Digital insurance information vs. personal advice.
Digitalisation has also arrived in the Swiss insurance market. More and more insurers, insurtechs and start-ups are offering the conclusion of various insurance services online or are developing new insurance products and platforms.
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Unlike classic insurance advisors, who advise customers in detail in person and provide all the necessary information, online providers make the necessary knowledge available digitally. But can digital information replace classic insurance advice and is it sufficient? Or is it always necessary to have a personal consultation?
This article is a guest contribution from easyinsured.ch.
easyinsured.ch, a brand of JC Insurance Brokers GmbH, is a pioneer in the digitalisation of the Swiss insurance market and sees itself as the insurance guide. Over time, the first and now largest YouTube insurance channel in Switzerland has evolved into an insurance platform that provides interested parties with news, videos and blogs on the topics of insurance and finance. Services such as personal insurance advice or the conclusion of various insurance products are offered either digitally or in person at the offices in Basel. By the way: With the code EASY21, which you can enter after registration, you will receive CH 50 back as soon as you have paid your first premium.
Personal insurance advice vs. digital information
Everyone can get independent information on all kinds of topics online and digitally. This also applies to some insurance policies, which no longer necessarily require personal advice. However, if things get more complex, advice from a professional is still recommended.
Image source: Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash & Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash (Collage)
Digital insurance information
Digital insurance providers primarily want to eliminate the negative aspects of traditional insurers and make insurance products simpler and less bureaucratic. There is no personal consultation as standard. Instead, all information is provided online and supplemented by various online calculators, which then calculate the individual risk and individual needs.
Detailed information on the respective products, services and terms and conditions is published on the websites and platforms and the most frequently asked questions are answered. Very individual questions, for example about one's own life situation, are sometimes not answered on the website. However, most providers can be contacted via e-mail, contact form or telephone.
Advantages of digital insurance and insurance information:
● Detailed information specifically about a product
● No upselling
● The information is presented in a way that is easy for everyone to understand.
● You can get specific information on your questions
● The information can be accessed at any time via the Internet.
● You can contact support if you have specific questions.
● There are already answers to the most frequently asked questions of customers.
Disadvantages of digital insurance and insurance information:
● Very specific questions and life constellations require contact with customer support or an advisor.
Personal advice from an insurance broker can be far more individualised, as the advisor does not only inform you about one product, but has several options in the portfolio. In addition, individual requirements for your own life circumstances can be better discussed and additional risks can be indicated straight away. If you do not decide to take out a policy straight away, you will receive a printed copy of the information at home and can read it again at any time. However, the insurance documents of the insurers are often less comprehensible and there is sometimes a lot of small print.
Advantages of personal advice from an insurance broker:
● more individual advice and inclusion of your own life circumstances
● a wider range of products
● recommended especially for special insurance policies that contain many variables.
Disadvantages of personal consultation with an insurance advisor:
● not available at all times due to opening hours
● several products from different insurers may make the choice more complicated in the end
● Upselling possible
Tip: Inform yourself about all insurance products
Regardless of whether you ultimately decide on a digital or a traditional insurance product: Especially when it comes to insurance, you should always inform yourself independently online in advance. To do this, you should not only research the benefits of the desired insurance, what exclusion criteria there are or how high the monthly rate will be, but also clarify your individual needs.
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Do I really need this insurance? Not every insurance policy makes sense for everyone. Therefore, find out in advance whether you need this or that insurance at all. Some providers already indicate in the registration process that there is no need. However, you should not rely on this.
Are there providers with a better price-performance ratio? There are many insurers and providers on the market who seem to offer a similar product. The devil is usually in the detail here and not all inclusive services are actually needed. In any case, look around at several providers and choose the package that suits you best.
What experiences have others already had with the insurance? Are they satisfied or are there always problems with claims? The website can look so stylish and the product can fit your needs perfectly: If the reviews of other customers are predominantly bad, the customer support is unfriendly or benefits are paid out very late in the event of a claim, you should probably look for another provider.
Is there still a need for personal insurance advice?
Some insurance policies are so standardised nowadays that there is no need for personal advice and the online information provided by the providers is more than sufficient. These insurances include, for example, household insurance, pure life insurance (term life insurance) or car insurance.
On the other hand, insurance policies are offered that are so complex and individual that you should always seek personal advice. Often, a risk analysis, a health analysis or the assessment of the current status is necessary, which no software or algorithm can determine.
Personal advice: Can you blindly trust an insurance advisor?
The good news first: In most cases, your insurance advisor will strive to get the best possible result for you and not sell you unnecessary products. To this end, he or she will discuss with you exactly which insurances are necessary and which you can do without. An insurance broker receives his salary in the form of a brokerage fee for the insurance policies he sells. If you are not satisfied or if unnecessary insurances were sold to you, he has to pay back his earnings to the insurance companies.
But: As in all other industries, there are some brokers who put their own income above the well-being of their clients. That means they sell you more expensive or unnecessary products that you don't need in the end.
Regardless of whether you choose a product online or at an insurance broker, it never hurts to find out about your own needs and the various offers beforehand.
Caveat emptor: May the buyer beware
In the Roman Empire, the motto was: "Let the buyer beware! ". If a product was bought and defects appeared later, the buyer could not make a claim. Fortunately, this principle no longer applies in trade today, but consumers should still pay attention to it when it comes to insurance solutions.
Especially when it comes to possible benefits, potential customers must inform themselves very carefully. If there are questions or ambiguities, they should be asked in order to weigh up all the options and not be left with the costs in the end.
An example: You compare various providers of household insurance, inform yourself conscientiously and check the benefits. Since the offers differ only minimally from each other, you decide on the cheapest provider. However, this provider excludes bicycle theft from its benefits. You have overlooked this important paragraph, but remember that all other providers include this service.
Your bicycle is stolen and you want to claim the damage from the insurance company. The insurance company will reject the claim because bicycle theft is explicitly excluded in the contract conditions, even though it is included in all other insurance policies.
Conclusion: Personal advice or digital information?
There are more and more simpler insurance products and platforms on the market. The providers make all the information available on the websites and interested parties can quickly get an overview of prices, services and terms and conditions. Many insurance policies are so standardised and common knowledge nowadays that it is absolutely sufficient to find out about them online and on your own. For example, with pure life insurance (term life insurance), household insurance or car insurance, there is no longer necessarily a need for personal advice. Even for special and individual life constellations, support can be contacted and a solution found.
On the other hand, there are insurance policies that need to be so complex and individualised that an insurance consultation becomes necessary to understand and incorporate all the variables.
Regardless of whether the advice is given digitally or in person, comprehensive and independent research should be carried out. This creates, firstly, an overview of the market and what services are needed themselves and what requirements are placed on the future insurance.