With the average age of insurance agents being 45.9 years old and people retiring between the ages of 62.3 and 64.6, it is vital that insurance recruits Gen Z and Millennials. However, potential new entrants to the industry are less interested in life insurance careers than ever before.
In part, this is because of a gap between potential employees’ expectations and the realities of how much work remains to be done on digital transformation in the life insurance industry. Younger generations are looking for jobs in which technology reduces frustrations, increases productivity and enables quick successes. For many life insurance companies, too many obstacles still exist:
- Working on decades-old back-office platforms using out-of-date languages is not a particularly future-focused call to action for new graduates.
- When it takes five or even 30 days to return a decision on a policy application, how motivated would someone be to get into the business of trying to sell those policies?
- At the moment, many stakeholders are unable to share data and quickly pay agent commissions, which doesn’t inspire engagement in a demographic used to one-click financial transactions.
- While digital transformations are underway across the industry, some companies still rely on ad hoc processes that combine aging, siloed data portals, Word docs and homemade Excel macros. Not exactly what a digital-born entrepreneurial employee is looking for when considering whether to try to build their own advisory practice or whether they should embark on a career at a Tier 1 carrier.
Technology is part of the solution
The reality is the industry is still mired in paper and too reliant on manual processes. There are still too many critical systems that don’t provide the automations, access to data or integrations among systems that enable employees to focus on more strategic tasks.
The solution is for insurance companies to automate repetitive and laborious processes by updating their legacy technology‒increasing productivity and creating greater employee engagement.
Accomplishing this means accelerating digital transformation and prioritizing technologies critical to increasing the opportunity employees have to work at the highest level of their potential.
Consider initiatives such as:
- Modernize policy admin systems so product innovation can be moved into the hands of the business owners and accelerated. Enable underwriters to automate repetitive tasks (like client data collection).
- Develop a robust data strategy and migrate or convert data into accessible, usable formats so it can be shared easily among stakeholders to enhance decision making and improve analytics and BI.
- Provide advisers with integrated tech stacks purpose-built for their role. Provide them with adviser-specific CRMs that enable them to effectively manage their practice, find prospects and develop client relationships. Integrate those tools with financial and insurance planning solutions, quoting and illustration and e-applications to streamline the entire buying journey.
Resolving legacy technology issues will not only accelerate innovation, increase productivity and reduce costs‒it also sends the message to new generations that the life insurance industry is current, interesting and a place to build a future.
Focus on purpose
Great Place To Work found that Gen Z and Millennials want to work for employers that have purpose and special meaning. Life insurers fit the bill. It’s a mission-driven industry that aims to help families when they are going through some of the most difficult times of their life. By advertising life insurance’s mission and purpose, carriers can attract new talent who are looking to improve people’s lives and work at companies with a purpose beyond profit.
Emphasizing life insurance’s mission can also help refocus agents who may feel like they’ve been left behind by the push to improve customer experience. If employees are happy and feel like they are working toward something beyond raising profits, it will affect how they interact with policyholders and drive organizational success.
Be open to feedback
Agents have firsthand experience using insurance software and interacting with policyholders. They know what works and what doesn’t. They know what policyholders need and where the gaps in customer experience are. If insurers want to improve customer experience, they need to listen to their agents.
Life insurance agents are a valuable resource as they can provide suggestions on how to improve organizational processes and can highlight pain points. If life insurance carriers better understand their agents and their needs, they can, in turn, help the policyholders by providing agents with all the tools and technology they need to succeed.
See also: What Is Happening to Life Insurance?
While it is important that life insurers improve the customer experience, they must not forget about their employees — their most essential asset. Carriers need to inject empathy back into the life insurance business by automating processes that don’t need a personal touch and empowering employees with systems that have human-centered design and allow agents to spend more time working one-on-one with clients instead of completing mundane tasks.
If life insurers want to improve customer experience and inject empathy into the industry, they must improve employee experience first.