Other parts of this series:
Insurance agents play a key role in the insurance business. Integrating four dimensions—partner, growth seeker, collaborator and entrepreneur—they provide a personalized experience for customers and are excited to expand the business into new markets. In North America, Accenture research found that investments in customer experience and distribution innovations offer the highest return on investment. That’s why we recommend insurers focus on investing in innovations that will enable agents to do their best across the entire customer journey.
In our last post, we looked at the types of innovation investments insurers can make to empower agents as partners. This week, we’ll look at how insurers can support agents as growth seekers.
What does it mean for an agent to be a growth seeker?
Insurance agents often have no formal agent training. There is no university course, no formal universal curriculum and no consolidated method. Despite all that, it is a profoundly human profession that requires constant and consistent personal and professional development and improvement.
Agents, as growth seekers, are expected to stay informed about the latest product and coverage updates, while cultivating their own growth within the company values. Key aspects of the growth seeker include their ability to draw a career path when no formal structure exists, to learn from their mistakes and to increase their expertise.
What do agents as growth seekers need to be successful?
Primarily, growth-seeking agents need the flexibility to define their personal growth path at work, the time and a safe zone to adapt to new digital tools, especially if they’re not tech–savvy, and tools to share their personal knowledge and point of view with the community and with other agents.
According to a HubSpot sales survey in 2017, 50 percent of salespeople ask for tips to improve from their peers and from their network. That’s a wealth of additional value to be tapped for insurers willing to recognize the expertise that already exists within the agent team and find ways to help them share it.
Where digital innovations can empower agents as growth seekers
We recommend insurers consider digital innovations for growth-seeking agents in the following areas:
- Increase digital adoption at a quicker pace to make use of business opportunities.
- Provide a flexible growth path for new joiners based on their strengths to accelerate onboarding.
- Use agents’ performance KPIs as motivation to grow and suggest areas of improvement and growth.
- Empower expert agents to mentor newer agents.
- Provide training and material to ease and increase learning.
To make the most of the growth seeker dimension, insurers should give agents the means to push their limits, gain more expertise and become a source of influence for other agents within a culture of sharing. As Daniel Pink said in his book “Drive,” people are motivated when they have autonomy, mastery and purpose. In our view, insurance agents are no different than anyone else in this regard. If insurers give agents the tools to enable them to seek growth, whether they’re captive or independent agents, they’ll drive their own performance as well as that of the insurer.
If you’d like to talk about how Accenture could help your organization support and empower agents during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, at the same time making the most of your digital investment spend, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jim directly.
To learn more about our research into digital innovations, read our report: Where’s the payback on digital innovation in insurance?