Insurance has always been an information and document-intensive process. But in our current world, paper documents and in-person meetings are suddenly ineffective and dangerous. Insurance agents are supposed essential services during this "Circuit Breaker" period to ensure people can get through turbulent times. However, we see an increasing number of our agent friends struggling to tide through and business has come to a standstill for most of them.
But first, let us help you see why insurance services are considered essential in the first place.
Just like your doctors and nurses, agents make sure you are well-taken care of. Your doctors and nurses ensure you get the treatment you need. Agents make sure your payment is covered.
These Are The Following Essential Tasks Agents Play During The "Circuit Breaker".
Claims processing. It requires time, details and understanding of your situation to lodge a successful claim.
Enhance your coverage amount. Hello, we're in a pandemic?
Ensure clients make informed choices, like signing up for free coverage instead of paying for one.
Like how wearing a mask is insurance during Covid-19, agents ensure that when something bad happens to you, the last thing you would want to worry about is money. That is why insurance is important. It is more than just a "peace of mind" that you are buying, you are buying assurance of your life and livelihood.
Yet, as essential as agents are, how many have questioned why are these services not being able to perform over the internet, just like our food services (which are equally essential)?
E-Signature is Allowed But Also not Allowed
First being, many insurance companies can't or won't accept e-signed documents without the presence of an agent to guide them. Although most companies have adopted e-signed documents, many still require the e-signature of both the customer and agent for a contract to be approved.
Complex Transactions & No Longer a Phone-Call Away
Most transactions are lengthy and complex. Purchasing insurance isn't as simple as purchasing a handbag because gratification isn't as instant and yet the level of commitment is high. From FNAs (financial needs analysis) to product recommendations, every individual is unique in their needs and wants. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all kind of planning. Indeed, there are many gaps to ascertain.
During this "Circuit Breaker", agents are no longer "just a call away" because many services still require them to be physically present to facilitate, be it a review of a financial portfolio or a crash course of insurance for new buyers.
Hyper-Speed in Tech Adoption but Terrible at Fending Cybersecurity
Until recently, less than half the agents are trained on how to utilize technology tools and apps to facilitate their businesses. The sudden need to get up to speed on online platforms like Zoom conference or Google hangouts have proven to be a challenge for many.
Although some agents are learning technology faster than ever, they often do not anticipate cybersecurity concerns such as ransomware attacks and Trojan horse-type of fake accounts and websites related to Covid-19. Reports have shown a spike in such attempts where emails that have a subject like "Track where Covid-19 is spreading" could contain malware clicked.
One System Works for One, Equates to Working for All
We have taught insurance agents the use of technology and advocated the importance of it for over three years. One of the biggest problems is that if an agent has a system that works for them, they are reluctant to change it. They believe they have the best understanding when it comes to their client's preferences and needs. A typical response from an agent would be "We know our clients best." What they failed to realize in the recent decade is that demographics of families and the roles that individuals play within the family unit have changed. Especially with the internet and digital technology, people are socializing and interacting differently and it goes without saying, they are utilizing their financial portfolio differently too.
The system that worked two decades ago is no longer relevant. Financial gurus with over 40-50 years in the insurance industry have reported that they have never seen such a rapid breakdown of the industry like what is happening now.
Digital Marketing Ads Sound More Like Desperation Ads
We see a surge in the number of digital marketing ads and many agents are beginning to adopt lead-generation methods on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc to survive. Yet these methods of marketing have revealed how little knowledge they know about people of today. Offer-mongering tricks or scare tactics to entice consumers into buying are getting less and less appealing. And with the growing influx of such ads, consumers can instantly smell desperation through ads like these. It leaves a bad aftertaste for consumers, even if your product is fantastic.
Don't Just Survive A Market Crash. Thrive!
In our previous article on "The Unattainable Expectations of Insurance Agents", we empathized with our agent friends who are subjected to greater demands and wants from consumers. It is inevitable given the rise in education and standards of living. Thus, agents have to evolve to meet these "unattainable expectations". We believe that agents can adapt fast in times of adversity. Instead of simply surviving one pandemic to another market crash, start reviewing your business strategy and platforms. It's hard not to get swept up in a panic when the stock market is as crazy as our supermarkets, but it is time given to grow and invest not in bad digital marketing or over-promising lead generation companies, but channel them into more customer-centric solutions to deliver more value to your clients now and in the future.