Financial services and medical insurance organisations have become more environmentally friendly, customer-centric and digitally smart as the Covid effect has continued.

In March 2020 we were thrust into a new era where social distancing, masks and lockdown became a new norm for society. Companies were forced to use applications such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, including other new digital processes, just to stay afloat.

Tony Singleton, CEO at Turnberry Management Risk Solutions, says: “During the national lockdown, and even now, something as simple as a paper application form needed to be replaced with a customer-friendly digital application, as many members did not have access to a printer and scanner at home. Clients often make use of the camera facility on their cellphones to forward key documents to various business partners as well.”

Singleton adds that even call centres needed to be mobilised to allow employees to work from home.

Prior to lockdown Turnberry printed most of its documents and forms as part of its administration and claims processing. These processes were then replaced with digital procedures that allowed the company to increase its automated digital communication to clients.

“This had a resoundingly positive effect on our turnaround times. We had fewer telephonic enquiries from clients, which meant that our staff could spend more of their time productively. Ultimately, it also reduced overall turnaround times,” he says.

So, a key point to take away from Covid-19 is not how organisations needed to adapt, but how the adaptations have improved productivity of staff. Moreover, for many companies this reduced cost also enriched the lives of staff members. It has ensured that more time can be spent on the customer experience, thereby ensuring customer satisfaction.

Singleton explains: “In the gap cover industry it is crucial to understand our customer needs and to try always to meet them to the best of our ability. Remember, we are constantly dealing with claims that result from medical expense shortfalls and these claims are a direct result from an often-unwanted illness or accident. We therefore need to ensure we meet the requirements from a communication perspective to ensure our clients are always in the know. Therefore, we have had to adapt to our ever-changing environment and ensure we are digitally savvy for them.”

A simple example is a Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting, which ensures lines of communication with the company and financial advisor are open. But, on the other hand, it is also beneficial in that it decreases the travelling costs of a staff member attending a meeting in a different province or country. From an employee standpoint, working from home has potentially saved both time and money.

“The need to change has shown us that spending 45 minutes travelling to attend to an hour-long meeting and then spending another 45 minutes travelling back to the office is counterproductive. However, we also understand the need to meet face-to-face when appropriate,” Singleton points out.

There is no way to know when the Covid threat will subside, but one silver lining from the pandemic is that it has taught us how to conduct business more productively, while minimising our environmental footprint.

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