I needed a photo to catch your eye for this blog so I searched 'insurance agent' and this is the image that popped up. Seriously, when you type 'insurance agent' into Wix.com, this is the first image to appear.
I guess I can't be too surprised. My brother Christopher is a tech guy. His job is to create content and interact with Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep's marketing efforts via Facebok, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Chris is very successful and he and I will rib each other from time to time about the contrasts in our industries.
Maybe it's because our mother was in the insurance industry and we grew up with it but insurance doesn't feel as fresh and cool as social media marketing. And frankly it probably isn't. But come on, the guy to the left in the picture. That's a bad stereotype. He just looks like a dweeb.
Zenefits, Gusto and Namely have emerged to take on the benefits agency model and attempt to meld it wth the tech-startup world. And by the way, they are pretty confident they're going to do it better than us. Click on the Namely link. Pretty stark contrast to any other benefits agency website you've ever seen.
The entire thing can be somewhat disconcerting but I'm here to tell you these new competitors will be a good thing. They will push all of us to incorporate new ideas and services. Benefit admin systems have gotten to the point that all companies, big and small, can enjoy a streamlined benefits experience. But mark my words, in the end it will be community agents and not the large tech groups who will eventually regain the dominant force bringing these systems to the market.
It's not that the tech heavy benefits companies won't succeed, it's just agents will catch up then utilize their relationships, experience and local presence to win.
So are you ready to begin the process? Moving to a benefits platform takes time and it is not necessarily smooth. There are costs involved.
You've weathered all kinds of trials in your career. You've competed for business. You've lost, you've won. You added technology (email, voicemail, websites, quoting systems were all once new too), dealt with ERISA, HIPAA, Small Market Reform in Michigan, the ACA and the loss of your favorite MA (hah!). You can certainly add some freaking benefit admin system to the way you do business.
Sooner or later Zenefits or Namely or Gusto (can you believe these names?) or the agency down the street will come calling with these systems in tow. And how do you want your clients to reply? I'd think you'd want them to say, "my agent already does all that."
How do you go about choosing the right partner? I've tried to Google it. It doesn't really work. But don't fear, I put it all into my next blog here. If you'd like to talk further, please call or email me! I want to help you find the right solution! I've done the research and I have solutions!
Benefit Profiles Inc
PS--I know I didn't ever mention the Zen in my blog even though it's the first word of my title. I thought it was a funny play on the word Zen in Zenefits and the famous book Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance. Sorry if you didn't catch the obscure joke. It's the former high school English teacher in me.