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1. All about the infrastructure. We live in an on-demand world, driven by instant service. Whether the agency is looking to grow, expand, or even exit, Smart Harbor says having a strong and flexible digital infrastructure is critical. (Photo: Shutterstock)

2. Move from closed loop to open access. Insurance agents operate in many different kinds of environments, including regularly accessing multiple carrier websites, agency management systems, and customer relationship management systems. (Photo: Shutterstock)

3. Pursuit of the paperless agency. Smart Harbor data analysts predict that more and more agencies will finally implement e-signature and other e-document tools in 2018. (Photo: Shutterstock)

4. Synergistic partnerships increasing access to sales analytics. The carrier/agent partnership is about to go beyond a provider/seller framework in 2018, Smart Harbor researchers say. (Photo: Shutterstock)

5. Agents embrace artificial intelligence (AI). The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) tools will continue to become more and more commonplace in 2018. (Photo: Shutterstock)

In 2018, agents and carriers will have to balance emerging technology with human-driven customer service, according to the Ohio-based insurance-industry digital solutions provider Smart Harbor.

Danielle Ling

As the Associate Editor of Online Features & Multimedia for PC360, Danielle Ling writes and edits feature articles for both online and print publications. Danielle heads PC360's video department, producing news packages and animated videos for the site. A University of Maryland and Philip Merrill College of Journalism alum, prior to this role, Danielle served as a video journalist for Verizon FiOS 1 News NJ on the show "Push Pause." Connect with Danielle on LinkedIn or email her at dling@alm.com

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