The insurance agent of the future

EY recently surveyed 530 P&C and life insurance agents

The direct channel has a major impact on the distribution landscape, as customers become the focal point for every transaction and sale. More agents consider the market shift toward online or direct sales a major constraint in the growth of their business. This concern is expressed by life insurance and property and casualty (P&C) agents across the board — whether selling commercial or personal lines.

Less paperwork, better sales tools and greater simplicity in processes from carriers will enable agents to be more responsive to customer servicing, claims and product development. Emerging technologies such as digital, wearables, telematics and usage-based insurance (UBI) are providing data sources for underwriting and analytical capabilities to better manipulate and interpret data. These are improving the way insurance companies manage back-office functions and detect cyber threats and other risks. The future is tied to innovation and product simplification, which represents bold cross-selling opportunities for carriers.

EY recently surveyed 530 P&C and life insurance agents to better understand trends, growth strategies and ways in which engagement rules have changed. They were asked about carrier selection, support and perceived value, as well as future growth engines and how they see their role as agents evolving in three to five years.

In this report, we identify four key themes that emerge from our survey:

  • The threat of direct-to-consumer and digital business models is driving insurance agents’ desire to use digital and social sales tools
  • Agents expect carriers to enable simple customer and agent experiences, which in turn will drive agent loyalty
  • The agent of the future is looking for innovative, customized products to meet changing market and customer demands
  • Agents see close collaboration with carriers (more access to underwriters, less servicing by agents) as driving future growth
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