by Kitty Ambers, Chief Operating Office at AVYST
The “Silver Tsunami” is a term for the aging workforce in America today. Demographic research states that 10,000 baby boomers will reach retirement age every day from 2011 until 2030. Translate this to the insurance industry and half of the workforce is on track to retire by 2034.
To counteract the impact of this “silver tsunami”, it’s critical for agency leaders to embrace the adoption of technology and innovation in the workplace. Major detractors to younger generations joining the insurance industry involve outdated technology and work environments.
While there is a significant amount of research available around how to attract, and often cater to, Millennials in the workforce, the fact is that no one wants to work in an environment where they feel they’ve stepped backwards in time. Unfortunately, many insurance agencies are described as “archaic”. As we see the use of technology flourish across all generations in day-to-day living, insurance agency leaders must adopt a more innovative mindset.
According to Jon Loftin, president and CEO of MJ Insurance, one of the largest privately held insurance agencies in the US, “Historically, insurance brokers were hired based upon the size and quality of their networks. While that’s important today, it doesn’t necessarily win the day or make you a successful producer. As the industry transforms, it’s changing the dynamics of what an insurance agent or broker does. The role is bona fide consulting nowadays, not sales. I think being a bona fide business consultant is much more attractive than just trying to sell as much product as possible to a buyer that’s not necessarily excited to buy the product.”1
Developing into a trusted advisor role can require years of technical knowledge and experience. Technology that empowers sales producers to learn while on the job, coupled with more modern applications that allow them to digitally gather prospect and client information – even when an internet connection is not available – is critical. While many new producers readily embrace web-based solutions, it’s not always practical. And, with cyber security regulations today, jumping on a free Wi-Fi connection is taboo. This is why we frequently hear seasoned producers extol the virtues of a solution that allows them to type directly onto a data gathering form or questionnaire at the point of sale – wherever that point of sale may be.
The philosophy behind most InsurTech is improving efficiency. This means spending more time doing what matters most: advising clients and maintaining long-term relationships.
In Vertafore’s annual survey of the independent insurance agency workforce released in March of 2021, one key finding indicates that core InsurTech solutions are helping insurance professionals to be more efficient, but adoption of more modern tools remains modest. Relatively few survey-takers reported using technologies to manage client relationship, workflow, and content.
Many agency leaders don’t invest the time to develop a long-term technology strategy. To effectively implement insurtech in an agency, there are five fundamentals as detailed in a recent AVYST InsurTech Talk:
- Know Your Numbers
- Know Your Strengths (and build on them); Know Your Weaknesses (and address them)
- Stay Aware
- Have a Written Strategic Plan
- Execute, Monitor, and Adjust
Without a structured approach, technology solutions are introduced but never fully adopted effectively. When implemented strategically and with sufficient training, insurtech can enhance relationships and increase operational efficiencies. By automating repetitive tasks and reducing redundant data entry, insurance professionals are afforded more time to spend with clients, building relationships and providing much needed advice.
For those who fear innovation, it’s important to remember that technology is not meant to replace the agent; rather, it is meant to free up time and energy to focus on serving the client thereby increasing profitability as well as attracting and retaining new talent.
Consider a Coaching Approach
The concept of “coaching” is a form of development in which an experienced person supports a learner in achieving by providing training and guidance. Approaching personnel development as a coach deviates from the traditional command and control leadership style. A coaching approach involves working with employees to find their unique strengths and weaknesses, map out their career aspirations, and establish development goals, while also providing consistent feedback and delegating responsibilities to team members.
To attract and keep younger talent, transitioning to more of a coaching role is necessary. Millennials, for example, need constant and consistent feedback.
As an example, consider moving away from the annual performance appraisal. With the fluidity of the insurance industry today, and the proliferation of work-from-home scenarios, it’s critical to have ongoing conversations with team members. A touch base call each morning, for example, exemplifies open communication by providing the chance for employees to discuss challenges of the previous day, and capitalize on new opportunities as they arise.
Embracing technology, focusing on efficient implementation of technology, and revisiting your management approach are three effective ways to attract and retain new, young talent to your agency.
At AVYST, we are agents who have built technology for agents, and we are passionate about keeping technical insurance knowledge at the heart of insurtech. We also understand that the move to digital is critical for continued agency success.
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- eForms Wizard increases efficiency for seasoned agents and allows them to get to market faster. The outdated pen and paper process is replaced by a tech tool that is time saving and efficient. Enter information once and it flows to Agency, Company-unique, and ACORD forms.
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- eForms Wizard will empower your agency to meet, and even exceed, both customer and employee expectations created by today’s digital norms. AVYST solutions keep your agency relevant in a time when technology is not going away.
Strong client relationships, streamlined submission processes, and increased sales – the profile of a top-notch insurance agency – are the key reasons to take that first step with eForms Wizard! Get you and your staff started with eForms Wizard and be sure to utilize your Partner Member Benefit. Or, start with a 14-day Free Trial.
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