Accenture releases report highlighting market disruption for insurance agents
Accenture, a multinational management consulting and technology service firm, has released a new report that shows that independent agents in the insurance industry are not immune to digital disruption. The report makes not of changes in consumer behavior, the emergence of new technology, and the ongoing evolution of the insurance industry itself as potential threats to independent agents. Moreover, these agents see serious issues emerging in the market that could introduce some turbulence to their business.
Digital sales are creating some concerns among independent agents
The report from Accenture is based on a survey of independent agents in the property and casualty sector. In the survey, agents identified the growing prevalence of insurance companies selling policies online as a direct threat to their business. Approximately 39% of agents claimed that direct digital sales served as major competition for them. The majority of these agents suggested that the greatest competition coming from online channels takes the form of lower prices, which are more attractive to consumers. Another 48% of agents suggested that online channels offer better brand recognition and marketing opportunities.
Insurance industry continues to grow more digital
Many consumers are beginning to shop for coverage online, where they can find special offers and, in some cases, save money on the policies they are interested in. Much of the insurance industry has begun to establish a more formidable presence in the digital world, especially when it comes to social media and engagement. Several companies have established a strong digital presence in order to make themselves less aloof to consumers and improve the relationships they have with policyholders.
Agents downplay their ability to offer specialized advice to consumers
The report from Accenture also found that independent agents often downplay their ability to offer advice to their clients. Instead, agents often focus on drawing attention to competitive products, offer better customer experiences, and promote brand recognition. Offering specialized advice on coverage and other insurance issues was not seen as an adequate competitive advantage by most agents, despite their ability to work directly with consumers.