While it seems like technology can fill in the gaps, making it easier for people to sort out their own insurance, people actually need insurance agents and brokers more than ever, and the statistics tell the tale.
Employment Trends in the Insurance Industry
According to the Insurance Information Institute, "the insurance subindustry with the strongest employment gains in recent years is — not surprisingly—health and medical expense insurers, given the enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act."
However, their research released in fall 2019 also reveals a surprising trend in the agents and brokers category. While people have long called for this category to have lower employment numbers, it actually grew by over 9 percent in the past three years. Agents and brokers have not been replaced by new distribution methods. In fact, they are stronger than ever.
The Value of Well-Informed Service Providers
While no one knows exactly why the agents and brokers category is thriving in spite of the odds, it could be that in an age of information, too much information can simply be overwhelming. An insurance agent or broker assists people in sifting through their options, and this is an increasingly valuable service as more options become available. Insurance agents and brokers can help:
Assess clients' needs
Obtain quotes and seek out discounts
Provide advice about options and changes
Ensure fair handling of an individual's claims and options
A study in the Harvard Business Review examined the actions of anxious customers – those who may not feel like they have adequate knowledge to navigate whatever system they are in, whether this is health care or insurance.
What they found was that "anxious customers interacting through self-service technology feel dissatisfied with their decisions even when those decisions appear aligned with their goals… A simple, and surprisingly low-cost, change – offering access to a readily-available human – can reverse the negative effects of customer anxiety."
Providing Value to Your Clients
In an age of self-service technologies, insurance agents and brokers might seem retro or obsolete. However, what's retro can be "in" again, and insurance agents are increasingly realized as being valuable to their clients. As an insurance agency, it's up to you to articulate and reinforce your value to your customers. You can do this by:
Having a strong connection between your customer service and marketing teams, so that your marketing team is effectively answering the questions that your clients ask on a regular basis
Creating consistent, high-quality content on blogs, infographics, emails, and even paper brochures. Act as the explainer of the insurance industry, helping your clients navigate the often-complex world of insurance.
Staying up to date on insurance industry trends. For instance, if natural disasters are problematic in your area and people are worried about issues such as fire insurance, proactively create materials for them and answer their questions, so that they will continue to look to you for advice.
Are you ready for a thriving year at your insurance agency? Improve your insurance network and education and enjoy connecting with resources for your insurance agency. Become part of American Agents Alliance this year. Contact us today!