The Connected Business of Insurance
April 16, 2013
Virtual Business Drivers of Change
While traditional businesses and retail storefronts are a mainstay in communities across the country, virtual insurance agencies devoid of any physical location at all are capable of serving customers from anywhere in the world. As a technology consultant to insurance agencies, this is a fascinating trend based on key drivers in the changing landscape of insurance business.
Virtual agencies thrive on two drivers that underlie the need for insurance agencies to change the way they do business:
Driver 1: Mobility
Consumers flash their phones to board planes, buy coffees, and everything in between. Mobile device adoption is skyrocketing, and consumers expect to be able to carry out any type of business transaction using one. As of June 2012, nearly 55 percent of mobile subscribers owned smartphones.1 And that’s not including consumers who connect via laptop or tablet.
- Agents must provide mobile customer service options to the connected consumer.
- Agencies must make it possible for staff to conduct business in the field via mobile web-enabled devices.
Driver 2: Talent Acquisition
Increased mobility means telecommuters have reached unprecedented numbers. By the time approximately 50% of current agency staff retire over the next 10 years2, will the next generation of talent be willing to work in a conventional office? Attracting the best talent will increasingly require offering flexibility.
Implication: Two potential models
- Agencies can extend the physical office and increase staff’s mobile capability with devices and telecommuting options.
- Companies can establish a virtual agency built on a staff of telecommuters.
What do you think about virtual business? Is your agency moving in this direction?
Steve Anderson is the president of Anderson Network, an insurance agency consulting firm and executive editor of The Anderson Agency Report (TAAR). He can be reached at steve [at] taareport.com.
1“Two Thirds of New Mobile Buyers Now Opting for Smart Phones.” Nielsen Newswire. Nielsen.com. 12 July 2012. Web. 12 April 2013.
2“2012 Agency Universe Study.” Conducted by Big “I” and Future One. Independentagent.com. Web. 12 April 2013.