Think you should sell life insurance online?
Two questions plague many of us in this business: who are my prospective customers and where can I find them?
The traditional model for independent insurance agents is using direct mail leads and knocking them off one at a time at the kitchen table.
It has worked that way a long time.
The new model is digital: sell life insurance online.
It?s an indisputable, disruptive wave of change in our business that experts say will sweep away many of the agents who believe in reading a room, not a computer screen.
It?s the Post Office versus FedEx. It?s the 35mm camera versus the smart phone.
It?s mobile anything.
It?s not all gloom and doom. But, getting your head wrapped around how to sell life insurance online is something that independent agents need to consider and include as part of their insurance agent training.
3 reasons you should learn how to sell life insurance online:
- 84% of U.S. households have a computer.
- 73% of U.S. households have high speed Internet service.
- 72% shop online at least monthly.
Now, pile on findings from a recent report by Ernst and Young consulting on the future of the insurance business:
- Straightforward, easy-to-understand products will be of great appeal.
- Streamlined underwriting using data analytics will rapidly expand.
- Distribution strategies will expand beyond the traditional paradigm.
- Digital and Internet-based technologies will continue to alter consumer expectations and behavior.
Many believe agents who choose not to sell life insurance online are doomed.
My slightly over-simplified and less dramatic conclusion is that more people will buy life insurance online as long as the products are simple and the process is fast and easy.
That?s not everyone. Not even close.
The Ernst and Young report accurately points out that this rapid transition to digital commerce in insurance isn?t a one-size-fits-all solution.
It points out that the ?middle market? will remain underserved as the big players in our industry flock to the edges: those who truly only need a simple solution and those with money.
This is great news.
Not everyone will buy life insurance online. Not every life insurance product will be simple and fast to deliver.
There will continue to be customers with complex needs who will demand to know what?s under the hood. They want to know exactly where their money is going. They want to see who they are buying from.
They don?t have to be wealthy to have these characteristics.
We should be in attack mode. Technology is actually on our side by helping our industry be better at targeting and serving customer needs. The competitive challenge thrown in our faces as independents is to bring increased clarity to our prospecting efforts.
Those who sell life insurance online already know who they are chasing.
The independent agents resisting must step up their game:
- Age and income aren?t good enough. Press your lead brokers for more insight into their targeting methods. Push them to include this as part of their insurance agent training. If all they know is age and income then consider a new list broker.
- Become a student of the customer. Better yet, TELL your lead brokers who you want to target. There are so many sources that can help you define the right prospect for you. While combing through data can sometimes be tedious, it is where the magic lies.
- Capitalize on relationships. The main reason insurance agents don?t get referrals is because they don?t ask. Enough said about that.
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