Keystone Insurers Group invited us to keynote their Emerging Leaders Meeting down in Orlando last week. As the name implies, the theme focused on what’s next for the insurance industry. It was a great event. We had a blast. It’s always great seeing the next generation in action.

The term “insuretech” came up more than a few times. But what the heck is it? Here’s what Investopedia tells us:

Insurtech is a portmanteau of “insurance” and “technology” that was inspired by the term fintech. The belief driving insurtech companies is that the insurance industry is ripe for innovation and disruption.

Yes, portmanteau is a real word. Google it.

Simply put, the insurance industry is largely a legacy one, which is why there’s so much investment and focus on changing it.

In fact, according to a recent article by Business Insider, four leading VCs in the fintech space think it’s the one industry ripe for the most disruption.

Not your daddy’s agency

I certainly agree that the industry needs to advance. We’re trying to do our part with our ActiveAgency platform, Clickable Coverage and related solutions.

However, I also think there’s a lot that works within the industry.

Relationships matter. Trusted advice matters. Reputations matter.

As much as I’m a believer in technology, I also value the human element more than anything else.

In some ways, our crystal ball is the financial planning industry, with services like Wealthfront and Betterment popping up in recent years. Who needs a financial planner when computers can do it for us?! I’d argue most of us do.

There are nuances related to financial planning, just as there are with recommending the appropriate insurance solution. This part is difficult for computers to figure out – at least in the foreseeable future.

As a result, forward-thinking financial advisors are embracing the new tools and even integrating them into their solutions. To them, it’s an opportunity, not a threat.

Die, survive or thrive

The years ahead are going to be interesting. We’ll undoubtedly see a lot of potential disruptors enter (and most leave) the industry. However, some will take hold. We need to be ready for that.

In talking with agencies, there’s a level of fear that comes with all of this. Will people need the “middle man” going forward? Will carriers go direct? Will computers and robots replace humans?

As with most things, the answer is likely complex. It’s gray. Not black and white.

However, agencies (and carriers, too, by the way!) that embrace this change will not only survive, but can thrive in this transitional period.

Simple things like ensuring your website looks like it belongs in 2017 is a start.

Live chat, self-service forms (for certificate requests, auto IDs, change requests, etc.), easy-to-understand content (even on mobile) and other tools to help the sales and servicing process are easy ways to show that you’re a different kind of agency – one that “gets it” and is ready for today.

And tomorrow.

Author Jeff Teschke

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