As we all know, the internet has changed the way people do business. More importantly, it's also changed the way businesses do business.
Not that long ago if you needed someone for a specific service, you "let your fingers doing the walking in the Yellow Pages". Now I make that reference to my college age daughter and she doesn't know what I'm talking about. Everything from entertainment to financial services has gone digital, and for those who aren't offering some sort of web-based platform, they may as well be throwing a chunk of their marketing dollars into the garbage.
This struggle is real in the insurance industry as well. The old school method of getting a referral, meeting with them in their home or office over several appointments, and hoping to get an application completed (along with more referrals) has lost some of it's appeal. For younger, more internet savvy consumers, doing their own research and making online purchases is the norm.
At the same time, these younger people are less interested in selling insurance, mostly because of the old school methods that still are being taught in training offices throughout the country. According to a 2017 article by the World Economic Forum, the average age of a life insurance agent was 59. Considering that agents tend to sell to those around their own age, millennials are, for argument's sake, not being properly attended to when it comes to their own life insurance needs.
In 2007 I went to work for a large life insurance company. We were the "best of the best" according to the management, so you would think that we could attract agents who would succeed and thrive. Our managers boasted that we were ahead of our competitors in agent persistency, because we had a rate after three years of 17%, opposed to 10-15% by our peers. This meant that if they hired 100 agents today, a whopping 17, on average, would be around after three years. And they were actually proud of this.
For the consumers, though, this is bad news as well. How many times have you purchased life, disability or other kind of insurance, only to find out that your agent is no longer with the company?
As a society, we have become numb and/or jaded when it comes to having bad service. This is why a growing number of people are cutting their ties to agents and buying financial services from the internet. The television is full of ads letting us know to get car insurance, life insurance and investments straight from our computers. Convenient and quick.
But what about the personal service? What if we have questions or concerns or need to file a claim? Are we destined to having to call an 800 number each time we need something. Even worse, what if we have to speak to someone who is out of the country? Is that good customer service?
At Surf Financial Brokers, we have tried to combine the best of both worlds. Our quoting tools for life insurance, dental, vision and hearing plan, cancer insurance, hospital indemnity insurance and accident plans make it easy and quick for people to find a policy within their budget. And if they like what they see they can start an application.
At the same time, if they want a more personal touch they can book a short phone appointment with one of our agents who can help with our products, including others like Long Term Care and disability insurance. We want to help anyone who recognizes they need insurance to be able to get it in the way they want.
Let us help you find the right product for your needs.
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life, disability, long term care, cancer, accident and other insurance coverages in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient, and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!