💬 Tell us in the comments: where do you think the future of insurance agents is headed?
Back in 2013, I wrote this article about whether or not insurance agents are really necessary in today’s world.
It's 2022 now, and the industry had changed significantly.
I’d like to look at this with a fresh, modern perspective and tell you where I think the future of insurance agents is headed.
We already know that the insurance industry has started diving into the online space. You’ve got online insurance quotes, chatbots, and you can even purchase your insurance policy without ever speaking to a human being.
That leaves all of us wondering: Are insurance agents really necessary?
Here’s the real dilemma. Insurance companies and consumers are always searching for ways to save money. In their eyes, agents can seem like an unnecessary expense.
Why should the insurance company give up commission to an agent if the consumer can get a quote online?
Why would a consumer need an agent when everything they need is right there on the web? After all, agents are driving up the cost of insurance due to their commissions, right?
To both parties, cutting out agents can seem like a cost-effective idea.
Problems Consumers Will Face
The fact of the matter is that if agents are eliminated, the consumer will face an array of problems.
- Who do they talk to about insurance questions?
- How do they know they have the right kind of insurance?
- Who do they talk with to make sure they have enough coverage?
- Who advocates for the consumer when an insurance company denies a claim?
- Who helps the consumer make changes as life changes?
And the answer to all of these questions is an agent!
Sure, you can go online and get a quote, chat with a robot, and make a purchase, but an agent is so much more than that.
An agent isn’t just a sales rep – an agent is the consumer’s partner. An agent makes sure the consumer has the right coverage, the right policy terms, and the right price.
The agent takes the time to understand what the consumer needs and matches them with the right insurance company.
And beyond that, an agent gives that personal touch that no online or digital experience can. In a world where 1 in 4 seniors is socially isolated, a connection with an insurance agent can make all the difference.
Online Quotes? Not So Great
While online quotes are nice, the reality is that they aren’t all they’re cut out to be.
- The price consumers pay online is often the same or higher than what they can get through an agent.
- Insurance companies only offer a limited number of products through online quote systems.
- Consumers often think they are getting the right coverage online but find themselves without coverage when making a claim.
One of our top agents had a lawyer for a client that could not make sense of Medicare Part D. He may have been the smartest lawyer on the block, but insurance coverage takes time and skill to master. You also have to stay updated as rules and regs change constantly.
Many smart consumers are starting to realize the limitations and pitfalls of using online quote systems to buy insurance.
What About Human Interaction?
And the most important part of this whole equation is that humans like to deal with humans! You’ll find that most consumers want to interact with another human when making an important purchase.
Ordering something off of Amazon? No problem.
But making a huge financial decision that will impact the rest of your retirement? I think people want to make that decision with the help of another person.
And if you think about it, when was the last time you kept pressing 0 trying to get to a human being?
Agents Are Here to Stay
I don't see insurance agents going anywhere anytime soon. Agents remain relevant to both insurance companies and to consumers.
They make a huge difference for both sides:
- Agents help clients choose the plans that fit their needs.
- Agents are aware of more products than consumers are.
- Independent agents shop several companies and come back with the best prices.
- Agents can assess and assist with consumer risk management.
- Insurance agents can look at unique situations and come up with the appropriate coverage options.
- Agents help with customer service and claims.
- Agents are able to identify trends and upcoming rate increases.
- Agents offer a range of products so as consumer needs change, their insurance can change with them.
If you’re an independent agent, you can probably name a dozen other things you do for your clients that an online quoting system could never do.
You know the value that you offer to your clients. Never let an insurance company or an uninformed consumer tell you otherwise.
Insurance is changing rapidly – I know that when Jeff and I first got into the industry, we never saw a world where we didn’t knock on doors and do the kitchen table close. But there’s still that human desire to have an interaction with another person, and the value you provide can’t be replicated by the digital world.
Now is the time to look at expanding your products and services. Branching out to offer more products means that you will attract new clients while further enhancing your current customer service.
People don’t want five different agents for each type of insurance they have. If you can be a full-service agent, that’s just one more way that you can make sure your job is secure.
Look for a field marketing organization that offers the best deal for you, as an agent, and for your clients.