The New Normal: 5 Trends Agents Are Adopting in Today’s Digital Age
May 9, 2021
Competitive insurance agencies should provide digital solutions
Accessing insurance sales seminars through weblinks. Reviewing client policies over video chat. Texting and accepting policy deliveries exclusively via email. Pre-pandemic, many insurance agents couldn’t imagine asking their clients to make these digital switches in the sales process.
For better or for worse, the pre-COVID insurance industry was standing on the edge of a digital technology cliff, and the pandemic has thrown it over the edge. Today, insurance agents are increasingly reliant on tech to help simplify and scale their businesses.
It’s not enough to just digitize existing processes, though. Computerizing a form and then making a client continue to fill each box—just like they would on paper—hardly transforms the sales-to-commission cycle. Instead, those looking for a competitive edge in recruiting and retaining top-selling agents in the insurance sector will want to invest in the following digital trends:
1. Customer experience
Insurance customers have more options than ever to cut traditional insurance agents out of the purchasing process. To stay competitive, good agents recognize they must act less like salespeople and more as guides in a comprehensive, white-glove experience that builds client loyalty.
Independent insurance agents’ interest in insurtech firms will only grow as they look for digital transformations that can help them break through the noise of policy shopping through:
- Personalization for the user experience
- Self-serve app options paired with a human help factor to meet a variety of customer needs
- Offering several lines of authority to be a “one-stop-shop” for clients
2. Security and transparency
Most insurance agents operate essentially as small business owners. Unfortunately, small businesses are also frequently targeted by hackers, a trend that has only risen in the past few years.
This, paired with growing consumer awareness of data use by tech giants, is driving agents to demand services that protect their data and their clients’ data while also providing transparency about how and by whom it is being used.
3. Data-driven sales
Still on the topic of data transparency, successful independent agents have been tracking their metrics for years. They can tell you the return on investment (ROI) for each event they hosted, each marketing strategy they tried, and each lead generation spend. Data-driven insurance sales have also factored into the rise of qualified lead generation services. By knowing and tracking their metrics, they know what has been tried and what is a waste of their marketing dollars; it’s how the best get better.
Beyond that, there’s any number of ways that apps and data analytics services can play a key role in the insurance companies of the future, and agents who hope to stay on the leading edge of the industry are looking to agencies and carriers that can leverage data for:
- Tracking marketing ROI
- Attracting qualified leads
- Vetting new opportunities
- Recruiting sub-agents
- Growing distribution channels
- Tracking customer satisfaction
4. Operational efficiency
Time is money, and in the insurance and financial industries that couldn’t be truer. Agents’ business ceiling is in many ways limited by how much time they can get in front of prospects. They are increasingly looking for ways to minimize operational costs and activities such as filling in forms, researching where to get continuing education hours, tracking down licensure renewals, etc.
Digital platforms here can:
- Free agents up for prospecting
- Lower operational staff needs—giving agents the ability to scale their business at a lower cost
- Drive a more efficient bottom line with fewer risks of human errors
- Give existing staff more time and attention to move the needle on white-glove services that retain and attract desirable clients
5. Remote options
Remote work, even post-pandemic, is set to continue its rise. Agents need tools that allow them to recruit and retain staff regardless of geography. As “location, location, location” becomes less relevant, agents are finding preferred clients, as well, may be outside of their residential state. For many, growing their distribution will be partially reliant on agency management systems and tools that make it easier to:
- Acquire and maintain licensure for multiple LOAs in different states
- Know and follow the regulations specific to each state
- Respond quickly to filing issues raised by states
- Have certainty about which carrier and agency appointments apply state-to-state
Digital technologies can align agencies for growth
In many ways, the normalization of remote options exacerbates all other digital trends, but having the right tools in place can mean maintaining compliance for staff and agents in multiple states, operating efficiently, leveraging data effectively, protecting privacy, and ultimately delivering a superb customer experience. Agencies that provide tools and solutions that position agents correctly will grow not just the agent’s distribution channels, but their own, as well.
The more solutions that can provide alignment between agents and their partners, the more streamlined and efficient every stakeholder in the distribution system can be.
For more ideas about how to leverage new technology to grow your distribution channel and that of your agents, check out a free demo of how AgentSync’s tools can help you with insurance agent licensure across multiple states.