executive Director at Full Circle, said: “The UK Government lockdown has called for significant changes in the way both the insurance industry operates and how it communicates. For an industry that is often seen as change-resistant, the transition and flexibility it has shown is all the more impressive. And yet, as the survey shows, there is clearly a hankering for a return to the traditional face-to-face way of doing business.
“Whilst no one doubts the importance of relationships and networks in the insurance market, turning our backs on what necessity has shown can be done, would be a mistake.”
Wise raises a good point. While the insurance industry in the UK, and most notably Lloyd’s of London, has traditionally thrived off face-to-face operations and a physical underwriting room, the pandemic has shown that in many instances this isn’t essential and in fact, can be more expensive for a marketplace that is already costly to do business in.
Around 73% of respondents revealed that they have taken some action to help brokers and policyholders during the current crisis, while 58% said that the pandemic and lockdown had negatively impacting their business financially.
“Given the negative headlines circling insurers recently, it’s perhaps a little surprising to find so many have actively being trying to help brokers and their clients. More needs to and can be done to help balance this equation and with it, the reputation of the industry,” added Wise.