To effectively engage with today’s tech-enabled consumer, today’s financial professionals need to adapt their practices and adopt new digital tools. Consider:
- Sixty-three percent of consumers expect to conduct more of their financial business online in the next five years.
- Almost 4 in 10 millennials prefer meeting with an agent or advisor virtually rather than in person.
- More than 7 in 10 consumers indicate that they would like to educate themselves about insurance on an agent or advisor’s website.
- Four in 10 consumers are likely to check an agent’s or advisor’s social media presence and activities.
LIMRA research shows advisors are incorporating digital tools in all aspects of their business from communicating with current clients to prospecting and marketing. Almost 8 in 10 advisors see digital solutions most helpful for marketing and client acquisition (46%) and ongoing client engagement (31%).
While a personal relationship with an agent or advisor is highly valued and not going away, the nature of that relationship is changing, incorporating a digital element. Advisors are increasingly supplementing their face-to-face client meetings with digital tools. Today 3 in 10 advisors use virtual meetings to connect with their clients, but 55% say they plan to use it more in the future. About 4 in 10 advisors use social media to engage with clients and prospects but almost half of advisors plan to use social media more in the future.
Many say they plan to use social media to identify new business leads, especially younger advisors. Advisors with 3-9 years of experience expect 20% of their clients to come from social media just 3 years from now. Today only 8% of their clients come from social media. Consequentially, as use of digital tools increases, LIMRA finds advisors are less likely to use a more traditional tool: mail. Roughly 8 in 10 advisors use mail today to engage with clients and prospects, but 4 in 10 say they will either use it less or not at all in the future.
Financial services organizations need to make sure they are providing the tools advisors find useful. With the exception of lead generation tools, more than half of advisors are satisfied with the digital tools they use. However, many advisors are less than satisfied with current digital tools whether from insurers or their distribution firms, with many reporting that these tools are out of date (27%), are of poor quality (23%) or don’t integrate well with their other systems (17%). When it comes to lead generation tools specifically, more than half who are dissatisfied cite a lack of quality (the tool is too complicated, cumbersome or slow) or the tool is not advanced enough/out-of-date.
Given the increasing importance of digital interactions, it is important to understand which areas of an insurance organization’s digital support are not satisfactory and the impact on advisors most important to its distribution strategy. Insurers face an important strategic investment decision in determining whether to provide digital solutions directly to advisors or develop a plug-and-play capability with partners across the ecosystem.
Technology is essential in today’s business climate and its importance will continue to grow. Companies that understand how advisors use digital tools and the challenges they experience with some of the solutions can make better decisions on technology investments. It is clear that technology is vital for advisors to be successful.
 2018 Insurance Barometer Study, LIMRA and Life Happens, 2018.