The Future of Medicare Advantage and Supplement Insurance Producers

The Future of Medicare Advantage and Supplement Insurance Producers

This submission is part of a streak sponsored by AgentSync.

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Medicare faces many challenges in the coming years, with regulatory developments, federal funding, and increasing lifespans all playing a part in shaping the way forward for this system and its personal fallout.

But, as digital adoption continues and begins with Medicare beneficiaries, early rumors of digital supplanting producers have died down. Generally, the business understands that there will always be a human ingredient in this human business, but the question remains, what will that function be?

Along with host Domenick DiCicco, CEO of Benefytt, EasyHealth CEO David Duel, and very personal CEO and co-founder of AgentSync Niji Sabharwal weighed in on June 8, 2022, at a Medicarians session, “The Function of the producer: the following ten years”.

Utility insights reveal low digital-only adoption costs

Like much of the convention, this household conversation was abuzz with the question of whether or not AI had the potential to supplant the function of human brokers in health insurance plan choice. DiCicco noted that a significant proportion of seniors were not “extremely comfortable” buying something like insurance online, a sentiment that was echoed by Duel and Sabharwal.

Duel, whose company has embraced technology-based digital sales, said the long term could even see additional digital adoption for older people, but the constraints are significant.

“The overwhelming majority of digital applications will nevertheless end up with agent-assisted processes due to [the range of Medicare products] is just too sophisticated,” Duel said. “Even when a senior has bought far enough down a funnel for online-only purposes…producers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

Duel spoke from experience, noting that fully self-service portals have had little or no uptake among seniors, and that many Medicare members who use the self-service portal tend to be more prone to churn. . The dilemma comes down to a weak incentive to adopt digital-only self-service within the enterprise.

Sabharwal echoed this sentiment, noting that “the share of premiums written by producers is not declining”.

He spoke of a “price-sensitivity threshold,” where policyholders feel comfortable choosing one-time or cheap insurance policies themselves such as renters insurance or travel insurance, but “ above a certain threshold, policyholders want to speak to a trusted advisor. The importance of health insurance choices, Sabharwal said, was one thing that put him in that high contact class.

Nevertheless, the need for digital transformation is real.

“A web presence as a gateway is a huge element of long-term, technology-based producer expertise,” Sabharwal said. “But the strategy must be the best of every world, automated platforms with automatically stuffed textual content are needed more than ever, however [a Medicare participant] navigating the plethora of choices wants a real accomplice.

Trusted recommendation a permanent key to the insurance coverage company

The guts of the fireside chat were easy: “How will the role of the producer evolve in the next 10 years?”

Duel’s company acts as a reseller to help Medicare beneficiaries choose benefit or top-up plans in addition to offering ongoing service reminding follow-ups with plan members, providing entry protection and making home visits. His perspective was largely shaped by the concept that insurance brokers symbolize the front line of churn reduction.

He expressed his opinion based on what his company has seen that the long-term decade of grower evolution will be largely driven by retention, and growers will take a more active role in service engagement. and blueprints.

“We’ve tried many issues with an agent and provided the sales experience by extending the agent’s function into aftersales…engaging buyers into the plan, which has resulted in significant increases in retention “Duel said. “I think over time brokers will take a more active role in care connectivity after deciding on an actual engagement plan.”

As DiCicco pointed out, today’s market mostly lacks incentives for producers in this area – other than retention-related commissions, there’s not much to incentivize producers to help members make appointments with the doctor or to interact in additional holistic care. In fact, there are barriers like HIPPA that are a real barrier to insurance producers taking a bigger hand in health decision-making for their customers.

However, Duel said, there is an expertise game that can help buyers and growers overcome these challenges to deliver a more comprehensive wellness + care strategy.

“It’s still nascent, but I think the carriers incentivizing these real businesses are evolving,” he said, referring to rising churn as driving higher per-member acquisition prices and lower members’ lifetime values. One point, Duel said, was that health insurance companies serving their members to stay healthy is a significant level of savings, but becomes much less feasible with churn.

Sabharwal’s startup, AgentSync (that’s us, we’re AgentSync!), isn’t Medicare-specific — although we do have Medicare-specific customers now — but many of the business developments apply to the Medicare realm as well. .

“We now have a new perspective as we are sitting in the middle of the cast,” Sabharwal said. “And to [Duel’s] On a life level, the lifetime value of a member used to be more profitable, but business dwindles as companies try to get more people to change. This erodes a member’s lifetime value in a short period of time, so investing not only in distribution but also in a member’s full life cycle would be the keystone for winners and losers in this part of the company.

The company, he said, must dig for an expanded sport as producers increasingly become stewards of information.

“I think we’re going to see some really fascinating changes over the next 10 years,” Sabharwal said. “Unprecedented cohorts of brokers will retire, and as these producers transfer their corporate books, the age of the common agent will drop. Likewise, Gen X is poised to be the buyer cohort in this space… the use of web-based tools will grow from a space of hesitation to one in every request.

Sabharwal’s prediction was that while he argued producers should be an integral part of the Medicare buying process, having a strong tech stack would be non-negotiable over the next decade.

“Producers need to be nice people with the right tools to provide great customer service,” he said. “[Medicare carriers and distributors] may want to maximize the time producers can spend with buyers. »

Insurtech Valuations and Developments

Before concluding, DiCicco asked a few questions about the enterprise capital and current public market values ​​of outstanding insurtechs, which had too many preliminary public options alone to see significant pullbacks over the past few months.

Sabharwal and Duel each claimed that the major IPOs embraced by steep declines likely replicated a misunderstanding in the public markets and Wall Street regarding the underlying fundamental model of insurance companies. DiCicco agreed, saying public markets generally don’t perceive that premium collections aren’t the same as revenue.

“VC is drying up in insurtech, and we’re going to see high due diligence in your earnings,” Duel said. “The bust hurts everyone in the business in some sense. … Having an optimistic unit economy is the cure.

“Some companies are great companies that can do very well, but you can’t decide the success of a company based on public valuation,” Sabharwal said. “Unfortunately good companies are going to get punched in the face until the market corrects.”

Sabharwal argued that regardless of the flow of the public market, the way forward for insurtech appears to be bullish.

“As a business, at the start, we could use loads of infrastructure expertise in our business that doesn’t exist in insurance coverage,” he said. “Right now we’re mostly digitizing paper-based processes, and that was the first wave of insurtech, but the second wave will start to reshape those tools and commoditize core processes as real infrastructure. The next wave will be even more fascinating as it will be driven by innovation and transformation.

When you’re excited to join Sabharwal’s imagination and vision and harness this wave of digital infrastructure transformation, see what AgentSync can do for you.


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