As Bob Dylan so wisely wrote, the times, they are a-changin’. While that statement was made over 50 years ago, it continues to be relevant. The most notable catalyst for these changes? Technology.
It’s doubtful that even creative dreamers like Dylan could have foreseen a world in which we keep miniature supercomputers glued to our hands with instant access to an endless pool of knowledge, products, and entertainment. It is a brave new world, and those of us who have grown up in these strange times have become accustomed to constantly adapting to the latest and greatest that technology has to offer.
While some industries have been slower to catch up than others, the introduction of a younger, more tech-savvy demographic to the marketplace has put pressure on many to re-evaluate the way they do business. The world of insurance is no exception. We sat down with a few agents of varying ages to anonymously share their thoughts, concerns, and experiences regarding incorporating technology into their existing practice.
Change Happens Fast
In any discussion of “then vs. now,” a common theme is often just how fast things have transformed. As one agent noted, “Even a few years ago, most carriers still required certain documents to be filled out by hand, faxed, or mailed.” This same agent also noted that the insurance industry has been slow to catch up to the tech boom, only now beginning to see the value in going paperless with many carriers offering electronic applications and digital signature options.
However, as younger agents begin to grow their practices and newer demographics enter the marketplace, the pressure to adapt to a tech-savvy user base has proven a struggle for larger, more established companies who can’t pivot as quickly as newer, smaller start-ups can. Even with the current advances, the insurance industry is falling short when it comes to integrating technology into client communication and interaction. There are, however, many solutions advisors can source on their own, and they should take the time to educate themselves on the many different platforms, apps, and software available. If you’re one of these advisors, we can almost guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
Take the First Step
When you’ve done things the same way for a long time, it can often be too overwhelming to try to reevaluate and, consequently, update everything at once. When asked about what advice they would offer to fellow insurance agents looking to update their practices, all of our interviewees were in agreement: Start small. Whether it's committing to going fully paperless or hiring a web designer to revamp your site, the immediate and lasting impact of even one change is likely to inspire you to take your business relationship with technology to the next level.
Put Your Client First
Several of the agents we spoke with emphasized the importance of incorporating technology to help improve the efficiency, privacy, and security of client information and communication. They mentioned using client portals to provide a good experience while keeping client information secure.
Incorporate Technology for a Wide Audience
Think beyond your current clients when evaluating different technology options. Think about “soon-to-be” clients – and, better yet, think about the needs of your clients’ families; what will they need, and what will help them? Even if you work with more mature clients, many of them have embraced technology to communicate with their children and grandchildren.
And don’t forget, your goal is to work with your clients’ families long after your client is gone. It’s safe to assume the younger generations will not only embrace technology but expect it.
Use Technology as a Differentiator
There are many ways How Insurtech can differentiate insurance advisors, such as integrating video conferencing like Zoom in lieu of in-person meetings or providing digital storage and communications platforms like LegacyShield. For many clients, especially Millennials and Gen-Xers, mentioning the technology you use in your practice to help facilitate effortless, paperless business dealings will gain you major brownie points. Continuing to introduce newer, faster, and smoother methodologies into your practice can not only help you keep your current client base but also help attract the clients of the future.