Tyler Asher, president of independent agent distribution for Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance, shares what Liberty Mutual and Safeco’s new research reveals about how agents need to adapt to meet the needs of millennial customers.
Independent agents are the best advocates for consumers seeking insurance coverage. The value proposition of independent insurance agents boils down to their unique ability to offer customers the ease, choice and advice they need to make wise insurance decisions.
However, a survey by Liberty Mutual and Safeco found that many consumers—especially younger consumers—do not fully understand the value of independent agents.
In fact, 70% of the millennials surveyed thought they could replicate what their agent did for them on their own, and 79% took other actions while working with an independent agent—such as getting their own quotes.
Independent agents need to help millennial consumers see past “cheap and easy” options. The latest Agent for the Future™ research report provides insights into how agents can demonstrate their value to win millennial customers. The research shows that millennials want what agents have to offer. But the methods of providing ease, choice and advice are evolving.
Ease—creating simple, frictionless customer experiences
Millennials are more likely than older generations to learn about and choose agents online, according to our research, as 79% of millennials who don’t work with an agent said they could foresee themselves learning about an agent through digital engagement, such as online search, review sites and social media.
Consumers now expect their agents to have a digital footprint and be available 24/7. “Ease of doing business” no longer simply means the behind-the-scenes work agents do on behalf of a consumer. It also means making yourself accessible through multiple channels.
Choice—giving customers options
It’s easier than ever before for insurance shoppers to obtain insurance quotes online. Our research found that nearly 1 in 5 insurance shoppers got their own quotes separately even when they were working with an agent.
However, our research also found that millennials are no more price-conscious than older generations. Their top consideration when purchasing insurance is getting the most comprehensive coverage for a good price.
Independent agents’ ability to offer choice must be more than selling on price. Instead, independent agents can help customers get a full view of their risk profile, then offer them a breadth of comprehensive coverage options.
Of the millennials we surveyed, 80% said they want their agent to help them understand insurance. They want their agent to explain their coverage and how it works, what to expect if they have a claim and more.
Strategic advice should be part of every step of the client journey. For example, since millennials are likely to research online while making insurance decisions, agents should establish themselves as experts online. When presenting policy options, agents should talk clients through how they arrived at the suggestions and explain the coverage in detail.
We sincerely believe that independent agents will continue to win in the marketplace, and we’re dedicated to providing products, services and insights that help them do it.
By Tyler Asher, president of independent agent distribution for Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance.