A recent McKinsey report has got insurance agents in full-blown panic mode
There’s a lot of chatter (and perhaps even outright paranoia) lately focused on a report released declaring the demise of the independent insurance agent. Entitled “Agents of the Future: The Evolution of Property and Casualty Insurance Distribution” and published by McKinsey & Company, it’s a short read (25 pages).
Here’s the main idea
There is a gradual shift in the value that carriers and customers (both retail and small business) place on many activities traditionally performed by local agents, which is increasingly calling into question what role they will play in the future.
If you haven’t read it yet and you’re in the business, I highly recommend it. Once you get past some of the initial doom and gloom, it does actually offer information that can help independent insurance agents position themselves for future success.
My reactions and thoughts as I read through
– I refuse to panic. Because when you fear the worst, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m a simple person and whether you were studying for a test or playing a sport in school, if you truly believed you were going to fail, you did. I think the same approach is applicable here. Agree or Disagree?
– There will always be people in the world who don’t and will NEVER value you or what you do. Spending time and money arguing with them and trying to convince them otherwise is STUPID. They don’t want you and what you stand for. So don’t waste your time with them. Spend your time with the people who really do want to tap into your knowledge and guidance. The rest? Screw ’em.
– Any independent agent that tries to out-GEICO GEICO deserves what they get. We will NEVER be able to compete with them using their model and ridiculous marketing budget. So don’t even try. But what you can do is develop your own mantra, brand, identity, fill-in-the-blank that resonates with YOUR community. Unless you’re some multi-national corporation, my assumption is most “local” agents are focused on a small corner of the world (or perhaps even just one state). So do what no “national” company can do- embed yourself into the fabric of your community, support other local business owners, become a living, breathing part that your community can’t do without.
– If the time comes where people really don’t need me any more, then so be it. When you’re dealing with a financial service, I’m not sure self-serve everything is really the right answer. But if the market dictates that’s what it wants, it would suck, but I would have to roll with it.
– On the flip side, I know personally I don’t want to study to be a CPA so I can do my taxes. I have an accountant for that. I don’t want to go to law school. I have an attorney for that. I definitely am not planning on going to med school (I faint at the sight of blood). I have a doctor, thank you very much. So if someone wants to learn everything I’ve learned, and put it into practice because you don’t want to pay me, go for it. In fact, come work for me and I’ll pay YOU 😉
– Technology will be a tipping point and determine success or failure. And note I’m not saying here that you have to go balls to the wall and get a digital marketing system and a PR agency that costs you half a million dollars a year. What I am saying is that any agent that wants any hope for any sort of success in the future needs to have some sort of online presence. Get your local online listings squared away (note- the phone book- not so good an investment anymore), set up a Facebook page and use it to interact with your own customers– just get on there and start talking to people! It’s what you’ve done for years- just in a different way.