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Online tools are no substitute for brokered advice

Online tools and self-service platforms are becoming common in UK insurance, but their real value is debatable. How do these platforms fare for customers in need of specialist knowledge?

The insurance industry is beginning to develop an affiliation with online platforms, giving customers the tools to provide insurers with a more representative valuation of their assets without having to seek guidance from a specialist.

To this end, AXA recently launched a free online broker tool to help intermediaries calculate business interruption (BI) risk for commercial clients. The BI Calculator is designed to create a quick and accurate report of a business’ exposure to BI based on the insured’s own financial accounts. Brokers can either input information directly into the calculator or a link can be sent to the customer to input the data themselves, after which the final calculation is made available to the customer in a downloadable or PDF format.

However, while these tools are designed to expedite the quote and policy process and give more power to customers, they won’t completely replace the role of brokers and experts. This is particularly true in bespoke markets where more tailored policies are required, such as the high net worth (HNW) space. A HNW client may require a specialist policy to insure the “valuable” contents of their home. A self-service platform cannot be as comprehensive as the advice and guidance offered by a surveyor or contents specialist, who would be able to provide a more granular assessment of the risks.

Therefore, self-serve platforms should not be solely relied upon for a final risk assessment, and brokers must strive to ensure they are always considered as an option – if not the first priority.

By Thomas McCourtie, General Insurance Analyst

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