Maximizing the ‘Human Factor’

In today’s insurance marketplace, agencies face heavy competition from digital insurance channels as well as the Geico’s and Progressives of the world, which advertise lower prices and limited services and products for consumers to consider.

So what does the future look like for the thousands of captive and independent agents – proponents of human engagement who realize that all the digital insurance channels in the world can’t replace the human connection? Agents can enhance and build on their strengths to compete head-on with the rise of the competitive insurance channels. Those who provide personalized advice and advocacy when it’s needed most represent the great upside and the future of the agency channel.

Why Human Contact Still Matters

Bain & Company’s research shows that the agency/agent connection is unique to earn customer loyalty, and that a loyal insurance customer – measured by Bain’s Net Promoter Score – delivers seven times the lifetime value of a low loyalty customer and three times the value of a neutral customer.  And loyal customers reward their agents by buying 25% more insurance at higher prices, staying with and consolidating their insurance with one provider, and even referring friends and family.

But we’re not out of the woods yet. Ernst & Young’s Global Customer Survey found that 86% of insurance customers are “not very” satisfied with communications from their provider. Further, 44% report remembering “zero” communications from their insurance provider in the last 18 months.

The most important task for the agency channel is to focus on what agents do best: offer “peace of mind” to their customers.

To earn customer loyalty, drive growth and attract new customers, agents are adopting and mastering newer technology that can provide continuous engagement – connecting to people via e-mail, text, phone and social media. These are the new ways consumers shop for insurance today.

In this way agents are partnering with technology to manage leads and organize marketing programs to guide consumers through an elevated, sequential customer journey geared at building relationships that are highly valued by future insurance policy holders.

Research Tells the Story

Top insurance executives in a recent Accenture poll on the “Future Insurance Workforce” survey found that artificial intelligence is here to stay and will create workplace opportunities that will help agents work more efficiently to help drive growth and attract new customers.

Savvy agents know their customers’ values well – and are in a strong position to deliver original content through technology that best expresses the value of the agency in ways that are most meaningful to each customer. Contemporary insurance marketing automation solutions – integrated with agency management systems that maintain volume and feature sequential and automated practices – will make insurance agents more valuable in today’s market.

When it comes to marketing insurance, the agency connections coming from trusted advisors remain invaluable to policyholders who must choose between this and a faceless organization that relies on advertising. An agency equipped with appropriate technologies elevates the message to a much higher level: It grabs consumers and keeps them coming back for years to come.

Article By: Sam Fleming

Source: Property Casualty 360