Where No Agent Has Gone Before
Insurance Experts' Forum, June 3, 2013
The future. How do we get there? What will it look like? Will agents and carriers be able to succeed together? These are important questions that require immediate consideration. As we move toward the future, the insurance industry is recognizing the importance of focusing on the consumer experience. Consumers today have many choices — a bad experience for them is unacceptable.
With today’s technology, agents and carriers have many tools that help them better understand target audiences as society's demographics continue to transform: We can use social networking to reach out to consumers, and metrics and business intelligence to target and personalize interactions as we offer increasingly customized choices and better values. We must learn by listening to consumers — and the data they produce — to identify the products and services they need and want.
Consumers use social media to communicate with peers and respected partners; insurers must provide interactive, pertinent information to become relevant and mobile-friendly entities within their online social spheres. If we make the effort to stay in tune with what consumers worry about, we can provide them with peace of mind and choices for their coverages. In order to do that, as an industry, we must be able to respond quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. Therefore, agents and carriers must work together to streamline systems to ensure that we are able to take insights and immediately turn them around to meet the demands of tomorrow’s consumer.
In short, the insurance industry should take what we are currently doing in terms of the customer experience, and take it to the next level. We must provide an enthralling experience for our clients. Agents and carriers need to work together to be accessible where consumers are, whether that is in cyberspace or in their local communities. We need to be known as an industry that helps people protect what they own and how they live. We need to understand changing demographics and ensure that we are taking steps to meet the upcoming needs for protection. We must make ourselves more valuable to our clients, so that they do not only think about us at the time of a claim. We should be part of their lives and provide them with advice and coverages, as their needs change, throughout their entire lifecycle. We must provide competitively priced products that compel clients’ loyalty, which is very rare in today’s fast-paced internet world. Insurance is a complex contract that is facilitated by an agent who takes the time and care to educate and advocate for consumers.
Angelyn Treutel, CPA, is president of Southgroup Insurance Gulf Coast and the chair of ASCnet's Industry Solutions Industry Initiatives Committee and the past-chair of the IIABA Agents Council for Technology.
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