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Is it possible to get insurance advice in times of social distancing?

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Digitalization makes it possible: AXA customers are now able to seek advice via video. We asked Dominique Antenen from the AXA general agency in Biel about the response to this new offer in day-to-day business.

Video consultations are already an integral part of a normal workday for the AXA general agency in Biel. This doesn't come as a surprise as the agency was already a digitalization pioneer prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

We met insurance advisor Dominique Antenen from Biel in a personal interview – naturally via video.

Dominique, how did you react when you found out that all AXA agencies were to be shut down temporarily?

While it was a strange feeling not being able to work with my team in the office, it also came as a relief. We had been plagued by uncertainty in the weeks running up to the Federal Council's decision. The lockdown was actually liberating as it was now clear that we would have to reorganize our daily operations. Meeting with our customers in person was immediately no longer permitted. It was obvious that AXA would introduce video consultations across the board, because providing advice by means of a video call that is unrestricted by location is the closest you can get to a personal meeting. Our agency had already been making a great deal of use of digital channels prior to the lockdown, advising our customers via chat or phone, with most advisors having already attended special video consultation courses. So we could get started right away.

How does a video consultation work and how do I as a customer have to prepare for it?

Customers can request an advisory session with us via video. They then receive all the details they need about the video consultation in an e-mail. The session usually takes place via Skype. We send out meeting notes in advance, sometimes accompanied by an application, which we can go through with them during the call. We set aside at least 45 minutes for a consultation to make sure we have sufficient time to determine the customer's needs and address any personal concerns they may have.

Advisory sessions via video had already been introduced before the advent of the coronavirus – they have now just been assigned more importance.

Dominique Antenen, AXA advisor

What are the advantages of a video consultation?

We were surprised: in terms of advisory quality, video telephony is very much able to hold its own with a personal meeting. During a video consultation, the customer can always follow what I am explaining at any time because they are able to see my desktop or whiteboard. They can keep track of each step of the entire advisory session while taking in everything visually. You generally get to the point more rapidly as there is an absence of the small talk that you generally engage in when meeting in the office. Some people like this, some don't. 

  • Teaser Image
    Dominique Antenen

    He is the Head of Sales at the general agency in Biel/Bienne. Alongside being an insurance advisor, he is a real advocate of the agency's digitalization and keeps everyone up to date on its progress – generally via video.

    More about the general agency in Biel/Bienne

What has been your experience of video consultations?

I have found that you can take even more time for the consultation and that you speak more slowly. You want to simply be sure that the customer has really understood everything. Another advantage is the technical side: everyone taking part in a video consultation has the same documents at hand and can share them with each other via chat. It is also possible to arrange an appointment more spontaneously this way as neither party has to allow for travel time and can simply call back if they have any questions. The video consultation is more efficient for some people, while others miss the personal exchange with their advisor – the new tool will never be able to completely replace personal contact. 

Video consultation – here's how it works:

1.    Arrange an advisory session via the following page: Video consultation.

2.    You will then receive an invitation to the video consultation via e-mail containing all the links and information you will need.

3.    Just before the appointment is scheduled to start, click on the link in the e-mail. You are now ready to go.

How have customers reacted to the new service?

Some were a little skeptical at the onset because they had never taken part in a video consultation and were not familiar with the technology behind it. A lot of customers didn't like the fact that we could see their face or their home. But there is a really simple and efficient solution to this problem: we either share only our desktop or they only see the advisor. Most people are happy with this solution, and we have received a lot of positive feedback.

Will video consultations continue to take place after the coronavirus pandemic?

Absolutely. Advisory sessions via video had already been introduced before the advent of the coronavirus – they have now just been assigned more importance. Customers like to make use of this option, which is a good alternative to a personal meeting – and it offers more possibilities than a normal telephone consultation. We would like to continue to offer our customers a range of ways of contacting us. 

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