The new year is upon us and now is an excellent time to think about 2019 industry trends. Having a good handle on what to expect is essential when making your goals and projections for the new year.
All in all, 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year for insurance agents. Technology continues to change the way we live, which in turn changes insurance needs and available products. Further, automation improvements and efficiency gains are possible for agencies that adopt and use new processing technologies.
Anticipating what is coming in the new year also helps your agency seize opportunities and prepare for challenges. Read on for some of the most important trends every independent agent should watch for in 2019.
The gig and sharing economies push innovation in personal policy endorsements
The gig economy continues to push insurance innovation in 2019. As this subset of the economy strengthens its roots, insurance providers will come up with policies and endorsements to protect this ever growing class of workers.
Because the gig and sharing economy is made up of workers whose risk lies somewhere in between a personal insurance policy and a commercial insurance policy, insurance will continue to innovate in response to this growing class of workers and entrepreneurs.
In detail, the problem with the gig and sharing economies from an insurance perspective is personal insurance policies exclude coverage for any commercial endeavor. Also, gig and peer to peer workers are not suited for typical commercial insurance policies, due to cost or underwriting guidelines.
So where does this leave the insurance industry, gig workers and the independent agents who serve them? The independent agent must find ways to fill the gaps for clients. More insurance companies are offering add-on endorsements to personal policies for gig workers and those who participate in the sharing economy.
In 2019, look for more insurance carriers to provide special policies and endorsements as a response to the gig economies. Innovation in the commercial insurance realm will include affordable, rated by transaction insurance for commercial endeavors. For example, pay per night policies for Airbnb hosts.
Still, independent agents must do due diligence when it comes to counseling policyholders who may be engaged in the gig or sharing economy. Such due diligence protects policyholders from risk as well as agents from potential errors and omission claims.
Automation and technology lands in the back office
While much has been made of the impact of technology on the consumer side of insurance, automation will begin making bigger waves for the back end of the business. Underwriting, processing and even workforce management tasks will become more streamlined and automated. Look for Insurtech companies to turn even more of their attention to assisting insurance companies with time and resource-consuming back office work.
Insurtech’s move to the back office signals two trends for 2019. First, technology companies are listening to the insurance industry. They are beginning to understand the pain points of the business and are working to provide solutions. Secondly, insurance professionals will have more time to extend themselves and their resources where they are truly needed – relationship building.
Privacy laws will continue to evolve
Even as the insurance industry dives deep on the management and use of big data, look for consumer privacy laws to spread and strengthen. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) restricts the commercial use of private information in the European Union and any company doing business with the EU is subject to comply.
California has taken note and passed similar regulations. More states are sure to follow in 2019.
Independent agents must be prepared to comply with such regulations as they arise. If updating or installing a new data management system is on your 2019 to do list, ensure the system is flexible enough to accommodate changing regulations.
Online comparison sites continue to bring healthy competition
New online comparison sites pop up every day. The sites allow consumers to comparison shop a variety of insurance companies quickly and easily. While there is a market for this service that caters mostly to shoppers who make their insurance decision based on price alone, independent agents can continue to be the star in the show when it comes to service and advice. To become their clients’ trusted advisors agents must double down on their efforts to add value across different channels. Providing useful content to customers through mobile platforms, vlogs, and social media platforms will help agents retain and recruit customers in 2019. Still, to remain competitive, agents must be sure to work diligently to match their customers with the best possible insurance policy at the best rate. Agents must also stay alert for new insurance markets that offer something unique and special to their clients.
Driverless automobile technology
Driverless cars are here to stay. Despite some hiccups, General Motors is on track to release a driverless vehicle in 2019 for taxi service. Other car manufacturers will surely follow suit. Driverless vehicles raise interesting questions for the insurance industry. Unknowns concerning liability and underwriting will continue to be debated.
Independent agents must stay aware of the rise of driverless vehicles and the effects on the insurance landscape. Being able to inform your clients when questions concerning driverless technology arise places you in a position of expertise as the trend takes hold.
Mobile channels continue to top marketing efforts
Mobile channels continue to grow in 2019, providing the most direct and efficient route for independent agents to offer value-added services and marketing to customers.
Mobile technology allows ease of premium collection, policy changes, and service through mobile applications. Independent agents can also make meaningful connections with clients or potential clients by providing applications that are helpful. Replacement cost calculators for homeowners and healthy habit trackers for health insurance clients are examples.
The independent agent role continues to be in demand
Even with advancing technology sweeping the insurance industry the role of the trusted advisor remains essential. Policyholders rely on their agents to provide advice and expertise.
To maintain their role as the trusted advisor, agents must stay informed on trends and technologies that are changing the industry.
Agentero believes in the winning combination of the independent insurance agent and cutting-edge technology. Let us help you reach your 2019 goals!