I recently had the honor of moderating a panel of young agents at the ACORD Implementation Forum who have just started working in the insurance industry. Their observations on what is good and bad In the industry from their perspective were quite insightful.
There was consensus among the young agents that the insurance industry is a great place for their careers. They find the industry interesting, profitable, flexible for their lifestyles, and filled with dynamic mentors. Millennials are attracted to a career where they feel that that they can make a contribution and help people, and this is precisely what the insurance industry offers. Our industry is one that offers a wide variety of job opportunities including sales, technology, finance and entrepreneurship. Many young people seek careers that allow them to live where they choose and take an active role in a community. The insurance industry has much to offer young agents, and we desperately need them to join our ranks, as our industry is aging rapidly, and we need to groom our successors.
When asked what the young agents would like to see the industry do over the next 12 months, the answers were quite valid. First, they believe that the industry is doing a disservice to consumers by using advertising to create the image that insurance is a commodity, when in fact, it is a complicated contract that requires an agent to customize and explain. The young agents suggested that the industry embark on a consumer education effort to inform them about the value of agents and how to better understand their risks and coverage needs.
The young agents also commended the industry for working diligently to automate data transmissions using ACORD standards. They further encouraged the industry to devote more effort to consumer-facing applications and allow for more mobility for agents. For new agents starting out in our industry, the panelists expressed frustration at the extreme learning curve upon entering the industry, and they articulated the need for good internships, training and mentoring programs that will help them to succeed. They also recognized the value of participating in industry initiatives such as ACT and AUGIE , and the need for agents and carriers and vendors to work together to develop better solutions for our industry needs.
The energy and enthusiasm of these new agents was delightful and encouraging to the veteran agents attending the Conference. Young agents are critical to the future of the insurance industry, and they bring new skills and perspectives on how to attract and sell to today’s consumers—welcome aboard.
Angelyn Treutel is President of Southgroup Insurance and the chair of the IIABA Agents Council for Technology and ASCnet's Industry Solutions Committee.
Readers are encouraged to respond to Angelyn by using the “Add Your Comments” box below. She can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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