(The following blog has been transcribed from our C.O.O. Keith A. Savino's recent presentation on the "Future of Insurance" at the Acord Conference.)
It has been an interesting 15 plus years talking about the opportunity for insurance agents to extend the purchase of insurance out to their customers and the ability for us to offer our clients, a good customer experience from the point of sale perspective, inside the office or on line, is very important to the independent agency system.The “Buy Button” will be empowering the agent to bind a policy 24 x7 whether at the office or offsite, during operating hours or after hours. and empowering the customer to bind the policy through the agent’s website.
Implementing the Buy Button for insurance agencies is a business challenge and for some people in the industry, it is a philosophical challenge. There are people who believe that the moment they extend the point of sale opportunity to the client, it takes place outside their physical office that THAT devalues the chain, so that is a philosophical challenge for some folks.On the other hand, independent agents offer their prospective clients a large variety of insurance companies, and opportunities to purchase insurance, and right now, we are not doing a real good job online, we need to improve and make it better.
The most important thing the independent insurance agent brings to the table is the personal relationship and expertise. The Buy Button was not created to diminish the independent agency but to enhance it and to create additional opportunities to sell and round out what you already offer and explore and reach new aspects of business that the agent might now be in right now. It’s really about trying to round out what you offer and how to reach a new segment of business.
It is a process initiative, agents who will be the fastest to adopt the changes will be those with a very streamline and strong workflow. So the workflow of the 1990’s where we manually rated policies and clients left with a bound policy, because we had the authority, really started to change a lot when that binding process was moved to each individual carriers automation system. So if you represent 15 carriers you have to have at least 15 workflows, plus more and that is really a big challenge. So part of this process is to say that if you are strong internally with your point of sale you should be strong externally with your point of sale and if you have a local brand you should be able to enrich that local brand by driving your perspective clients to your local website, your phone number and your front door.
Folks like to talk about disruption, I think that the independent agency system, for hundreds of years has been the driver of change, it is generally where most disruption starts and we challenge our own industry to get better and better all the time. We have been working for decades on helping independent agents change themselves, generally most carriers and vendors listen to the needs of their customers, and their customers are the independent agency channel, so when we come up with these ideas, we need the independent agents out there who feel positive about this, to embrace it and speak with their vendors and the carriers