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Instant Insights / Digital solutions: What insurance agents & brokers need to know

To stay competitive, agents & brokers need to embrace technology. Digital tools offer opportunities to demonstrate your expertise, reach new audiences and engage with existing clients.

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Customers today expect a frictionless claims transaction that will be resolved with the same execution, efficiency and speed as an Amazon purchase. Customers today expect a frictionless claims transaction that will be resolved with the same execution, efficiency and speed as an Amazon purchase. (Photo: Jim Young/Bloomberg)

We live in the age of the empowered consumer. Customers today expect to have what they want, when they want it and with whatever amount of interaction they want to engage in to get it. Meeting these clearly elevated expectations is now merely table stakes for the insurance industry when it comes to building strong customer relationships. How have people come to expect this level of personalized and convenient service? Look no further than that brown box with the smile on the side at your front door for the answer.

Related: J.D. Power study: How interested are consumers in Amazon, Google for insurance?

The Amazon Effect

The Amazon Effect, as it’s known, refers to how the retail giant’s use of technology and digital innovation has dramatically changed how customers demand to interact with businesses today.  Whether it’s the Amazon platform’s ease of use (i.e., 1-Click Ordering), their proactive customer communication (i.e., regular shipping updates), or their amazingly efficient fulfillment results (i.e., Same-Day Delivery), the company’s logistical achievements have clearly set a new standard in customer service.

For most businesses today, these kinds of digital advancements have raised the bar with regard to their customers’ expectations. Embracing technology has become an absolute necessity for operational efficiency and sustained growth. The insurance industry is no exception. Agencies and carriers are rushing to adapt in order to remain relevant in this constantly evolving world. The shift is happening through deliberate capital expenditures, but it’s also happening organically as baby boomers retire and the age demographic of the insurance workforce shifts. A generation of digitally-enabled agents is already interacting in this world with ease because they’ve grown up transacting in it every day.

The bottom line for insurance carriers is that independent agents have options. For example, an agency may work with carriers outside of the American Modern Insurance Group, and that means we’re stacked up against the competition. Consumers and businesses also have options when it comes to the insurance purchase. Wholesalers, independent insurance agencies, captive agencies and digital InsurTechs are all competing for a piece of the pie. Price is one way to gain a competitive edge, but if the ease of doing business isn’t part of the transaction then the price may not matter much.

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