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Over the past few years, dire predictions about the independent agent’s future have gotten a lot of attention. With consumers increasingly adopting the latest technology-driven shopping and buying behaviors, some industry observers have questioned whether the independent agent will be able to remain relevant.

But new research suggests that the independent agent is uniquely positioned to win with the biggest and increasingly influential segment of consumers.

Survey says … maybe not.

Only the independent agent offers ease, choice and advice — a unique combination with the power to attract today’s consumers, especially Generation Y.
In a May 2015 research study commissioned by Safeco Insurance, 31 percent of Generation Y consumers placed themselves in a segment that values independent advice, choice among insurance companies, an expert advocate, and ease of understanding their insurance options.

Somewhat surprisingly, this proportion is higher than that found among Generation X (24 percent), Baby Boomers (23 percent) and Seniors (18 percent).

The implication: as Generation Y continues to grow into the insurance marketplace, independent agents will see an increase in the share of consumers preferring their unique value proposition of ease, choice and advice:

Provide tools that make it easy to understand, buy and manage coverage.
Provide the widest possible array of options to meet policyholders’ specific needs.
Share your expertise and advocacy to help policyholders make the best decisions about their coverage.
Each channel that sells insurance has its own strengths.

Direct-to-consumer carriers often provide easy transactions for pre-packaged products. Comparison websites provide choice between the products of different companies and online transactions. And consumers can get a range of advice and access to online tools through exclusive agents.

But only the independent agent offers ease, choice and advice — a unique combination with the power to attract today’s consumers, especially Generation Y.
On the “ease” front, the good news is that it is easier and cheaper than ever to deploy the online tools demanded by Millennials. Today any business can stand up a mobile-ready website that supports e-commerce in a few days, with only a modest budget and no technical expertise. All agents need to be active online with their own web and mobile capabilities and through industry portals like TrustedChoice.com.

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