Looking Ahead to 2022

Michael Miller | December 4, 2021

As I look ahead to next year, I can’t help but be excited for what is in store for independent insurance agents. In the business of protecting people and companies from risk, insurance has long been considered a conservative industry. But technological innovations are breathing new life into our industry and helping us connect more powerfully with our customers to deliver better products and better service. How could I not be excited for these changes?

We’ll Build Deeper Relationships with Our Customers

If you currently measure your customer relationships by the number of phone calls you make or emails you send, it is time think bigger. In 2022, customers want to have long-term relationships with you and your agency. It is up to you to reject the transactional approach most agents take with customer relationships and adopt a more holistic view.

Assume your customers will be with you for the long haul. Every interaction you have with a customer is a part of their customer journey with you and helps build your relationship with them. Every email, phone call, or in-person visit is your opportunity to get to know them better so you can deliver an exceptional insurance experience for them. Every time they visit your website or social media pages is your opportunity to share your expertise and be a helpful resource for them. When customers feel like you’re invested in them and their success, they will reciprocate that care and attention with brand loyalty.

Policies Will Become More Personalized

One way you can build your relationships with customers and embrace an industry trend is to personalize the customer experience at your agency. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever for you to customize and personalize the quote, review, and claims experiences for your customers.

When you think about it, your agency holds and protects a lot of data about your customers. This gives you an opportunity to use data insights to deliver a more personalized experience to your customers, from cross-selling life or umbrella policies to adding personal touches with birthday cards or house anniversary emails. Offering a wider range of products and services empowers you to create a personalized package for each of your customers, increasing their loyalty to your agency.

Tech Innovations Will Continue

Illustration of a robot on a phone screen saying "hi!"The last two years forced carriers to innovate across all areas of their business. Three years ago, many claims required an in-person appointment with an adjuster. Today, most carriers offer app-based claims experiences that streamline the process for customers. Many also use drone technology to assess damage without the need for interaction with a claims adjustor. Technology has completely transformed the claims experience for customers, and I can’t imagine that we’ll be going back to the old way of doing things in 2022 or beyond.

Technological innovations are transforming the quoting and customer service experiences, too. Insurtech, the tech innovations that help make the insurance industry more efficient, will continue to expand as a service for both agents and customers. Insurtech uses automated and artificial technology to improve the offerings of a carrier or agency. Smart Choice® carrier SIS Insure is an example of a carrier in the insurtech space.

The reason insurtech and other innovations are so important is this: soon, a significant part of your agency’s business will come from products or services that aren’t offered yet. How significant? A recent Deloitte study predicted that by 2024, approximately a third of an agent’s premium volume will come from products or services not offered today.


Chatbots

Chatbots are a hot customer service trend for insurance agencies. Adding an automated chatbot to your agency’s website allows you to serve your customers 24/7, whenever it is convenient for them. Chatbots can answer common questions, be a point of contact for leads, perform common tasks such as sharing insurance cards, and free up employee time.


Most agencies offer insurance products, but Deloitte predicts services will become just as important to an agency’s revenue stream. Agencies will use customer data insights to provide service-driven offerings, not just products. In this model, an insurance policy becomes one part of a package of products and services that help people run their businesses or their lives.

2022 is shaping up to be an exciting and powerful year for insurance agents. It is up to each of us to hop on the innovation train and use emerging technologies to improve the customer experience and keep our agencies profitable in the long-term. Get in touch with your State Director to learn more about how Smart Choice® and our carriers can help.

Cover of the 2021 Issue 6 Smart Choice Magazine titled "2021 Year in Review"2021 Year in Review

Even though we turned the calendar on 2020, the pandemic lingered, and so did the obstacles for many industries, including ours. Yet Smart Choice, our agents and carrier partners all worked together to hit some amazing milestones and put together another great year in the books. Check out the 2021 Issue 6 of Smart Choice Magazine for all of the milestones and achievements of 2021 and what we have to look forward to in 2022 (hint: there's a lot!).

Read the Magazine