2024 insurance agent experience trends & regulatory compliance updates

An industry outlook from Vertafore and SILA experts.

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Each year, leading compliance and distribution experts from both Vertafore and SILA share their industry outlooks in a panel discussion designed to offer practical guidance for competitive insurance professionals. Summarized below are some of the top trends they see driving the industry forward, as well as recent regulatory changes worth keeping in mind.

More agents are entering (and staying in) the industry…

Based on producer data from states that leverage Vertafore’s Sircon, license applications are up 20% from 2020 to 2023, with a corresponding 24% increase in insurance license renewals. Changes in the broader job market during the pandemic drove some new entrants into the insurance sector, but that increase in licensees has been sustained for multiple years. Overall, there’s been an 8% increase in individual appointments, which shows that the industry is continuing to grow steadily. However, this growth adds pressure on the systems that support licensing applications and processing, with greater need for automated credentialing services.

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…But many more insurance professionals are on the cusp of retirement.

In the next six years, 50% of the current insurance workforce will become eligible for retirement, and within the next ten years or so at least half of them will have retired. The long-awaited “silver tsunami” is now plainly on the horizon. This imminent shift creates a greater imperative for insurers and brokers to prioritize acquiring, educating, and retaining new talent, with the necessary investments in training and agent experience. To remain competitive over the next decade, companies must prepare to facilitate a large-scale knowledge transfer from one generation to the next.  Proactive organizations already bracing for this significant demographic transformation are focusing on developing pipeline partnerships with universities so that new graduates can learn about available careers in insurance they might not have considered otherwise.

As businesses define their strategies to attract top talent from tech-dependent younger generations, a solutions provider such as Vertafore can deliver the seamless integration necessary to deliver a consistently excellent digital experience for agents.

Connectivity between carriers and agencies is better than ever, but greater uniformity remains a goal.

Given the growing focus on automation to reduce manual data input and ensure better agent experience, carriers and agencies are working closely together to increase connectivity within integrated platforms. Similarly, it is now common for licensing and commissions to be managed together, versus in standalone systems. Less time spent navigating separate portals translates to better efficiency. However, from an agency perspective, appointments and other processes are not yet fully uniform across carriers, which is why it is important for carriers to take a comprehensive approach to distribution management that includes streamlined onboarding.

2024 insurance regulatory updates to follow:

  • Independent versus company adjusters: The ways different states handle reciprocity between these two license classes has generated a lot of conversation, but an independent adjuster license may suffice in states that do not license company adjusters. 
  • Simplified renewals and appointments process in New York: Previously, all license renewals and appointments for property and casualty or life and health had to be submitted via the Department of Financial Services’ state website. Now, these transactions can be handled through Vertafore’s Sircon platform.
  • Updates coming on NASAA’s proposed annuity best interest standard: Due to opposition that emerged during the open comment period, an updated version is expected in the coming months. According to the Insured Retirement Institute, NASAA’s revised model would restrict access to specific annuity products, introduce unnecessary difficulties to retirement planning, and offer no added consumer protection benefits.
  • 40 states have now adopted the NAIC annuity best interest standard: The best interest standard is a model designed to provide consumer protection when it comes to annuity sales and includes required training for licensees. That number will continue to  increase as adoptions by two more states—Utah and Vermont—are slated to go into effect later this year.
  • Cybersecurity and data privacy laws on the rise: Recently, New York and New Jersey each passed comprehensive new cybersecurity and data privacy laws to increase transparency and provide greater consumer protections. Laws like these increase requirements for companies to keep consumers’ personal data secure through tools such as multi-factor authentication. The laws also give individuals the right to request deletions or opt out of data usage entirely.  

For additional information on these and other regulatory topics—and for a more thorough industry outlook from our experts—watch the 2024 Running Start panel discussion in its entirety.  

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