Digital, Accelerated: Why Agents Must Go Digital, Today

Customer Experience, Industry Experts, Personal Lines, Small Commercial Lines, Technology

Digital is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must. Against the backdrop of the global pandemic, this new article series will address the real questions IAs have as they accelerate their digital transformation.

Many of us in the independent agent channel expected 2020 to be a year of transformation: kicking off a new decade, technology seeping further and further into our daily lives, and the consumer appetite for digital being higher than ever. I’m certain that none of us expected a transformation quite like this, though.

COVID-19 has touched each and every one of us in unique, yet interconnected ways. Our world is incredibly different than it was just a few short months ago, and how we go about our daily lives – both personally and professionally – has changed seemingly overnight.

In looking forward, I truly believe this is both a time to slow down and a time to accelerate. We can spend more time with our families while strategically investing in the future of our businesses. We can isolate in our own homes while finding new ways to form deeper connections with our customers.

For many independent agents across the country, technology is the only thing keeping them connected and moving forward.

It’s interesting to be writing for Agent for the Future right now: the new truth is that all agents need to be agents for the future, today. Agents will continue to thrive, that we can be sure of – despite how the world is evolving around us, independent agents maintain their competitive advantage by offering customers the ease, choice and advice they need to make smart insurance decisions.

Yet thriving in today’s dynamic marketplace has become even more challenging, and retaining that competitive advantage requires a digital-forward approach now more than ever. This is the time for independent agents to double down on digital investments, so we can meet customers where they’re at: online.

Which is why I’m proud to introduce a new Agent for the Future series: Digital, Accelerated.

Some agents are exploring digital for the first time. Others are adding new tools and technologies into an already digital-forward strategy. Most will experience their fair share of growing pains.

We’re launching this series to minimize those growing pains and support independent agents no matter where they are in the digital transformation process. We’ll be offering ideas that can be implemented quickly and effectively in the coming days and weeks, because we know that digital is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must.

To ensure we’re addressing the real concerns that agents have during this unfamiliar time, the Liberty Mutual and Safeco team reached out to thousands of independent agents to better understand the challenges that are most pressing. We heard there are several areas of concern standing in the way of agents moving to a fully digital model, with the most important questions being how to:

  • Stay connected with customers without losing the personal touch
  • Quickly adopt new tools like eSignature to cut down on in-person interactions
  • Make up for lost foot traffic
  • Move coverage-critical services, such as payments, to digital when many customers remain digitally averse

These themes and more will be discussed throughout the series, which will include a new article released weekly, paired with a bank of tools and resources, to guide agencies in accelerating their digital action plans. Readers can expect Digital, Accelerated to tap into a diverse set of voices across the independent agent channel for practical advice, case studies and how-to guides for going digital, today.

Digital transformation is already hard enough. Going digital as the world requires we do so will be that much harder. Independent agents can trust that Agent for the Future will be there to guide them through.

What sorts of topics do you want to see this series cover? Comment below to let us know.

Tyler Asher

President, Independent Agent Distribution, Liberty Mutual Business Lines and Safeco Insurance

Tyler Asher is president of Independent Agent Distribution at Liberty Mutual, leading Safeco personal lines and Liberty Mutual business lines distribution through independent agents. Tyler joined Safeco in 1999 and has served in a variety of leadership roles, most recently as president, Safeco Insurance. He has a deep understanding of the industry and how carriers and independent agents must adapt together to succeed in the rapidly changing marketplace.

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Robert Pangalos
6 months ago

Attracting new business to the Agency ? On the commercial line side.

Robert Pangalos
6 months ago

attract New business on the commercial lines side

David Eaton
6 months ago

good leading letter. looking forward to seeing more.

Linda Sights
6 months ago

Sounds like this series will be most helpful.

Robin Pebsworth
6 months ago

What are Digital File “laws” or rules–scan and shred? How long to do you keep digital copies? Will a digital copy be sufficient to company requests or regulations?

Timothy Peddycoart
6 months ago

We’ve been digital for over a decade. I remember doing video when most people couldn’t stream and didn’t have smart phones. We’ve been paperless for some time too – it was a challenge getting staff to change. However, I think with things becoming so impersonal that people may actually appreciate human interacion. I know I sometimes do. It’s probably wise to serve in all channels but those who can remain accessible and human will likely crush bots and do it yourself self serve.

Eric Matthews
6 months ago

Exploring innovative ways to expand social media footprint as a methodology to stay connected with current customers and attract new customers. Incorporate with this the best strategy to expand SEO presence online.

Ron Keats
6 months ago

Just a quick thank you Tyler. I’ve spent most of my years in this industry mentoring and offering advice to fellow agents. Usually just a little sinks in but it’s still more than what they had before. I think this is a good thing you are doing for your agents. Many really need some help. Hopefully they will take some time to read your messages.

Majda Baltic
6 months ago

My office is 100% virtual. I do have a physical location for personal use and occasional agency field rep meetings but as far as clients, 100% of my sales are via internet, social media, phone, email etc. I structured my office this way from the opening in 2018 and it’s the best decision I have ever made! We are GROWING during COVID. March and April 2020 we hit record numbers in growth and new business and I could not be more pleased with my business plan. I can confidently say that COVID has had zero negative impact on our office.… Read more »

Adaora M
3 months ago
Reply to  Majda Baltic

Hi Madja,

I’m a new Independent agent who wants to handle leads virtually too. Wondering if you can give me some insight.

My email is Adorableidol2@yahoo.com. Hope to hear from you

Christy Hogan
6 months ago

I struggle with the balance of using the service center and also staying digitally in front of our clients so that they remember that they have an independent agent who manages their account.

Linda Schmaing
6 months ago

Definitely looking forward to this series. Need to share ideas about how to best interact with our clients “after Covid” compared to “before Covid”.

Bill Syddall
6 months ago

How do we best help tenured agency staff, who have a wealth of client and product knowledge, convert from old school servicing mindsets/flows and begin to embrace and utilize new technologies that connect with newer client servicing expectations.

Carol Kohl
6 months ago

Is there a back up plan if the world experiences a digital outage crisis?

Mark Calender
6 months ago

Good discussion. Look forward to more of your insights.

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