It certainly feels like we’ve all been living in a paradoxical existence that has voided time of its previous necessities.
If we’re stating the obvious, anything happening closer than six feet has become questionable behavior.
But if we were to state a more specific brand of obvious, what would that be for the world of insurance?
What changed behaviors are here to stay?
Of course, there will be much debate if Starbucks will ever directly hand you a cup of coffee again.
Or more importantly, when will it be acceptable to expose your chin in public and if every retail establishment will stop looking like a discount hockey rink.
These are much more important global issues that are a conversation for another day.
Today, however, let’s talk about the big things I heard a lot of really smart people say.
Work From Home Forever
This will certainly be a split decision, but the balance of power has forever swung in your employee’s favor.
It’s well documented that I was an early adopter of the insurance work from home movement.
Now that curve looks more like a speed slide with even the most staunch laggards becoming mute masters. They might have even reserved a spot for their cat, Mr. Scratchy, at every meeting.
Of course, there are plenty of people clamoring to regain some version of a “normal” work environment. However, they will no longer be in the majority.
Now, working in an office will carry as strong of a stigma as “working” from home did just two years ago.
Video Conferencing Isn’t Going Anywhere
You might want to buckle in because you’re going to start to notice a strong theme on this ride.
Good luck trying to tell your client they need to come into the office for that renewal meeting. That genie isn’t going back in the bottle.
Sure there will be a time and a place for face-to-face client meetings. But again, they will be in the minority of your interactions.
Clients expect the option for a “contactless” experience now. This is definitely one of the only times the intangibility of insurance comes in handy.
Now if we could only do something about all that paper?
E-signatures were already well on their way to becoming the standard. So, you might want to cancel that next batch of pens with your agency logo on them.
Days On The Road Long Gone
It’s easy to see how this is the next domino to fall and really at this point is almost implied.
But here comes the most obvious (and jarring) statement of this entire article. We spent (and possibly wasted) a staggering amount of time and money traveling.
Of course, the level of “travel” you experienced is relative. It doesn’t matter if it was just around town or you had a Delta Diamond Medallion in your pocket.
The cost and need to go “to and from” has been exposed worse than a Milli Vanilli live performance.
Again, the default reaction won’t be to jump in the car or hop on a plane. Instead, they will be considered the last line of defense and sometimes avoided at all cost.
The More Things Change…The More They Stay the Same
There is one elephant in the room that requires addressing.
After we all took a few steps back, there is a reality for a good number of agents that remained largely unaffected.
Business wasn’t interrupted in any meaningful way and revenues held steady, some even grew.
This is definitely an aspect of the industry to be grateful for, however can’t be the most important lesson.
Our Products Were Unprepared
While our business might not have been hit as hard, there are certainly others that were not so lucky.
Of course, it’s hard to predict the unpredictable, but in a lot of ways, that’s the business we’re in.
It’s hard to imagine insurance not being able to play a bigger role in helping businesses through this time.
This certainly might be the most short-lived of the bunch. If there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s finding more things to cover and collecting premium. We can talk about exclusions later…
No More Customer Experience Excuses
If the last 700 words weren’t evidence enough, it’s worth repeating one more time.
We almost waited too long to listen to our customers.
If the whole world wasn’t dealing with an equally disruptive experience, things could have turned out a lot different.
Our adoption rate should hopefully be changed forever. Because most of the things we were fighting aren’t so bad after all.
The Bottom Line
It’s certainly possible applying the word “forever” to any of this is a bit hyperbolic.
Habits do slip, but it’s going to be a good decade before any of this starts to look the way it used to.
In the meantime, you might want to get started on those plans for your new home office.