Read the works of some fans of digital disruption of the insurance industry and with care you can spot the difference between motivations. Some of the best commentators are genuine fans of digital capability, and tend to see it as a tool of customers, advisers, and insurers - not always all three at once, but they can imagine applications for all. They recognise that digital will create disruption, but they also know enough about the market to understand that there are reasons why different channels exist. Heck, if direct were the solution to everything - why is direct as a channel so small? Genuine fans of digital are unafraid to ask such questions and ponder the answers. The answers provide more insight into the market. They are interested in digital either because they have a technical background, or because they have seen initial digital offerings and are excited about their potential.
But mixed in among this herd is another fan of digital. They are less attracted by the new, than running away from the old. Theirs is a love of convenience because their real motivation isn't attraction at all. They just don't like advisers. Maybe they dislike the commission model. Maybe they had a bad experience with an adviser once. Whatever the reason they assume that some bad advisers means all advisers are bad. They ignore the complexity of advice which requires that some customers will always seek out a good adviser, and they looked around for another way. For them, digital is a way around the adviser channel, it is a marriage of convenience.
My preferred view of digital is as a tool, a new and powerful tool, which could be deployed in a number of ways to enhance the interactions between different groups in the market. I am interested in all channels, but recently I am very excited about adviser applications - partly because of my interest in Quotemonster, and the power that a research engine, a rules engine, and the creativity of advisers can combine to deliver.
There are so many good ways to use digital in adviser businesses, from ways to identify life events and situations which require advice online, cutting the time required to gather data, the efficiency of shared records, to the speed of online meetings, and the high bandwidth connection between adviser and client it enables.