What if you had to choose between your smart phone and your insurance (any and all insurance)? You couldn't have both. Think about it for a moment. Which would you choose?
Obviously a ridiculous question. But it does illustrate the critical importance of being insured. Almost everyone who owns a smart phone also buys and/or benefits from some form of insurance. That's huge market demand.
At the same time, the smart phone has raised consumer expectations related to how technology should be used in the delivery of insurance services. They buy insurance because they want their claims paid. But they expect that the best carriers and agencies will provide concierge service which increasingly includes using an online client service portal.
IBAMAG.com recently reported that in third quarter 2016, $167 million in venture capital was invested into insurance technology companies. Most of that money targeting "distribution." Yes, money focused on ways to meet and serve the consumer online, takeover commissions, and eliminate insurance agents.
Early disrupters (Zenefits, Google Compare, etc.) served up technology as the shiny object in a cumbersome insurance world only to discover that insurance without specialized coverage expertise, high-level claims advocacy and a trusted, professional relationship, either doesn't work or is a ticking time bomb.
The smart money is in technology that empowers
agents rather than eliminating them. It's technology that supports and aligns with a new generation of insurance professional. The outcome won't be "winner takes all" but rather multiple solutions working together. Fortunately, there are tech firms out there right now creating these agent empowerment solutions.
If you're in insurance, don't give up your day job. Investors and tech companies will soon realize that "professional insurance expertise" is not just another way of saying "customer service."
Build your techno-insurance muscles. Go after a professional designation, deepen your carrier relationships, and become technology-empowered. Insurance agents who can leverage the cyber world to produce or manage large books of revenue will have the financial advantage. Innovate. Reinvent the work yourself.
We live in an ever-evolving, risk-complicated world. When consumers have an insurance problem, they fear that a good solution doesn't exist... but then it does, because a skilled, knowledgeable and tech-savvy insurance agent somewhere brought it into existence...an insurance ninja!
Lynne Wallace is the CEO and president of VANTREO Insurance Brokerage and co-founder of NDOI, the National Directory of Insurance.
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