Insurance Business Magazine ran an interesting post in September 2022, discussing the idea of rethinking insurance brokerages with the goal of making them more people-centric. The post’s main premise was that people want to hear from their insurance brokers and agents more frequently. But is that true?
The question is actually a much broader one that transcends the insurance industry. We could ask it of any business, in any industry that works on the business-to-consumer (B2C) model. Simply put, do consumers want the companies they do business with to be personal friends?
People, Business, or Both
One of the statements in the Insurance Business article explains that some brokerages and agents are focusing less on people and more on the business aspects of what they do. No surprises there. Insurance is a business before anything else. One could argue that it is a people-oriented business due to the personal nature of insurance. But isn’t every business people oriented at the end of the day?
Whether you run a B2C or business-to-business (B2B) enterprise, you are ultimately dealing with the people who will choose to buy or not buy your products and services. You are always dealing with people. That takes us back to the original question of how frequently consumers want to hear from the businesses that they buy from.
Differences Among Clients
Answering the question may boil down to the customers a particular brokerage or agent deals with. For example, Dallas-based Benefit Mall is a general agency offering broker services to thousands of benefits brokers around the country. Those benefits brokers deal primarily with company owners, HR managers, and benefits managers.
By contrast, the family insurance brokerage with an office downtown specializes in property and casualty. They deal directly with consumers to sell and service car insurance, homeowners’ insurance, etc. The differences between the two customer bases is as stark as the differences between night and day.
The Insurance Business post is careful to point out the fact that consumers are often confused by insurance products. They do not know what they need or what they can get. And this is true for both benefits brokers and property and casualty brokers. Customers are confused by the insurance business. But does that mean they want to hear from their brokers on a regular basis?
Consumers Flooded with Information
I can only speak for myself when I say that I do not really want to hear from my insurance agent except to let me know that my policy is up for renewal or subject to some sort of change. I don’t really want to receive daily, weekly, or even monthly emails. I do not want phone calls.
I suspect I might not be alone. Modern consumers are flooded with information in the digital world. If it’s not email, it is push notifications on the phone or the constant ads that show up in all the apps we use. Another contact from yet another company comes off as just another unsolicited message that seeks to turn a business relationship into a personal one.
More Room for People
This is not to say that insurance brokers and agents should stop treating their customers like people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Insurance is still a people-oriented business. It is simply to say that maintaining regular contact is not the way to do it.
The best way to make a business people-oriented is to let the people you are serving control the discussion. Let them control the relationship and you respond accordingly. Otherwise, your business could become annoying.