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187 Million Reasons Your Insurance Agency Needs to Take Technology Seriously

Posted on May 10, 2016 by Guy Weismantel

Digital Insurer blog header

This is not a trend. I repeat: this is not a trend.

Drastic technological innovation is the main force behind the disruptive changes happening in insurance industry, but you have to remember that these technological changes, at their most basic level, are a means to an end. Tech trends are driven by customer appetites.

The reason 187.5 million people have smartphones in the United States is because they allow us to do more of the things we want to do, do them better, and do them faster.The rapid adoption of new technologies by the market is a signal and representation of the positive experiences they allow us to have and the excellent service they allow us to facilitate. 

A smartphone connects us with a friend across the world, providing an otherwise unattainable experience that we now can't imagine living without. Smartphones provide us with instant access to information, allowing us to quickly service our customers and allow them walk away with content while trusting in our brand.

Great technology doesn't need to replace humans, it provides them with the ability to be MORE efficient, more connected, and more secure. More Human. 

Moore's law

There will never be less technology in business.

Moore's law tells us that micro-chip performance doubles every two years meaning that computers can get faster, smaller, and more powerful. Business requires us to produce a profit, so any business with money to invest and the desire to outperform their competition is going to adopt the newest, most efficient technology giving them an edge over the competition. 

This is precisely why it's so important for us to stay informed about all of the possible ways that new technology is impacting the world of insurance. As "cool" as smartphones are (I love having instant access to my fantasy teams), there are also very concrete business reasons for having one. Consumer use of technology will affect your business and the insurance industry as a whole. Take for example a discussion we were having on Twitter (@Vertafore) this week with AskKodiak:

Mobile tweet

We can make the hypotheses that as technology continues to improve, humans who live in a capitalist society like ours will continue to adopt it. Slowly but surely, every industry in the world is adopting technology to enhance their output and consumer adoption is becoming a global phenomenon

So whether you choose to admit it or not, technology is affecting every aspect of your business.

But what's really interesting is how that technology has rooted itself firmly in our lives and business practices. We're beginning to understand that some of the biggest impacts tech has on our day-to-day lives are some of the least likely, and most human outcomes. Things we didn’t even consider when we originally decided it was a good idea to adopt the technology in the first place: our relationship with the technology itself. 

Customer-centric design

Do you have a personal relationship with your technology?

Let's take a look at the same example above about the number of smartphones in the United States. Out of the 187 million smartphone owners, 
100 million people have iPhones. Why is the iPhone so dominant? Is it because it's the cheapest? No. The most waterproof? Obviously not. The most shatter proof? Heck no, I've been through 2 screens in the last two years! It's because it has the best design. People don't just enjoy the utility (the ability to Facetime and play games), they enjoy the way they interact with the phone. They enjoy the way it makes them feel.

If you told me my job today was to send out 1,000 text messages all day from my old flip phone instead of using speech-to-text on my new iPhone I would probably quit right there on the spot. Not only would you be forcing me to interact with a clumsy, undesirable user experience, it would just be a bad use of my time. Simply put, it would be a poor business decision.

Smartphone technology

Every business decision is a technology decision

We now live in an era in which every business consideration must pass through a technology filter before we come to a final conclusion. Is it really worth your valuable time to drive across town for something when Amazon can have it to you by the end of the day?

That's why, over the next two months, I'm going to be discussing how we can manage and improve today's workforce by leveraging new technology since, at the end of the day, your people, and their ability to do their jobs well, is what puts money in your pocket. 

We'll talk through strategies and solutions for maximizing employee performance and engagement, again, providing you with actionable takeaways and pointing you in the right direction when it comes to making decisions about how you want to integrate technology into your agencies practices. 

With that being said, I wanted to shed some light on the 6 main areas I see forward-thinking agencies are embracing as opportunities for innovation. Six
 areas that you might not have considered ripe for technological disruption. 

1. Process planning
2. Employee relations
3. Recruiting and selection
4. Training and development 
5. Performance management and compensation 
6. Strategic support 

I will dive much deeper into these six areas over the next two months, including interviews with experts and leaders in the insurance industry. But the main take away for today is to think about how you're currently leveraging technology in any of these 6 areas of your business, and how that technology either helps or hinders your workforce. You can download our newest eBook on managing your agency workforce here: 

Download the eBook

Ask yourself, would your workforce be more productive, more engaged, and have higher morale if you provided them with iPhones or flip phones? I think you know the answer. 

See you next week.

Mr. Weismantel is the Vice President of Marketing at Vertafore. With 20 years of marketing and financial leadership in companies such as Microsoft, Business Objects, Baxter HealthCare, Caremark International, and Expedia, Guy’s career has focused on bringing differentiated products to market and providing the “compelling reason to purchase” for customers and prospects alike.

Guy has a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


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