From chatbots to social media, digital is a trend that has been building for decades. Here are seven digital capabilities strongly correlated with high revenue growth.
Customer expectations around digital are changing rapidly. To explore how independent insurance agencies are evolving to meet new expectations, Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance released the Rise of the Digital Insurance Agency report.
The report found that digitally savvy agencies grow faster—60% more on average—than their less-digital counterparts. The report also introduces the Agent for the Future™ Index, which measures the state of digital transformation in the independent agency channel and uncovered the seven most important revenue-driving digital capabilities (illustrated below).
“Digital is a trend that has been building for decades now, and COVID-19 has simply accelerated the need for transformation," says Tyler Asher, president of independent agent distribution at Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance. “While we know anecdotally that deeply digital independent agencies generate more leads, operate more efficiently and have happier customers, this research offers a clear picture of the business value digital can provide, which is that high digital adoption leads to faster growth."
The index, which surveyed nearly 600 U.S.-based independent agents and brokers, broke respondents into three groups—low, medium and high digital adopters. Overall, agencies in the low adoption group scored an average of 2.76 while high adopters scored an average of 6.76 on the 10-point scale.
Agencies within the low digital adoption group grew a year-over-year average of 7.4% while high adopters grew an average of 12%—equating to a more than 60% greater lift in revenue growth for highly digital agencies.
More than 20 digital capabilities were analyzed as part of the index, seven of which were strongly correlated with high revenue growth, giving agencies a better understanding of which capabilities to prioritize on their digital transformation journey. The seven opportunities span a range of capabilities across a spectrum of complexity, including fundamentals such as social media and online quotes; modernizations such as a self-service portal and live online chat; and innovations such as paid social media advertising, video quotes and policy reviews, and AI and chatbots.
The study also found that independent agents are finding value in digital marketing as a growth lever with more than 80% of high digital adopters planning to increase digital marketing efforts in the next year.
Further, one of the deepest digital divides between high and low adoption agencies is in the use of video. As many as 44% of high adopters plan to either start or continue leveraging video for quotes and policy reviews post-pandemic, with just 9% of low adopters indicating the same.
“Beyond the digital takeaways, the research findings also tell us that the independent agent channel is stronger and more agile than ever," Asher adds. “Independent agents were built to evolve and many are approaching this latest challenge with the same sense of adaptability that has allowed the channel to thrive for more than a century."
Will Jones is IA editor-in-chief.