On April 10, 2017, Safeco registered a new domain name, “Agentforthefuture.com.” According Safeco’s President, Tyler Asher, “Safeco created AgentfortheFuture.com to serve as a resource where we can share insights and ideas with all [independent agents], beyond those who partner with Safeco.”
Safeco’s new website asks all independent agents to respond to the question: what do you think independent agents and carriers must do now to prepare for the future? And asks for independent agents to “share your ideas, comments or questions.”
In Safeco’s view “future growth of the independent agency channel will partially be determined by how well independent agents and carriers anticipate and adapt to new technologies, shifting demographics and evolving customer preferences”
Safeco kicks of its focus on agent-for-the-future with results of a survey of 600 agents
Rather than just waiting for independent agents to respond Safeco took the initiative to survey over 600 independent agents to identify what they saw as the trends that would affect independent agents within the next three years.
The survey focused on the next three years to limit speculation to the foreseeable future where agents surveyed might identify specific steps independent agencies to prepare for 2020. The survey focused on these independent agents’ predictions of:
- How agent roles and business priorities are evolving
- The impact of customer habits and expectations on agency operations
- The effect of trends on employee as well as new customer recruitment and retention
- How technology is altering both day-to-day business and long-term growth potential
The following are selected charts from the survey’s results. A link to the full survey and Safeco’s new website for the future of the independent agent follow these charts.
Evolving roles of CSRs and producers
In the survey, agents reported that 37 percent of CSRs write a lot of new business and that 43 percent of producers provide a lot of service to their customers.
Current level of comfort with e-signing, telematics, and gap coverage for rideshare/homeshare
Independent agents surveyed showed relatively high comfort levels with some aspects of the sharing economy that thirty percent of the agents surveyed thought would have a major effect by 2020.
Anticipated changes in time allocated by independent agents now and in 2020
The survey found that many agents saw a shift in their time commitments from retaining and servicing clients to those activities that might grow their businesses. As more customer-related activities in the independent agency system are performed by CSRs and automated systems, survey participants saw more time for marketing.
How independent agents plan to grow over the next five years
The independent agents surveyed uniformly predicted a number of growth opportunities from cross-selling to new market segments and digital capabilities.
Changing demographics and technology affecting independent agents by 2020
The survey would not have been complete without questioning agents as to the demographic and technological changes evident to all and how they would affect their agencies.
More information on Safeco’s report, new website, and request for ideas and coments
The results of Safeco’s Agent for the Future survey, along with recommendations on how to develop a strategy for success, can be found in Safeco’s report, ”What it takes to be an Agent for the Future.”
The link to Safeco’s new website focused on independent agents is www.AgentfortheFuture.com.
Also, President Asher’s invitation for opinions or ideas on how independent agents can prepare for the future may be sent to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org