The future. How do we get there? What will it look like? Will agents and carriers be able to succeed?—important questions that require our consideration today. Moving forward, it appears that consumer experience will reign in importance for insurers, and the industry is starting to recognize that consumers today have many choices, and a bad experience for them is unacceptable.
Luckily, as society is changing in demographics and diversity, agents and carriers have many new tools they can use to better understand our target audience. We can use social networking to reach out to today’s consumer. We can use metrics and business intelligence to target and personalize interactions, as we offer choice and better value. Consumers use social media to communicate, connect and engage with peers and respected partners. We should use our tools to be relevant and mobile-friendly. We must provide interactive and pertinent information and access for our clients.
Most importantly, we need to make an effort to stay in tune with what consumers worry about so we can provide them with solutions and choices for their coverages. As an industry, agents and carriers must work together to streamline our systems to ensure that we are able to meet the demands of tomorrow’s consumer. This requires us to be able to respond quickly, accurately and cost-effectively.
The insurance industry should take what we are currently doing in terms of consumer-experience to the next level: We must provide an enthralling experience for our clients; we must work together to be accessible where consumers are, whether that is in cyberspace or in their local communities; we must be known as an industry that helps people protect what they own and how they live; we must 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 must try to be a part of their lives and provide them with advice and coverages, as their needs change, throughout their entire life-cycle; and we must provide competitively priced products that compel clients’ loyalty, which is very rare in today’s fast-paced business world.
At the end of the day, Insurance is a complex contract that must be facilitated by agents, who take 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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