The constant connectivity provided by Internet-enabled smartphones has birthed a culture that expects services to be available instantaneously. Ride sharing apps like Lyft and Uber exemplify this approach to commerce, and allow independent drivers to immediately connect with individuals who want to be driven somewhere.
The massive success of those tools has some people wondering about the Uber-ization of other businesses, and insurance sales aren't any different. Some pundits believe that Internet-enabled systems allows people to independently sell insurance within their spare time, according to Life Health Pro.
While the complete breakdown of existing insurance sales structures is unlikely, financial professionals can learn a lot about consumer habits from ride sharing apps and similar systems that put control in consumer’s hands.
The need for expertise
The insurance industry stands at a crossroads. The industry’s current client base is aging, and while these high net worth individuals remain valuable for financial professionals, producers need to bring in younger people who'll become tomorrow’s high net worth consumers.
Until now, financial professionals generally didn't target young people, because these consumers have been less lucrative than their older counterparts. According to a Wells Fargo study, about 16 percent of millennials are currently using a paid financial professional for guidance. That doesn’t mean that millennials don’t value the insight a professional can provide, however. In fact, nearly all those who don't pay a financial professional indicate they'd like the help of a seasoned expert.
With that in mind, it’s unlikely that the next generation of people seeking financial help will turn to services that allow freelance financial professionals to connect with specific clients. Instead, it seems tomorrow’s high net worth clients will gravitate toward professionals who demonstrate a depth of financial understanding. Successful financial professionals will still search on the internet to forge connections with consumers, but it’s unlikely the focus will be on Uber-like quick connections.
Accessing information from anywhere
Younger people expect in order to access information from mobile platforms, but that doesn’t mean they need to conduct every important purchase through their phones. According to a survey conducted by research firm Corporate Insight, young people expect their financial professionals to become transparent and educational, and anticipate that they will have the ability to access educational information via a mobile application.
Financial professionals who provide educational information to potential clients foster an essential bond. Although many young individuals are not currently financially well-off enough to require the guidance of a financial professional, they will ultimately reach that stage. When time comes to purchase financial information, these consumers will probably turn to the entities they accustomed to find trusted information in the past. By fostering a culture of open communication, financial professionals lay the groundwork for client conversions down the line.
The insurance industry may not undergo a transformation like the one ride-sharing apps brought to the transportation field, but it's clear that mobile and internet-enabled applications will be a huge element in insurance sales going forward.