Think Google Compare, Metromile (pay-per-mile auto insurance) or Guevara (auto premium pooling). Even outside of our industry, shopping experiences like Amazon and innovations like self-driving cars are disrupting how we do business and engage with customers.

And as Thomas Meyer wrote in a recent Accenture Insurance blog post, even greater changes are down the road. How great? This engaging video from Accenture helps put it in perspective:

Just last month, Ryan Handley from Agency Nation, one of my favorite insurance bloggers, wrote about digital disruption in terms of what’s happening with consumer trends. In his post he said, “The New Normal is a term we use to describe the environment dictated by the modern insurance consumer, which has created opportunity for digital disruption in the independent insurance industry.”

Handley calls out social media, the millennial generation, mobile technology, price-based marketing and the self-service consumer as some of the key elements that are creating that new normal. The modern insurance consumer that Handley writes about is already a reality, of course. But there’s an even more digitally demanding generation out there: millennials.

Last week, Kevin Jenné published a post on this blog about new research from Safeco that shows independent agents are well-positioned to appeal to the millennial generation’s values. But he also made the point that the IA's value proposition of ease, choice and advice won’t matter much if these consumers can’t connect with you in a human way through digital technology.

Consider a recent experience I had with my dentist. Last week at about 6 a.m., I remembered I needed to reschedule my dentist appointment. I knew that by the time I got to the office and the receptionist was in, I would either be too busy to make the call, or I would have simply forgotten. So I emailed my request. Two days later, I have yet to receive a response from my dentist.

I’m no millennial and still, that type of experience doesn’t cut it. In fact, I didn’t even like having to write the email. I would have preferred to log in to a portal, reschedule the appointment and be done with it.

I wondered, if my dentist is not ready to deliver on my expectations today, how will he be ready for the digital demands of the growing millennial generation?

I’ll bet you are much more responsive to email than my dentist is. But are you thinking about what parts of your business will be disrupted next – and how you will evolve to stay competitive? Have you considered video chat or contracting for 24-hour service? Are you putting resources into mobile technology, more web functionality or going paperless?

The community we’re building with this IA Blog is about encouraging thinking for future success so we can ensure the agent of today is also the agent for the future.

Let’s hear your responses, questions and biggest challenges from digital disruption in the comments section below.


The author, Jill Brown, is a social community and digital campaign strategy lead at Safeco Insurance