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Chances are that by now you’ve heard the big news—Amazon has purchased Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion dollars. Yes… BILLION.

The deal itself was unexpected. An online retailer purchasing a grocery store chain? We definitely didn’t see that coming. But, even more unexpected is what this massive business deal taught us about our own industry—insurance.

No industry is safe from disruption

The most important lesson we learned from the Amazon/Whole Foods deal is that no industry is safe from disruption.

What is disruption, you ask? As Andy Rachleff defined it in an article for TechCrunch.com: disruption is shaking up an existing industry by introducing “a simpler, cheaper or more convenient alternative to an existing product.”

Take mobile phones, for example. There was a time, not too long ago, when nearly every businessperson owned a Blackberry. At the time, these phones were new and innovative with calendaring capabilities, full QWERTY keyboards for easy email sending, phone to phone instant messaging (remember BBM?) and more. They were the best of the best.

But, as time went on, the Blackberry went basically unchanged. It failed to introduce new, game-changing features. So, when Apple entered the mobile phone game with their shiny new, buttonless iPhone, Blackberry had no chance.

Some might say that the same may be occurring with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. Our society has been shopping for groceries the same way for years. Just when we thought it was the only way to do it… Amazon steps in and shakes things up. Soon, we’ll likely see more doorstep grocery deliveries, and even stores sans-checkout lines.

It’s time to disrupt the insurance industry

What do Blackberry and Whole Foods have to do with the insurance industry? Simple. Much like the mobile phone industry and the grocery industry, insurance is ripe for disruption.

For decades, insurance agencies have been running things the same way (think: paper forms and outdated websites). But, one day—sooner rather than later—the old-school way of doing things just won’t be enough.

So, what can your agency do to get ahead of the curve and start disrupting the industry? We have a few ideas…

Be aware of insuretech trends, and be open to changes

This one is pretty simple. Agencies should stay informed about the changes occurring within the industry. Read insurance publications, research the latest insuretech happenings, attend conferences, etc.

And don’t just learn about it—be open to it. Try out that interesting new tool you’ve been hearing about. Most tools are fairly low cost, and many even offer free trial periods. What do you have to lose?

Offer convenience to your clients

Let’s revisit that definition of disruption that we referred to earlier. There are a few words that stand out: simpler and more convenient.

In this day in age, convenience and simplicity are essential. Clients are looking to obtain information in the quickest, most seamless way possible. So, tools like integrated online forms or live chat (both of which are included within the ActiveAgency platform) can make a world of difference.

Maintain the personal touch

When we’re discussing the topic of tech, this might seem a bit counterproductive. How can you move into the digital age, while also keeping the personal touch? Rest assured… it’s possible.

For example, an agent might obtain a list of potential leads through a modern tool like LinkedIn. But that doesn’t mean the entire sales process should be handled digitally. Instead, consider finding mutual connections and then reaching out to obtain an introduction via phone or in person.

The combination of modern tools and the personal touch can truly set an agency apart.

The takeaway

Insurance has remained unchanged—some might even argue outdated—for many years. The Amazon/Whole Foods deal was just another reminder that it’s only a matter of time before the insurance industry is disrupted.

Of course, at Forge3, we’re doing our part to lead that disruption with ActiveAgency, Clickable Coverage, Hello Producer, Live Chat and more.

However, all of it starts with thinking differently. It’s a brave new world. Be brave and embrace it!

Author Jeff Teschke

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