At Broker Age, Brent Rineck, CIO of ABD Insurance and Financial Services, Aon’s managing director of treaty reinsurance Chris Gallo, Joshua Rockoff from insurtech firm Omni:us, and Kevin Morreale, chief sales & marketing officer of American Modern Insurance Group participated in a panel on how brokers will stay relevant in a world inundated with new technologies.

One of the biggest themes that came out at the panel was how technology introduces efficiencies and adds value for the client. Rineck, for example, delved into the history of the ABD team, whose success—it’s only 6 years old yet one of the top 50 brokers in the U.S.—he ascribed to the fact they built their architecture from the ground up to streamline processes that were historically quite time consuming and improve the customer experience.

Rockoff, too, leaned into the theme of efficiency, describing how his company can transform unstructured data into structured data: “Instead of spending 30+ days getting the info in our back office systems, we can do it in a matter of minutes, allowing brokers to spend more time focusing on customers.”

However, most brokers, the panelists agreed, don’t want to change because there is no incentive. “Human beings are the killer app,” according to Gallo, especially in the large commercial space. “Aon can use tech and solutions to improve product for the consumer, but the human team will be there for the large transaction.” So if brokers still need that face-to-face contact, technology will play the support role.

Because, Rockoff said, “the purpose of technology is to give brokers tools so they don’t have to change. Technology allows brokers to become more efficient without having to completely rehaul the way they do business.” And efficiency is all the more important nowadays, when the idea that “time is money” is so pervasive. The role of the broker will not become irrelevant, but they can become irrelevant in terms of competition if they cannot add a competitive advantage by adopting enabling technologies.