Sara Fardon, managing director of Willis Towers Watson Networks looks at the scope for robotics in insurance 

Are you changing your business to allow clients to self-serve, to allow them to peruse their portfolio on line, to allow them to contact you when they wish? Do you have a client app and a portal? Are you demanding your client facing staff be professionally qualified, competent advisors and able to engage with clients on their business issues and offer comprehensive risk advice?

Many brokers say “no” to most questions above, and research indicates brokers often miss the opportunity to turn a relationship from a “transaction enabler” into a “risk advisor” one.

The call to action to the broking industry is to work to move our future focus from that of broker, to one of risk advisor, using insight, specialism and expertise to provide greater support to clients across their whole business.

At our International Forum, I spoke with Network Members about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The scale, diversity and impact of this revolution is unprecedented. So whilst a robot may not be sitting at your desk in the near future – the streamlining of systems and process, smart applications and smart ways of working does mean skillsets within your teams may need to radically change.

At Willis Towers Watson we seek to support our Network Members on this journey.

How useful is it that you can speak knowledgeably on the impact driverless technology may have on your clients business? How useful is it that you can explain how world events, weather events, global trends affect the strategies of insurers which in turn may feed through to have an impact on your clients business? How useful is it that you can speak with knowledge and authority to your client about industry issues relevant to them?

The reality is that engaging with clients in this manner is useful, but it is time consuming, difficult and challenging to have to do all of these things and do them well. We are overwhelmed with data and information, so someone has to make sense of it all before we speak with clients.

This is where Willis Towers Watson comes into its own. We share our:

- information on industries,

- ways of working, and,

- knowledge and skills.

We help build specialist sales strategies and we put hot topics in front of our Network Members that other brokers will not easily have access to.

A client, speaking to someone who relates well to them, who speaks their language and knows their industry will open up more and will engage more. In turn, this approach will deliver greater client value, more easily and for longer.

Heraclitus in around 500 B.C. coined the phrase “the only thing constant is change”. Today pace is measured in nano-seconds and the phrase “disruptor” is considered positive. It is those who embrace change and recognise there is support they can rely on, who will maximise the opportunities presented to them. There will be a time when we find ourselves in the Fifth Industrial Revolution. I would bet Insurance Brokers will still be needed then, but the roles we will undertake may look a lot different to the ones we undertake today.

If you would like to know more about Willis Towers Watson Networks, and find out about how we help our Network Members win business then view more at