How Insurance Brokers Can Stay Competitive

Here are five strategies for insurance brokers aiming to thrive in the age of AI and digital transformation.

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In the rapidly evolving insurance industry, brokers are finding themselves at the crossroads of tradition and innovation. As digital transformation reshapes the landscape, insurance companies and brokers alike must adapt to stay competitive and meet the changing needs of both clients and employees. Here are five strategies for insurance brokers aiming to thrive in the age of AI and digital transformation.

  1. Adapt to Changing Demographics and Client Expectations

The insurance industry is witnessing a significant shift in its client base, with Millennials and Gen Z becoming predominant forces. These younger generations demand real-time data, digital platforms and sustainable business practices. For example, insurance brokers specializing in commercial insurance must now offer digital-first experiences and 24/7 support to cater to the expectations of these tech-savvy entrepreneurs.

On the employee side, attracting and retaining talent from these younger generations requires aligning with their values. Insurance brokers can implement programs such as reverse mentorship, where younger employees share insights on technology and trends, while experienced mentors guide them in developing business acumen.

  1. Leverage AI and Digital Tools

AI adoption is no longer optional but a necessity for insurance brokers. Like many other industries, insurance is trying to integrate AI into the way it does business. That can involve using AI to process claims, identify risk, set prices and enhance operational efficiency, among other tasks. AI is adept at quickly processing a lot of disparate information to produce results almost instantaneously. For an industry that sits on top of mounds of data that it needs to analyze, insurance is well positioned to take advantage of AI.

Clients expect seamless digital experiences, from automated claims processing to personalized policy recommendations. Digital transformation enables brokers to provide mobile-optimized websites and apps for customers to access insurance information. 

However, the human aspect of empathy, experience and authenticity remains crucial. Brokers must find the right balance between leveraging AI for efficiency and maintaining the personal touch that builds trust and loyalty. 

In addition to becoming a part of the daily operations of an insurance business, AI could become a line of insurance itself. For instance, AI could be used to exploit vulnerabilities in security systems and, through a deep fake, execute a funds-transfer fraud. Companies will have to protect themselves against that risk.

See also: 'Digital Twins': The Race Is On

  1. Navigate the Era of Dark Social

The landscape of social media and customer engagement has evolved, with a significant portion of interactions now happening in private, also known as dark social. For insurance brokers, this means traditional metrics like likes and shares are no longer reliable indicators of engagement. Instead, focusing on content consumption as a form of engagement can help brokers understand what resonates with their audience. 

By targeting the 95% of the audience that isn't ready to buy, brokers can position themselves on the "day-zero list," capturing attention before prospects start looking for insurance solutions.

See also: The Need for 'Digital Fluency' in Insurance

  1. Use Earned Media to Build Authority

Earned media, such as mentions in reputable publications, plays a critical role in establishing an insurance broker's expertise, authority and trustworthiness. High-quality content that scores well on Google's E-E-A-T criteria can significantly enhance visibility and credibility. For insurance brokers, being featured in industry-specific publications or mainstream media can help move buyers down the funnel by increasing the firm's authority in the field.

  1. Cultivate a Culture of Urgency

In the fast-paced world of insurance, speed is often mistaken for urgency. However, a culture of urgency—prioritizing important tasks and acting—is more beneficial. This approach enables insurance brokers to be agile, innovative and highly engaged. For example, embracing digital transformation with urgency allows brokers to quickly adapt to new technologies and market trends, ensuring they remain competitive and responsive to client needs.

Insurance brokers must navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by digital transformation and changing demographics. By adapting to client expectations, leveraging AI and digital tools, navigating dark social, using earned media and cultivating a culture of urgency, insurance brokers can future-proof their businesses and continue to thrive in an increasingly digital world. 

While AI will play a significant role in the industry, it will augment rather than replace brokers, enabling them to provide better service to their clients.

Shama Hyder

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Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder is the founder and CEO of Zen Media, an international keynote speaker and a bestselling author. 

Fast Company calls her a "millennial master of the universe" and a "Zen Master of Marketing.” She is a Forbes and Inc. 30 under 30 alum, and LinkedIn has named her a Top Voice in Marketing four years in a row. 

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