Despite increasing consumer empowerment and proliferation of self-service platforms, insurance agents still play an important role in their clients’ lives.As technology overtakes more and more insurance tasks — from applications to claims settlements — insurance agents may wonder if they’re becoming irrelevant. If clients can submit auto claims with a few taps on an app, there’s seemingly much less of a need to reach out to a live agent.
With nimble insurtech startups and non-traditional competitors like Amazon also entering the picture, it’s no surprise that agents face an increasingly difficult battle to win over clients accustomed to on-demand, digital-first transactions. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple steps that insurance agents can take to remain relevant in an age of digital disruption. Here are four tips to help agents stand out in today’s rapidly evolving insurance marketplace.
Be Client Centric
While many of your clients and prospects may belong to the same demographic, each individual customer requires a different insurance solution. Since clients’ insurance needs change over time, as well, it’s important for agents to regularly meet with clients to address how to insure those new obligations. By frequently speaking with clients, insurance agents can uncover specific risks as they arise and offer products tailored to those potential liabilities. While an app instantly submits claims and applications, only an agent has the ability to understand a client’s unique circumstances through solid person-to-person communication.
An added benefit of focusing on clients’ needs is the opportunity to sell other products that they might require. In today’s on-demand retail world, agents with an extensive list of services build strong client relationships through convenience, and offering a wide array of insurance solutions can position an agent as a one-stop shop for any client or prospect. After all, why would somebody go to different professionals for different products when they can buy everything they need from one agent?
Insurance agents who excel in areas other than insurance have a chance to be seen as a trusted leader among an increasingly crowded field of agents — as well as the throng of shiny new digital startups. To help clients with comprehensive financial planning, for example, agents might want to consider earning a certified financial planner (CFP) designation or Chartered Financial Counselor credential. Similarly, agents can partner with estate attorneys, financial advisors, and tax professionals to shore up their operations. When clients need those specialized services, an agent can simply refer them to one of their partners, just as their partners will refer their clients to the insurance agent.
Practice Good Customer Service
Clients and prospects crave simple communication with their agents, often through online platforms such as chatbots and social media. Unsurprisingly, a robust, up-to-date digital presence is a necessity for today’s insurance agents. At the same time, clients also want agents to answer their pressing questions and concerns in a timely manner. Whether they send a text, comment on Facebook, or call the office, insurance agents must respond quickly and do what they promise to do to solve their problem. Even as insurance become more digitized, customer service matters.
Insurance agents don’t need to worry about being replaced by chatbots and other tech tools. These innovations are only there to assist agents. By practicing good customer service, being client-centric, and expanding their expertise and services, agents will always play an important role in their clients’ lives.