The start of the New Year is the perfect time to take a look at what you’ve learned in the past and what you expect the future will bring. Today there are serious challenges facing insurance agents: They must work hard to ensure they’re in compliance with a variety of regulations, especially those that pertain to the PPACA. These challenges are further complicated by the emergence of new technologies, the complexity of developing new products, and the competition with other agents. The first step of solving these problems comes in identifying them.
1. The Complications of PPACA
There seems to be no end to problems for insurance agents when it comes to PPACA. From technological glitches to the role for agents being both fluid and relatively unclear, the issues seem to continue on. The enrollment process is far from simple, and there’s no question that PPACA has been the biggest headache for agents. In fact, the agent who’s capable of educating and servicing clients on PPACA may just be considered a superhero.
2. Dealing with the Pressure to Produce
Insurance agents need to make money, which is why there’s always pressure to make the highest sale possible, at the highest price. However, agents also know that long-term relationships with clients are based on trust, and making sales involves focusing on services and products—not sales. Savvy agents know that when they sell based on price, they’re setting themselves up for failure.
3. Markets Suffer from a Lack of Demand
Business development is a key part of any insurance agent’s work, yet a lack of demand can make it difficult. With some user’s healthcare prices on the rise, they have less to spend on what they may consider “luxury” insurance products, like life insurance and disability insurance. It’s true that insurance markets are growing quickly, which is certainly positive for the industry. However, it’s also true that economic strains and lack of experience by users leaves many believing that they can skip these non-essential insurance services.
4. Not Being Involved in the Sales Process
Today it’s true that finding a person who doesn’t use the internet is like finding a needle in a haystack. Companies of all sizes are looking into ways they can make their systems more effective by better utilizing technology and the internet. Online sales processed by major insurance carriers can exclude independent agents from getting sales. As consumers get access to more and more information, they may begin to believe that they have all the information they need to purchase insurance on their own.
5. Stereotypes Are Alive and Well
The reality is that insurance agents are the victim of stereotypes, and this can be challenging to overcome. Agents who don’t have a way to set themselves apart from the pack aren’t likely to leave much of an impression on potential clients. As with any sales professional, they have to begin the process by assuring potential clients that they’re not just in it to make a quick buck and by proving they have expertise that the client needs.
6. Markets Are Becoming More Commodified
Though there are always changes in the insurance industry, and the products therein are extremely adaptable, the market has still become more commoditized. When potential clients begin to believe that all products have the same value, they are wary of paying more for one policy over another. It’s difficult for them to differentiate between both products and agents in a market that’s so crowded and that has so many players. In short, the benefits that a product offers begin to take a back seat to the price.
7. Getting to Potential Clients Can Be a Challenge
There are more communication options and marketing channels than ever before, which in some ways makes it easier to get your message out. However, large carriers can use paid advertising and search engine optimization tricks to their advantage. Most agents who are tech-savvy combat these challenges by embracing social medial, newsletters, and additional forms of creative copy to increase their business efforts.
So What’s the Answer?
Now that you understand the seven main issues facing insurance agents in today’s climate, you’re wondering: What do I do about it? There are many avenues you could take, but one part of your plan moving forward is likely to be a document management system (DMS). Embracing technology has never been so easy—or so worth it. The many benefits of DMS include:
- Mobile access to every single document you save within it. This makes it easy to pull up a client’s information no matter where you are. This is especially important in today’s world of 24/7 access.
- Searchable text. As you’re looking for a client’s data, you may find the need to search for other files that utilize a particular carrier, or files of people in their zip code. DMS indexes your files to make it simple to find exactly what you need in seconds.
- Total security. You do want access to documents but you don’t want to risk security to get it. DMS utilizes encryption techniques that go much further than required to keep your information secure.
Moving toward a paperless office is one of the most efficient ways to cut costs, compete in the digital age, and provide an exceptional customer experience that truly sets you apart from the rest.