Many in insurance may be wondering if the COVID-19 pandemic will be the catalyst that finally puts the nail in the coffin of agent distribution. (Photo: eamesBot/Shutterstock)

With each new wave of technology over the past few decades, there have been many predictions that this is the end of agent distribution. You know the drill: “Technology can be so much more efficient and remove all that expense related to those human distributors.” I can remember back to the dawn of the Internet when there was all the discussion about disintermediation. I heard that term in all kinds of insurers’ strategy discussions. I never believed agents and brokers were going to be displaced then. And, they certainly have not been displaced. In fact, in the intervening decades, as digital technologies have advanced, they’re still dominant.

Now, we are in the midst of the pandemic. It has been a world-changing event. And it’s also an event that has accelerated the digital transformation of businesses, society, and our industry. The inability to meet in person and the rapid shift to everything online has put pressure on the agent distribution model. So, the real question is: Has the pandemic been the catalyst that finally puts the nail in the coffin of agent distribution (for all those folks out there that that don’t like agents or don’t think they add value)? And once again, I have to answer a resounding “no.”

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