Every year brings a changing industry for insurance agents. This is especially true in 2019. The population is dramatically changing, new technology is changing the day to day landscape of our lives, and even the ways that people work have been shaken up by changes in the economy, in the distribution of the population, and in what counts as a livable wage.
As insurance agents, we need to understand our customers’ needs in order to meet them with our products. If we can’t do that, then our sales will fall. These are the major trends we see in 2019 which insurance agents absolutely need to face.
Customers expect more and more from their conversations with companies, and insurance agents are no exception. For example, most businesses have a website that offers a “contact me” form, and a Facebook page that offers a “chat” option. Customers expect a quick response, and the old “someone is reviewing your question and will respond to you in 24-48 hours” isn’t enough anymore.
Customers want a quick response, and high-quality CRMs and other technology can automate many responses. For example, an incoming email can be scanned for certain keywords and generate an appropriate response. This can help turn browsers into leads – and the sales team can then follow up to find out more about what the customer is looking for.
Varying Customer Demographics
The world of insurance customers is changing, and changing fast. The overall American population is aging, and it’s becoming a lot less white. Different cultural backgrounds will demand different approaches to selling and maintaining insurance customers. Insurance agents will need to reevaluate what they offer and how they offer it, especially if they work in an area where the ethnic background of customers is changing.
Work with the customers you have already and find out what matters most to them. Make sure those options are being highlighted as you move forward. Diversifying your client base is crucial if you want your business to survive as the population continues to evolve.
Insurance agents are aging right along with the rest of Americans. Last year, Insurance Business Mag reported that 25% of agents were expected to retire in the coming years as they hit 60 years old. For agencies, that means starting to recruit young agents now. To replace such a huge chunk of the work force, agencies may need to get creative. They may need to be more direct with their recruitments and do a better job of selling the possibilities of insurance sales – especially since many Millennials view insurance as boring.
As America struggles to balance its employment situation – while unemployment numbers are falling, more and more people are making ends meet through the “gig” economy – insurance agents also need to adjust. Those who work on gigs, who go from one freelance job to another, probably don’t fit neatly into traditional commercial insurance. After all, they don’t have a fleet of cars to drive if they’re working with Uber, but traditional car insurance probably won’t cover their passengers or their passenger’s belongings.
Insurance agents can find more leads by helping these customers find insurance policies that balance their needs. Some agents have found success by selling personal-ish policies with additional riders that cover the extra needs of freelancers. Being flexible and creative as you go through policy needs with potential clients will go a long way towards offering them what they need.
Internet Of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) has opened up a whole new world of opportunity – and security risks. For example, many homeowners now use some kind of digital home surveillance product to help reduce the risk of theft or break in. They might get a discount on their home insurance because of the product. But products designed with poor security can increase the risk of attacks by hackers, increasing the risk of identity theft.
Insurance agents need to understand the new technology that is becoming more readily available. They need to be able to talk their customers through the potential rate discounts and increases that they might see.
Opportunities To Look For
As insurance agents head into 2019, the most important thing to remember is that we need to sell to our customers, and our customers are changing. In order to meet their needs, sell our products, and retain them as our clients, we need to understand how to evolve with them. This may mean recruiting new agents, or understanding new demographics, or embracing technology we’d previously managed to avoid.
We may also need to understand that policies we used to be able to sell without any real customization simply do not fit the needs of our newest clients, We need to be responsive and nimble as we work with our clients to find the right solutions for their needs.