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Independent Agents Convinced on Digital Tools, But Many Not Using Them Yet

Independent insurance agents don’t have to be convinced that digital technologies are vital to growing their businesses, according to the Insurance Digital Transformation Survey; but taking action is slow with more than half of respondents saying they lack key digital tools and automation like client portals, mobile apps, and claims download...
August 16, 2016

Independent insurance agents don’t have to be convinced that digital technologies are vital to growing their businesses, according to the Insurance Digital Transformation Survey; but taking action is slow with more than half of respondents saying they lack key digital tools and automation like client portals, mobile apps, and claims download. In addition, many agents are still using traditional modes of communication to connect with clients such as phone, email and fax. Fewer than half of agents today are utilizing text messages, social networks, instant messaging, and e-newsletters.

The Insurance Digital Revolution, an industry initiative organized by PIA, the ACORD User Groups Information Exchange (AUGIE) and the Agents Council for Technology (ACT) to drive adoption of digital technology, published the survey, which was designed to measure the industry’s current use of digital tools.

According to the survey, 43% of agents currently operate 24/7 using staff, automation, or a combination of both and less than one-quarter of agents have client portals (23%) or mobile apps (21%), demonstrating that there’s a lot of room for improvement.  But, when it comes to social media, agents are taking advantage.  Many are connecting with customers on Facebook (78%) and LinkedIn (68%). And agents are using the tools to generate new business with nearly three-quarters of agents saying they’re getting new business leads from the web and social media regularly.

“Although 91% of agents say their clients are not asking for a client portal and 92% say clients aren’t asking for a mobile app, that does not mean they don’t want them. Agents can’t assume that no news is good news. When it comes to customers’ digital requirements that’s never true,” said PIA National Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Becker. “Look at banking—many institutions did not know how popular online and mobile banking would be with their customers until they adopted it. The same is true for insurance. These technologies provide quick, easy and on demand access to policy and billing information, quoting and rating.”

The Insurance Digital Transformation Survey was conducted electronically among agents in the United States between March 8 and April 5, 2016. Overall, 4,304 agents, brokers, and Managing General Agents responded to the survey.

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