Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing human experiences. Whether it’s personal interactions with smart devices or business transactions through chat bots or virtual assistants, consumers are becoming ever more tech savvy. These changes are having a big impact on the independent insurance agent channel.
In order to remain competitive in the world of digital convenience shopping, more and more insurance agencies are adopting technology solutions that will transition their client-focused insurance buying experiences to an online environment. Effectively, they’re creating digital faces to add to a highly personal experience.
But the transition doesn’t stop there, according to Jason Walker, managing partner of Smart Harbor, a technology solutions provider for insurance agencies. Smart Harbor has noticed a trend of insurance agencies using their new technology capabilities to transform their businesses into multi-disciplinary offices.
They’re no longer solely focused on selling insurance, Walker explained, but rather offering advice and solutions around all of their customers’ life events by tag-teaming with realtors, financial advisors, lawyers and so on.
“In the future, I think you’re going to see blurred lines whereby traditional independent agencies will become insurance agency come solutions providers,” Walker told Insurance Business. “Agencies will become more and more robust as local solutions providers for all life events of their customers.
“As consumers become much more dynamic, as product in the insurance space grows and as those ancillary insurance partners grow, the agency almost becomes a brand-new ecosystem – this multi-disciplinarian shop – where the agent uses technology and automation to provide a much more holistic service and more strategic advice through all of a customer’s life events.”
Broadening service and product lines will enable independent agents to grow alongside their consumers, which could lead to “greater stickiness” and more client retention over a longer period of time. A good place to start, according to Walker, is for agents to make the most of the wealth management services available through carrier partners, something he says not many agents have got onboard with yet.
“The more agencies leverage technology to drive a commoditized transaction, the more ability they will have to advise the consumer around the moments that matter,” he added. “I believe you’re going to see an evolution of the independent agency towards becoming a solutions provider to their customers in a way that bridges into ancillary products and service in a much more focused way.”