Robo advisors and chatbots can definitely provide value to advisors. Though they can’t yet replace these financial professionals and the value they bring to the table – a unique combination of relationships, trust and personalized service – today’s advisors do need to effectively engage through digital channels with their customers, whether digital natives or members of any generation.
Right now, annuities advisors have several engagement channel options. All channels include digital advisement platforms that enable advisors to help customers determine the suitability of different products and evaluate multiple options to find the best fit for their individual goals and needs.
(Related: Digital Technologies Help the Customers)
The platforms can also streamline the sales and purchase process, inspire client confidence and establish the financial advisor as a trusted professional. These platforms typically offer educational tools for both advisors and their customers. And digital platforms also provide some self-service options so customers can take care of simple address or beneficiary changes and check their account status at their convenience.
There are four basic annuity sales platform options that help advisors more effectively engage with their customers and provide better service and advice. Each has its own unique benefits. The appropriate option – or options – comes down to the advisor’s business model and requirements.
1. Adopt the carrier’s platform.
Many large annuity carriers have developed and offer their own platform to distributors. For example, in 2018, Brighthouse Financial launched Digital Desk to support fixed and income annuity sales. The firm wanted to offer its advisors tools they can use for needs analyses and customer support.
Carrier platforms are typically feature-rich, robust, intuitive and easy to use. This option works best for captive agents or advisor groups which focus solely on a single carrier. However, advisors that sell more than one carrier’s products will need to deal with multiple carrier portals, which can get onerous and inefficient.
2. Use a single-advisor portal.
Envestnet developed an insurance network that integrates insurance solutions into the wealth management process. The platform, Envestnet Insurance Exchange, provides a single portal that’s like a marketplace for advisors working with multiple carriers. As of March, 2019, the platform includes financial products from six carriers and offers advisors tools to help educate clients and assess product suitability and submit applications.