‘Instant’ small commercial lines? Emerging Technology offers a new option for independent agents
You may have heard of CoverWallet. A ‘CNBC Upstart 100’ recognized as a top global start-up. You may have also heard of them as a very fast growing, very innovative agency. With over 225 employees. Going directly to the consumer. But, now, they’re offering their own technology to you. The independent agency. At the very least, you need to listen to what they do, how they serve the agency force… And make your own informed decision.
Michael Jans interviews two of the top executives at CoverWallet, Rashmi Melgiri, Co-Founder of CoverWallet, and Michael Konialian, General Manager of CoverWallet for agents. Listen to their cutting edge insights on:
- How emerging technologies are integrating more and more with the existing independent agency system, and how they can help you focus on your strengths.
- The changing expectations of today’s insurance consumer… and steps agents can take to satisfy them.
- A glimpse into the future of insurance – with insights on what you should be doing now to succeed then. (The future is not far).
If your agency sells commercial lines insurance, you owe it to yourself to listen to this conversation. In this podcast, you’ll hear from the very people at the top of CoverWallet. Whether you choose to use this or similar technologies, you can make an informed decision about how your agency serves the small commercial lines market after you listen to this conversation.
What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industry’s leading figures.
One More Thing! What do you think? How will you and your peers use this to grow your agency or brokerage? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, subscribe to get updates delivered to you and *please share this if you found it informative.
Michael Jans: So without further ado, it’s a great privilege to invite you to listen to this podcast conversation, Michael, and Rashmi, thank you so much for joining us. How are you?
Rashmi Melgiri: Great. Thanks for having us on.
Jans: All right. I’m going to get the hard stuff out of the way and ask you both to introduce yourself, including your last names because then I’ll have a recorded version of those names so I can refer to them when I do the introduction. Who wants to go first?
Rashmi: Oh, I’ll go first, Rashmi.
Jans: Okay. Yes. A little thumbnail, I know you have an interesting personal history, so let’s hear about it.
Rashmi: All right, so my name is Rashmi Melgiri. I am one of the co-founders of CoverWallet. Prior to this I was in management consulting for most of my career and I actually met my co-founder back in our business degree at MIT, roughly I guess about 10 or 12 years ago at this point. Outside of CoverWallet, I am an amateur comedian.
Jans: All right. If you weren’t going to say that I was going to raise it.
Rashmi: I definitely enjoy speaking and performing. Then here internally I cover a lot and I focus my time on internal operations.
Jans: Got It. All right, and you’re a co-founder?
Rashmi: I am a co-founder.
Jans: Okay, so I’m going to circle back on that in a little bit. Michael?
Michael Konialian: Michael Konialian. I’m the general manager of CoverWallet agents. Before CoverWallet, I worked at Mckinsey & Company largely helping big financial services go digital. Then before that, I have an MBA as well. Before that, I had a background in technology and setting the government as well.
Jans: Right. Dreamed of being an astronaut?
Michael: I did. [unintelligible 00:05:55] I did start my in NASA. I actually have a good friend who’s certainly in space right now.
Jans: Wow, okay. That would be an interesting podcast even if it’s totally off topic if I can interview somebody in the space station already. So, let’s get down to the interesting stuff here and not to say your personal histories aren’t interesting. Shout out to you Rashmi, you’re active in the ELA project as I understand.
Rashmi: I am. Yes, it’s a project that is supporting girls around having professional mentors that are in the same fields, science, technology, engineering, math or entrepreneurship. It’s one of a couple of projects like that that I participated in terms of mentoring younger women or being part of a support network for them.
Jans: Hats off to you for that, I have had a lot of engineers in my career and, embarrassingly, I think maybe all guys, so let’s balance that out. Obviously, we’re going to dive into what you’re doing and the CoverWallet story and we’re going to talk about, what I guess is maybe one of your latest innovations with the CoverWallet for Agents platform.
Before we do that, I think it would be especially interesting to hear from both of you both with a consultancy advisory background. Highly educated and have chosen to be in a field that, I suppose, you probably weren’t thinking even when you were in school, Gosh, I can’t wait to get into the insurance industry. Am I right about that?
Rashmi: You’re right. That I wasn’t thinking about insurance.
Jans: Hey, fair enough. Most people in insurance didn’t think that way either but this is where we are. Part of what I’m curious about is now, you’ve been in the industry long enough to have some observations and, obviously, you’ve made a significant commitment to the industry. I’m curious what you see as the forces and trends that are affecting the insurance industry right now and why it seems to be such an interesting space, obviously, interesting enough for you to make a commitment to it.
Rashmi: I ask Michael to go first, somebody joined us maybe about a year and a half ago.
Michael: In my career before joining CoverWallet, I explored a lot of other industries and financial services and saw them all go digital over the last 15 years. If you were to look at retail wealth management, you look at payments. If you look at the personal lines of insurance, if you look at the current account and unsecured lending. Big huge parts of the economy have all gone digital and now have really customer-facing native digital experiences that are able to bring in a lot of best practice and really a lot of the power of internet technology to create awesome customer experiences.
Commercial insurance really has been the last one to make this transition. Really, I think everyone agrees that we talk to you, that it’s inevitable for it to happen. Really, we view our role as CoverWallet to help accelerate that certain destiny. I think there’s a lot of really structural reasons in the commercial insurance market. One, the financial products, so a lot more complex to a lot of the carriers. Even though it’s a very competitive market from market share, they’ll, one of the carriers hadn’t yet made the investments are yet, got themselves digital to the point where they can access customers and really serve customer needs online. Really, there hadn’t been a lot of folks like us who were really bringing a lot of that best practice for things like connecting to different systems for a lot of the common use cases, rating, underrating, et cetera. It’s a really exciting time to see the market, really, almost, all kind of realized at the same time that this is happening and that, really, there’s been a lot of acceleration and sort of where our carrier partners have gotten to over the last few years and also where we see other agencies getting in terms of their embrace of digital technology.
Jans: You did say something interesting. I want to make sure I’m clear on this. Do you think to some extent, the carriers are playing catch up to your technology?
Michael: Absolutely. Really, we are pretty set from a technology standpoint or the Facebooks and the stripes of the world? I think the best practices we bring with that heritage. More than a third of our employees are engineers.
Rashmi: Yes. I would just add that I think, it’s definitely a partnership. It’s somewhat catch up, but it’s more CoverWallet kind of ushering the way of, “Hey, you guys want to be able to take advantage of the whole digital ecosystem, right? You want to make ease of use for your agents. Absolutely a point at which you compete as ease of use for the end consumer.” That’s really the strength of CoverWallet. It is data technology and design. That’s what we know how to do.
We’re a technology company. We’re a product and user experience company through that happens to be an interest. That’s really, I think the role that we play in the ecosystem is actually assisting carriers and, this is from everything from the initial underwriting all the way through to the display, to the customer, the agent, in terms of the quote that buying their policy showing them or supporting them in what the technology is, in what the practices that are required in order to make that a really a Facebook-like or Twitter-like.
Jans: Yes. Okay, because if I understand your business model, on one hand, you really are an agency but unlike a lot of other agencies, you can’t necessarily secure an appointment with everybody not because you’re not ready, but because they’re not ready because your digital, they have the API with you or integrate with you somehow.
Rashmi: That’s accurate.
Jans: Okay. All right. Very interesting. Okay. In terms of the historical trends or the forces that you see impacting the industry, Rashmi, is there anything that you want to add because I know that you speak in the FinTech community, so you probably got some little bit of a historical perspective on how these technologies are changing finance and insurance.
Rashmi: Yes, exactly. I would just add to what Michael was saying earlier, you sort of seen in the last 5 to 10 years, you’ve seen all kinds of FinTech companies come through this way of digitizing experiences for the end consumer. I would say that one trend within that you’ve seen is that lower end of the market is always really hard to serve if you had a purely manual touch to it. I think that’s what you see with the independent agents out there. I think any one of them will talk to you and want to say, “Yes, I really want to work with this small customer fo $1,000 box or $500 box and really hard to make money on.” I’m going to put just as much time into it as I would for the $10,000 or $50,000 premium. Right?
Rashmi: From a historical FinTech perspective, all the industries or sub-industries that Michael mentioned, they went through this way. I’ll pick on wealth management for a second here you have companies like Betterment or Wealthfront which said, “Look, wealth management should be available to everyone, you shouldn’t have to have $10 million in net worth in order to do service.”
That was really the opportunity that we saw in developing CoverWallet, is we can really bring technology to the whole industry, but particularly around servicing those small accounts and assisting agents in doing what they do best, they want to help that customer, they want to build relationships. But I think that we can really inject the technology to actually make it efficient and economical for everyone.
Jans: Okay, so presumably, Rashmi, some years ago, and I don’t know when this was, you saw an opportunity. Do you want to talk a little bit about like, what your observations were and what your vision was at that point in time?
Rashmi: Yes. I mean, the observations were exactly this. It was very manual, no matter the size of the account. Some of this was just a deduction of looking at overall in the financial sector like this is one of the biggest financial sectors in the world. At one point, ANG was the largest financial institution, period, of any bank or any other financial institution. It was a decision that really a sector that you didn’t see a lot of technology going into. The structure of it totally made sense, you have half a million independent agents, no one really has the capital or the incentive to invest in technology, it has to be a big player.
At the same time, you have carriers, who, again, that’s a very fragmented space, and they want to service their agents. They don’t necessarily want to go and create a bunch of direct online channels either. There was the need for someone to usher in this wave of, actually make it very easy for the agents to service customers so that they could concentrate on customer relationships, and actually make money doing the smaller size premium. That was some of the opportunity that we saw and the customer relationship. Excuse me there, part of that would be not just helping the agents in terms of ease of use but just making that whole experience better for all players in the ecosystem. That means the carriers, that means the agents, that means the end customer. It was actually very easy for everyone to be a part of.
Jans: You started CoverWallet, when?
Rashmi: We started CoverWallet in 2015 and launched in…
Jans: Okay, all right, so relatively young company.
Rashmi: Oh, totally.
Jans: Okay. Compared to most agencies, it’s a very young agency and yet it doesn’t take much research to find. I think you guys are in series B.
Rashmi: We are a series B.
Jans: A fairly significant amount of funding. What’s that been like?
Rashmi: Yes, we’ve been fortunate. I guess that’s the first thing I would say. We’re fortunate that we have great investors who saw the opportunity the same way that we do.
Jans: Including insurance carriers. You have some carriers that participate in your funding, okay?
Rashmi: That’s right. We’ve had both buying from the technology sector. Some of our investors are investors in Uber and Twitter so they can kind of see the vision and the policy here going in the same direction and just as you said, we have buy-in from the industry itself, we have carriers, who are investors. They can see that we’re filling that need in terms of injecting technology into this overall sector. Yes, I mean, that’s basically, that’s solving the issue, right, which is, there do need to be massive technology investments to make that work. That’s really where this fundraising comes in. That’s exactly where it goes, it goes into our engineering product and design team.
Jans: Got it. All right. Let’s talk about that experience that we’re all observing right now. We’re now it does seem that investors of all shapes and sizes from within the industry, outside the industry, they could be insurance investors, they could be technology investors. Clearly, they have stood up and noticed this industry.
This industry is ready for some technology enhancement, whether that’s disruption or enablement or helping or facilitating friendly, unfriendly, there’s a lot coming into this space. When you look at it and, kind of think, oh, three years down the road, or at some point as time evolves, how do you think this industry looks different in that sort of near to mid term future than it does today?
Rashmi: I have my thoughts. Michael, you want to go first?
Michael: Yes, I think, it’s certainly an exciting time for the industry. The word in short tech didn’t exist a few years.
Jans: It didn’t exist when I started in short tech, like nine or 10 years ago. But when I sold one, everybody knew what it was.
Michael: I think, it’s very much having a moment. We’re really excited to be one of the leaders of the category, I think, really, our goal is to just make the entire system more productive. There’s so many frictions right now. Carrier writing insurance, to an agent placing insurance, to an insured buying insurance and, having as part of their management in their business. If you really look across that entire chain, there’s really so many applications of technology that you can do to make that entire process more efficient.
Really, by working and building technology, whether that’s integrations with carriers, whether it’s really beautiful products for agents to use a closed fine service on our platform, and it’s kind of public applications and other servicing and management tools from church to us. We’ve really viewed that
entire process as really rich and really ripe for technology. You can see there’s a number of people across the chain focused on point solutions in that where it might be application or it might be underwriting. We’ve been perhaps a little bit more ambitious and really looking to create an end-to-end experience most notably for agents, but being able to go from app to quote to bind to service, all online.
Rashmi: Inside of that, I would say, speaking of future trends, I think you still see two common themes when you’re talking to the end consumer, the small business owner, and those are time and trust. If you’re talking about solving for efficiency, that’s part of what we’re solving for, is the time it takes to fill out an application to actually get through filling out the application all the way to underwriting, quoting and binding for both the end customer and the agent. You’re going to see trends like more passive data collection that’s going to solve with that timing issue.
Jans: Halt there for a moment and explain that one in lay terms, passive data collection.
Rashmi: Sure. The idea that there might be pieces of information out there that you don’t have to actually fill out or proactively go out and [inaudible 00:21:31]. Some common ones in insurance are like does your building have a sprinkler? Put in your building address and we can tell you whether it has a sprinkler or not.
Jans: That’s so interesting. I’m having a conversation with somebody else in the industry right now, and he’s going to be a guest in the next six or eight weeks. His perspective is quite different than mine. Former carrier CEO, a great deal of experience, currently a– I don’t want to give too much away about who he is, but he’s a professor at a well-respected university. His perspective is that things have changed quite a bit not necessarily technology– Well, I suppose it really is technology that made this happen. One of the changes is that while carriers used to be the possessors of data, now data is so much more freely available. I think that’s part of what you’re talking about.
Rashmi: That’s right. If you see that you could leverage– Again, it’s just a high-level trend. I think you’re going to see that the amount of information you need to actually proactively gather from the customer is going to go down. Either carriers or intermediaries, agencies, et cetera, they’re going to start to leverage the data that’s out there to underwrite. That’s really going to help with the time aspect of the customer.
Jans: Passive data collection. That is a bit of a game changer for the consumer and for the agent. It saves time, reduces friction. Got it. All right. Rashmi, anything else that you would say as you look to the future, how it’s different than it is today?
Rashmi: I think you’re also just going to see more education and help for customers. There’s going to be a help for agents as well particularly on this lower end. What we want agents to spend their time doing is really coaching around coverage and explaining what are the perils in your business and what’s the right coverage for you, but questions about how much does this cost or basic questions around claims, et cetera. We think a lot of that could be done in a way that it doesn’t require the agent’s time.
We’d really like them to spend time building customer value and relationship. In terms of that trust issue, I think you’re also going to see agents and carriers start to get a lot better about actually providing really good education online that’s going to increase trust in this industry. We’ve got all agents to actually spend time on the personal or specific issues related to their business.
Jans: I have to jump on that one for a moment. As a long time content marketer, I’m curious. How do you see agents, for example, delivering high-value educational content to their marketplace?
Rashmi: There are some tools. CoverWallet has a tool, it’s called our advice tool, where we help customers with the full pieces of information. We can give them, “These are the types of policies that typically customers like you buy, ” or, “This is typically how much they spend.” We’ll also tell you the percentage of customers like you that buy it versus not. Maybe it’s a small coffee shop, and we’re telling you, “Yes, sometimes folks buy EPLI insurance. What about 25%?”
That might make sense. Maybe a lot of these coffee shops are actually family-owned and EPLI doesn’t seem to be a big priority for them, et cetera. Actually, just providing that data out there as a starting point in an efficient way they actually then start to get into the details of your business and discuss what may or may not be right for you.
Jans: Got it. All right. I think it was December 4th of 2018 that CoverWallet made an announcement about the agent platform, sometime around that, right?
Jans: Rashmi, as you said, you’ve already been in business for two or three years. This was a little bit of a– I don’t know if you want to call it a pivot, but I’d love to hear that part of the story. I think for my audience this is the juicy part of the story. I’d love to hear what encouraged you to see that as an opportunity. Then I’m going to be really curious how that’s going and what you’re learning about agents.
Rashmi: Yes, we launched in December 2018, but I would say from very early on, like mid-2016, we started to get inbound demand from independent agents. We started to get agents calling us even just right after launch after one of our first integrations asking, “Is this a platform that you would consider licensing?” They were like, “I was on here and I got a quote. Now I’m gonna come back and try it.”
Jans: I got a quote. I wish my agency could have done that.
Rashmi: I activated my agent portal with my direct appointments with offices. It was honestly something we were consistently hearing for a year and a half and it was never the right time to consider it, et cetera, we’re working on other things. Then in late 2018 or about mid-2018, we said, “There’s been so much pull and it just consistently is pulled from the market to what we have. We started to take a look at, could we actually efficiently take what we’ve built and made it available to independent agents because actually, it’s solving a need out there? They’re all talking to us about which is ease of use single entry multiple quotes. That’s what we do. With not too much effort, although Michael disagrees because it’s been in his life, [laughs] we were able to take what we’ve built and actually really leverage it to serve the agency.
Jans: A single entry, multiple carrier interface. As I recall, I was in conversations between 20 and 25 years ago about that.
Well, it takes technology a while to solve problems. The one thing I want to ask you to do now is to clarify what exactly is CoverWallet and what does it do? Then, of course, what can it do for an independent agent?
Michael: Absolutely. CoverWallet for Agents really gives agents a portal to be able to, through a single dynamic application, access multiple carriers for multiple lines of business, be able to get instant quotes that are live bindable quotes, able to issue those policies online, check out and pay, and then services policies all in the same platform. Really what we’ve done is by really leveraging technology, we’re able to only ask those underwriting questions that you need to ask for that specific class of business and location.
We have a lot of technology built under the hood to be able to map all the different carrier appetites into our own proprietary taxonomy and go from states to set codes to workers comp codes. On the background, you’re not spending a lot of class time and in a natural language, type in a pizza shop versus limited-service restaurants with under 50% of sales such that I can put in– Let’s say I want to quote an insurance agency. I can get quotes for GL, workers comp, and professional liability in about six or seven minutes, and that’s with- [crosstalk]
Jans: Multiple carriers.
Michael: Two or three carriers for each line of business. I can bind all those carriers online. I can sign them up for Autopay and I can service these policies for certs or billing needs or any other additional needs, all online.
Jans: Can I throw in one more thing? If I’m reading one of your press releases, that you can also set them up on premium financing?
Michael: Exactly, because it’s really- [crosstalk].
Jans: Which is probably part of your auto
Michael: Exactly. We have a vision where really, in our mind, insurances and subscription product, people having just [crosstalk] thought of it-
Michael: –it’s a subscription product the way that Spotify is a subscription product. As part of that, all of our policies that we bind on couple of regions are autopay and auto-renew. When we do that, you’re not letting billing get in the way of an actual contract and much as you would expect to pay Netflix or Spotify online and have them charge your card every month. We expect the same for insurance.
Jans: Now, the agency relationships are relatively new, but I’m sure you’ve had some insights, maybe surprises and observations. What’s it been like?
Michael: I know we’ve it’s been really exciting. We have a few hundred agents in the platform now, we have a few hundred still on the waiting list actually, as we scale the hard to meet all the inbound demand we’ve been getting. Really, the feedback’s been very positive, but a lot of them are dumbfounded that [chuckles] based on how easy it is and almost a little suspicious that it’s too easy. If, for instance, with all of our carriers, we’ve worked really closely, not just with their development and software teams start building integration, but also with their underwriting teams to rationalize questions.
A lot of carriers hadn’t really given a hard look at their underwriting questions in years, if not decades. As part of this exercise, we’ve really gone through and worked with them to rationalize these questions to really only the ones that are required to write that part of the business. For instance, you can on a platform, get a worker’s comp quote for a dentist entering zero underwriting questions. It’s almost an interesting educational talent.
Jans: [laughs] How much passive that is if you can calculate?
Michael: Having agents believe that no, this really is alive vulnerable quote. I almost have to show them the quote proposal on the carrier letter otherwise, it’s a little bit hard but [chuckles] what’s going on here guys. I know this can’t be, this is almost too good to be true.
Jans: Let’s say I was at the dentist and I called my independent insurance agent and they popped up your platform, I can have quotes in how long?
Michael: In about five minutes. What that agent can do is that agent would probably send that dentist an app, that dentists could use that app on their phone at home, or tablet, in the office [crosstalk].
Jans: Or could they take those questions over the phone?
Michael: Yes, they can also take over the phone, do it on the dentist or the insured’s behalf. Within five or 10 seconds after submitting the application, you would then get all the live finable quotes across the classes business. About 90% of our quotes are finable right away to live quote instantly and about 10% are underwriting quotes today we’re working even from that platform.
Jans: They are issued from the online platform?
Jans: Full QBI plus payment?
Jans: All handled very quickly. Now, I don’t know if you have analyzed yet, conceivably how much time you save per quote for an independent insurance agent?
Michael: No, it’s an hour. Really a lot of what we’ve done is bring the process of placing insurance from something that takes hours. Something that takes minutes. As part of that rushing with you earlier, we’ve really let technology do a lot of the time-consuming parts of the job that are honestly less value add keying in information, figuring out rating, and where different care have appetite, and then entering information with those carriers to get quotes and following up with underwriters in that process.
Really by letting technology do all that it one, makes those agents more efficient so they can serve more customers, which is great. Two, lets them really focus more on the parts that agents are uniquely qualified to do, which is on the relationship management, giving advice and helping evaluate options and coverages on really servicing and dealing across the lifetime of the customer account and being that trusted partner advisor. Not just someone who’s in the business of getting quotes.
Jans: Now, when you look at your own product and technology looking forward, are there iterations or enhancements that are on your roadmap?
Michael: Yes, certainly. There’s a few flavors of that. One is just adding more carriers and more appetite when we want. We had just a few carriers on. Now, we have eight carriers and fixed lines of business. We’ve expanded really considerably in the last few months. We have a really strong roadmap, had more carriers, more line business.
The other thing is increase the limits in appetites right now. Most of our appetite is for under $5 million revenue. We’re working with carrier to even push that number up and build out a greater customer base. It’s a small to medium size enterprise in away from the micro to small size. Then we’re building lots of great tools, for agents to be able to more easily share quotes and application and to be able to build more automation around the servicing experience and just be able to really sort of account for more efficiently.
Jans: Got it. All right. You are committed to the aging platform is serious?
Rashmi: Very [laughs].
Jans: Well, I just heard it from the co-founders, so I’ll take that at face value. I guess I have one other question for you. The aging community is experiencing turbulence. There’s a lot of change going on in the industry right now. Other than the obvious answer look up cover wallet, when you look at the issues that agents are facing today, changes in consumer behavior, changes in technology everywhere, changes in consumer itself. The millennial generation now taking over more and more of the insurance purchasing obligations. What would you say to agents that are facing this daunting turbulence?
Michael: I think there’s certainly some adjusting to the time. If you really look five years from now to the future, it’s going to be absolutely normal for a customer to fill out an insurance application on their phone. You would expect to do that even for a mortgage now or a major financial product for insurance, things that are going to be the norm.
I think through actions yourself and others, I think agents now have religion] in terms of digital marketing as an acquisition channel and as a way to acquire customers. I think really that understanding that is there is going to be across the spectrum of the real needs that insurance agents have. We’re very much focused on the placement servicing of insurance, but there’s other really across the life cycle that is there. I think doing a lot of really exciting things.
Rashmi: I’ll just go back to something Michael said earlier, which is there’s the things that technology is good at and there’s the things that humans are good at. I think that’s really the crux of this is to embrace what technology does for the agent. Embrace what technology is good. It’s good in the sense that it’s single entry, multiple close. It’s good that your customer who came to you and you wants your advice is now able to get a quote within three minutes and then talk to you about, hey, what’s the difference between these three different quotes that I got? [chuckles]
It’s this focus on actually, constantly, I’m probably the sports of your job is made of what they like. [laughs] Then embracing technology for the stuff that you probably didn’t like, all the data entry, or PDFs and fax machines, et cetera. That’s really what we emphasize is we really think technology is there to do the stuff that probably wasn’t value-adding for them in terms of for agents, in terms of their own personal satisfaction with their job and also with value-adding for the customer experience either. That’s what we continue to have and that’s where we see the future which is exactly why agents will be online more, customers will be online more and we think the interactions that happen between licensed agents and customers are actually going to be more valuable for both parties involved.
Jans: I want to ask you one almost last but this maybe a difficult question. I suspect that I intuitively know the answer but I’m really open-minded to this. Prospect A goes to CoverWallet directly right through your direct channel. Boom. Okay. Prospect B calls their independent assurance H. Do you think that there’s a difference demographically or psychographically between those who might be perfectly satisfied going direct and those who would be more greatly or richly satisfied by having the human relationship through an agent? Is there a different demographic?
Michael: I think there certainly is. I think if you look at many of the people in our office who might be under 30, they’d rather not talk to it a person. I do think certainly people like that will gravitate towards the right panel.
Jans: Now you’re in the commercial lines arena. Do you think at some point there’s a level of complexity or just there’s certain psychology where somebody just wants that peace of mind that comes from having a relationship?
Michael: Absolutely. There’s the need for insurance brokers and advisors for customers to be able to really have that comfort and that understanding because, honestly, the products are complex and the coverages are really important. It’s made to protect you and often conditions can be at you’re most vulnerable.
Jans: It’s a really serious decision.
Michael: Exactly. I think that the need for trusted experts in that purchasing decision is never going to go away. I think from that standpoint I just think there is a broader appeal. I think in the channel though I do think for both the agent channel and customers using agents versus customers going direct I think both experiences are going to become more online in the future. As part of that really what we’re trying to do is help agents compete best in that environment, honestly, by having the tools to be able to really provide exemplary service to customers.
It’s not, “Give me two weeks and I’ll get you a quota to it. Hey give me a few minutes and I’ll get you three or four.” That’s great customer service. You weren’t able to do that before technology on as a customer that then gives them more confidence that agent’s spending that time because if you’re only spending a $1,000 on a policy if that agent is spending five minutes getting the quote in an hour and talking to you about it and walking through.
Jans: And two or three phone calls back and forth.
Michael: Exactly. Those phone calls are going to be really rushed. If it took the agent three hours takes four hours.
Jans: We’re years before we effectively monetize that customer.
Jans: Okay. If listeners want to learn more, find out more, what should they do?
Michael: Absolutely. You can visit us at coverwalletforagents.com. You can request a demo from someone on our sales team. It is free to join. We will be opening up the platform once we’re able to burn down our wait list probably in the next few months.
Jans: Okay. CoverWallet for Agents.
Michael: Certainly as we can to go through there. I expect that I don’t want to hold this has been too much longer. That’s the best way to reach us.
Jans: All right. I just want to clarify. CoverWallet for Agents is that for numeral or for F-O-R.
Jans: F-O-R. All right. Rashmi, anything else you want to add before we sign off for the day?
Rashmi: No. I think we covered it. I think like Michael said, it’s a really exciting time. It’s exciting to take what we’ve built and actually make it widely available, basically, to every customer out there looking for small businesses. That’s what we’re excited about.
Jans: Indeed. Well, it’s been a delightful and interesting conversation. I really, really appreciate both of you taking the time out for us today.
Rashmi: Thank you.