Going digital is paying big dividends for Ontario insurance brokerage

When an organization looks to undergo a digital transformation, having leadership willing to buy in and take that risk is an essential ingredient.

But for Fred and Jill Morison, the owners of Morison Insurance Brokers, they say that it came naturally to them and that they never really saw it as a risk, but rather an evolution of how they operate their business.

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“I never saw doing this as a risk,” said Fred Morison. “I don’t see moving to a digital platform or conducting business in a digital way as any different than when business was conducted primarily by phone and mail. Digital is simply how most communication is done today. Digital is the way today’s consumers want to communicate, so we needed to adapt and innovate to meet changing consumer experience expectations.”

While the openness to change came naturally to them, Fred pointed out that the inspiration for it came from a unique source: their children.

Observing the ways that their children interact with businesses, specifically how his daughter was able to sign closing papers on a house from her phone without even having to visit the real estate agent’s office, he says he realized that this was just the new way of doing things and was a direction he needed to consider for his own business.

“Years ago, I recognized that this is how this generation communicates. They don’t know what a yellow pages book is or anything of that nature,” said Fred Morison. “And so I said, we need to get to a position where we are communicating the way the next generation wants to communicate. And whether it’s quoting or getting renewals, or pink slips, we just needed to position ourselves or to build ourselves into a digital brokerage.”

After hiring consultants from Aviva’s Digital Garage to assist in forming a digital transformation plan, they began to implement their plans.

The digital transformation at Morison Insurance Brokers took a few different forms: hiring digital marketing experts, retooling their sales staff to thrive in a digital age, building digital tools for potential customers to apply for insurance policies through, and implementing a customer relationship management and lead management system.

And although the implementation of these digital-centric processes and tools does change the way of doing business – and adds a new layer for their employees to embrace – Jill Morison says that the essential traits they look for in new employees remains the same, but it does require individuals who are open to change and learning new skills.

“A lot of the skills that are required are the same skills that have always been required of a broker,” said Jill Morison. “When you’re looking for people who want to be involved in the digital part of it, you look for folks who have a desire to be involved in something that’s new, something that moving forward quickly. It brings a new aspect to the hiring process and the interview, but a lot of those other skills still remain and they’re vital. You still have to be a very good broker.”

The results shortly after the transformation made one thing very clear – all this effort was worth it.

Morison employees were able to respond to online customers within 10 minutes during business hours, a whopping 2,100 per cent improvement over the year prior. The number of policies sold jumped by nearly 19 per cent, representing a 12.5 per cent increase in revenue.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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