Agents & Brokers: Three Ways to Engage Carriers in 2020

The end of the calendar year is a time for reflection and planning. In the new year, insurers will likely continue investing in capabilities that improve speed to market, distributor service, and use of analytics. Agents and brokers who understand where carriers are investing in the new year can proactively engage and differentiate themselves in the distribution channel.

What can agents and brokers be doing to differentiate themselves in 2020? Here are three fundamental practices that agencies and brokers can incorporate to stand out in the eyes of their carrier partners and become part of the digital evolution journey.

1. Differentiate with culture.

The culture of an organization is one of the most important competitive assets for any organization, including insurance agents and brokers. Insurance carriers experience the culture of every agent and broker with each touchpoint and interaction. Regardless of the technology that is used, carriers still recognize that producer-underwriter relationships are a cornerstone of creating long-term success.

Agencies may be surprised by the level of credibility they can reach with carrier partners when they focus on a few key relationships and invest time into communicating their vision, values, business plan, success and failures, and expectations with those key partners on a consistent basis throughout the year. Agencies that are intentional in defining, communicating, celebrating, and protecting their culture with carriers and customers simply have greater opportunities to succeed.

2. Know the data and numbers.

The more carriers invest in data and analytics capabilities, the more important it will be for agents and brokers to demonstrate their expertise and understanding of their own operational data and customer experience metrics. All numbers tell a story, and agencies that are able to articulate their own insights on customer experience and producer success metrics have a high likelihood of being part of digital transformations with carriers.

3. Pursue a digital proof of concept (PoC) initiative with a partner carrier.

Carriers often think they know what agents want and how they can effectively use technology, but this is rarely the case. Most insurance professionals and leaders of insurance carriers have never worked at or owned an agency, and this becomes a real challenge when delivering digital capabilities into the channel.

While there are abundant InsureTech offerings in the market for carriers to embrace, insurers are often challenged with choosing capabilities that can be used and operationalized with agents and brokers. Rather than waiting for carriers to deliver new digital capabilities into the channel, agents and brokers can be proactive and take steps to engage insurance carriers early in development cycles and offer resources to prove out potential capabilities together.

It is clear that 2020 will bring more change to the distribution and servicing of insurance products. Agents and brokers who understand where carriers are investing and proactively engage with them with a genuine cultural and organizational presence, understanding of their own data and customer metrics, and resources to prove out digital capabilities will differentiate themselves in the market during the coming year.

For a more in-depth look at the Novarica 400under40 council and becoming a member, please go to https://www.400under40.com/.

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