Why Insurance Agents’ Next 10 Years Will Destroy The Last 10
Future projections can always be a source of concern among those content with the status quo. But changes are natural to life and business, and nowhere is that truer than in the insurance field, particularly as it pertains to insurance agents. But don’t get too attached to the “good ol’ days,” because the future is a pretty jazzy place to be with the right mindset. That said, here are several reasons why the next 10 years for agents will crush the last 10.
First up, technology automation tools are making it easier to handle mundane tasks and focus on the core principles of your business.
We’ve talked about outsourcing the tasks that take your focus off the customer. To piggyback on that, there are a slew of applications that can handle the more mundane, though still necessary, actions that your business has to take. Database software can give you everything you need to know about your customers at a moment’s glance, thus preparing you to get more out of your interactions. Payment processing software can negate the need to file and keep up with paper sales slips. In other words, even if you can’t afford to outsource, you CAN use technology to either partially or fully automate certain parts of your business.
Secondly, the confusion is over, and you know more about how customers use technology when shopping for insurance.
There are still many people out there jumping to conclusions about where the independent insurance agent has a place in the digital age, but all the research out there — which we’ve talked about extensibly in previous postings — reveal that customers have strongly and steadily preferred to deal with an agent. They like using sites like ours to shop for the lowest price, and they hope for an insurance company with an omni-channel presence online for communication purposes, but when it comes to closing the deal, they trust you over all of that and their own judgment.
Thirdly, the need to adapt will separate the winners from the losers. And the winners can win big.
The Internet has forced insurance agents to adapt their business practices, no doubt of that! Inevitably, agents who are upset about having to adapt with the times will lose out, and while it’s unfortunate that these folks could be losing a way of life as a result, they’re leaving many opportunities open for those of you who ARE willing to adapt to both marketing and communication practices as well as outreach to the customer. If you want to be in the winner camp, commit to continuing your education. Learn the technologies, the laws, the customer behaviors, and any other attribute that is important for doing your job in the 21st Century. If you’re always learning, you’re leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
Fourthly, big data will make it easier to fill clients’ individual needs.
Before “big data” arrived, insurance agents were limited in the amount of data they could extract to sell to their existing customers and in their abilities to learn more about which new clients they should be courting. But with technology making it so easy to crunch and filter data, you can learn a lot more about your client than their gender, age, and occupation. According to an article from Business Insurance and a PwC report from 2012, examples of big data use for the agent might include the following: “a commercial fleet insurer may use actual data derived from telematic devices implanted in vehicles to underwrite a policy and set rates (BI),” and “Carriers may no longer need to compete on price; they instead may be able to assess the risk of individual customers based on their actual behaviors (PwC).”
The PwC report also notes that “commercial insurance increasingly will be able to focus on providing customized, flexible products and value-added services that involve working with the clients to proactively avoid or reduce losses and manage risks.’”
Being apprehensive about the future is natural. (Have you noticed that almost EVERY movie about the future takes place in a post-apocalyptic landscape?) But the reality is that with change comes opportunity, and for the independent insurance agent, we think the future will be a pretty great place to be. Where are some areas where you see opportunity in the next 10 years?