Does the survival of the independent insurance distribution system require a wholesale revolution led by the Millennial young turks? That seems a common theme lately. We want to know what you think.
In a recent Insurance Journal article, Jason D. Cass, owner of the JDC Insurance Group based in Centralia, Ill. says that there is a revolution going on in insurance that is comparable to the Arab Spring in that it is fueled by young people using social media.
Clearly, something is needed to shake up the status quo if independents are to retain a meaningful part of mind- and market-share. And social media will play a critical role. As we noted last June, IBAO leadership are convinced that insurance consumers’ increased use of on-line facilities will increase deterioration of independents’ market share if the latter fail to adopt social media in a meaningful way.
Did the industry generally and the independent channel specifically take heed? We don’t know of any statistics, but our sense is that some insurers and brokers are taking tentative steps, but no landslide of activity. Are we wrong? Let us know!
We do know, most recently from a recent Erst & Young study, that insurance consumers are moving to on-line for insurance in large numbers, but are also looking for help from trained professionals to shape a customized insurance programme. Commenting on this in Canadian Insurance Top Broker, Doug McPhie, Ernst & Young’s Canadian insurance leader said: “The choice is clear: suppliers must move toward a more consumer-centric business model, or risk being left behind as clients seek alternatives.”
And it is clear that some younger agents – such as the a fore-mentioned Jason Cass – are prepared to rely on the new channels to the exclusion of ‘older’ methods to meet these expectations. “I am a virtual agency,” Cass is quoted as saying in the Insurance Journal article. “I work out of my house. I don’t do any advertising. I’ve done four ads in 28 months. I do a lot of Facebook marketing. I do a lot of online social media marketing. That’s basically how I drive my business.”
Cass is not alone. We have posted on Ryan Hanley, another 20-something agent who believes that Millennials want and need a different relationship than that offered by Boomers. In a seminal manifesto, he writes: “The problem is not that Millennials do not relate to Independent Agents… The real issue is that Independent Agents do not relate to Millennials.”
So here’s the question:
Should Boomers (and some GenXers, too) get out of the way and let the Millennials shape the next 30 years, or can there be a blending of generational approaches?
Let us know what you think.