Founder and CEO of SmartFinancial.com: on a mission to make the insurance buying process more efficient.
It used to be that if you asked someone who they’re insured with, they’d give you their insurance agent’s name. Billions of dollars in advertising later, people now name their carrier and barely remember the agent that signed them on. Meanwhile, the brick and mortar agencies are waning in importance, and companies like Nationwide are moving to a virtual workforce model. In my role as a CEO overseeing an insurance-technology platform, I’ve observed one thing that remains the same despite all the confusing shifts over the past few decades: Insurance agents are still the primary sales channel for insurers.
Even though carriers can communicate directly with consumers at a lower cost, insurance agents who bring profitable business to carriers are a valued and integral part of the insurance distribution chain. Here’s how future trends will likely shape the carrier-agent-customer relationship and what carriers can do to stay ahead of the curve.
1. Support agents in their role as advisers.
We see a future where insurance agents become more specialized in various niche insurance products. Agents will bring more value to the relationship with the customer by understanding and explaining coverage options on more complex policies. The agent’s role will also become much more of an advisory role that goes beyond the traditional aim of selling insurance products. Because agents are on the front lines serving customers, they will be expected to demonstrate expertise, not only about the insurance products they sell, but also the many ancillary services that insurance carriers are increasingly offering to add value to their insurance products. Car loans, home loans, cybersecurity prevention and other services will become standard package offerings. And someone has to service them. That’s why it’s