In the past, the insurance industry has had an image problem with younger talent. Top prospects have often migrated toward flashier industries like technology. But as the long-term economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic remain unknown, stable industries, like insurance, might have a recruitment advantage that independent agencies can capitalize on.
There has been much discussion about how younger generations are changing the work environment. They want a flexible schedule, capability to work remotely and work/life balance. But they also want to have opportunities to be contributing team members. They want to create value and have their ideas heard.
The insurance industry—especially independent agencies—are well suited for offering employees the ability to provide impact. Every day, agents help their customers have protection when the worst happens. The industry is also continuing to innovate and transform. Digital native young talent has an opportunity to lead the charge and help employers evolve.
But agencies need to take the first step to show that they are committed to adopting technology and implementing new solutions. Agencies need to have tools that increase productivity. Frustrating old systems that only work on Internet Explorer – a web browser that Microsoft discontinued – won’t cut it.
Here are five technology solutions agencies should consider using to make their business more appealing to young prospects.
1. Take your agency to the cloud
Key platforms that agents need to use every day such as agency management systems and customer relationship management systems should be accessible in the cloud. Up-and-coming generations don’t want to be tied to a desk. And in a post-COVID-19 world, where there may be lingering hesitations about going into crowded offices, being able to work from home might be a common expectation. Cloud-based applications allow more flexibility and give employees more freedom to work remotely.
2. Add automated solutions like online rating and CRM to your cloud-based agency management system
Any solutions that help reduce redundancies and rekeying will help make your agency more appealing. For example, online quoting tools that automatically pull in customer information and can get multiple quotes from a variety of carriers using a single form can save valuable time. Solutions like these give agents more time to do meaningful work like servicing clients’ unique needs rather than typing the same data into different places.
Also, look to see if there are integration capabilities between your different technology vendors. For example, your agency management system could be partnering with your CRM provider and online quoting solution so customer information passes from one platform to the next, so agents don’t need to reenter the information.
See also: Keys to Finding and Nurturing Talent
3. Use data analytics to help target customers
The next generation of workers never knew a time when information was not readily available at their fingertips. They rely more on facts rather than hunches or “the way we have always done things.” Agencies should implement customer relationship management and agency management systems that gather data, can analyze trends and give you a 360-degree view of your clients. For example, using analytics from your CRM system, you might see that emails to small commercial prospects about workers’ comp had a higher open rate than ones about business owner policies (BOP), suggesting you do more detailed outreach on a particular offering.
4. Be like e-commerce – incorporate online bill pay, e-signature and SEO
e-Commerce has forever changed consumers' expectations when dealing with companies. They want on-demand service, and agencies need to adapt. They should look to reduce the amount of paper needed to complete transactions by implementing solutions like secure online payments and e-signature technology.
Whether a prospect is looking for an agent to help with their insurance needs or a top recruit is looking for a place to begin a career, all searches begin online. People are not going to scour through multiple Google pages to find an agency, so those with the top rankings will win. Agencies need to invest in an SEO strategy that will elevate them in searches. This includes regular postings on social media, using keywords for key product offerings in website content and updating the website with thought leadership.
5. Take face-to-face into the virtual world with video conferencing
Even before the global pandemic, people were changing the way they interacted with companies. While customer relationships are important to any agency, agencies should go beyond in-person interaction. Video conferencing tools like Zoom and Skype allow agents to still meet face-to-face with clients but provide more flexibility. Agents can have more impromptu discussions or virtually meet with customers when they are not in the office.
Young talent wants flexibility and the ability to have an impact. With the right technologies, agencies can provide recruits with these experiences --- and even offer them more – the chance to help the business evolve. Agencies should be doing everything in their power to recruit these workers. Not only can young agents help your business transform, but they will help build your book of business with the next generation of insurance customers.