Deloitte's just-released, annual survey on corporate travel included a startling statistic: Although major companies worldwide expect workers to continue to return to the office, they aren't expecting anything like the old normal. The survey of 334 travel managers and other executives with control over travel budgets predicts that work-from-home will decline sharply from the 3.9 days a week during the pandemic to 2.2 -- but that would still be more than three times the pre-pandemic work-from-home pace of 0.7 day per week.
That number gets to a question we've all been wrestling with since the start of the pandemic: What will the new normal look like at work?
Much has been written about how the pandemic forced every industry, including insurance, to radically accelerate digitization, and I don't think there's any turning back. Customers appreciate the access to self-service at all hours of the day or night, on weekends as well as weekdays, and they appreciate the efficiency and speed that digital processes can provide.
But what does that mean for how insurance will be sold? Agents and brokers have turned back all the talk of disintermediation and firmly established their role in the process, but will we now head back to all the face-to-face meetings that were de rigueur in the "pre world," before COVID?
Snejina Zacharia, founder and CEO of Insurify, thinks not.
In this month's interview, she argues that agent-customer interactions will increasingly migrate to the phone, supported by a thoroughly digital back end, and that face-to-face is done. She certainly has a bias here: Digitization has been the Insurify playbook since it opened for business in 2016, and its agents all work remotely. But the world will keep moving in Insurify's direction as we all become more digital, not less, so I suggest that it's worth hearing her out.
P.S. Here are the six articles I'd like to highlight this month for agents and brokers:
You're better offer being a decision coach, helping clients make better choices themselves rather than following a plan you, the adviser, lays out.
Disintermediation didn't happen. Agents won. Still, agents who fail to adapt will have their lunch eaten by agents who do.
Savvy insurtechs are recognizing that agents and brokers are a dynamic part of the market ecosystem--but there's still considerable room to improve.
Despite the severity of the problem, agent gaming has been difficult to detect and mitigate. Fortunately, insurers have new technology that can help them.
The best place to look for innovation is in the quality of decisions being made. Here are three ways you should evaluate your performance.
Some insurtechs will struggle, and there will struggle, and there will even be some fatalities, but most are making the necessary adjustments and operating successfully.