What Challenges Will Insurance Agents Face in 2016?
Insurance sales is a potentially lucrative and rewarding career, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. In 2016, those people who decide to become an insurance agent or to stick with their existing career in insurance sales are likely to encounter several challenges that are cropping up all over the industry. None of these challenges are insurmountable; with a little creativity and hard work, an enterprising insurance agent can overcome them or even find a way to use them to their advantage. Still, anyone who makes their living from the selling of insurance should be aware of the potential issues they may face in the new year.
“Affordable” Insurance Driving Down Demand
For many consumers, the Affordable Care Act is a blessing that has allowed them to purchase health insurance where they never could do so before. Many insurance agents, especially those dealing in “luxury” insurance, such as life and disability insurance, have a different view of the national health insurance mandate. Because of the ACA, the national insurance market has grown rapidly in the last few years. Normally, this would be an unequivocal good thing for the producers working in that industry. Unfortunately, this expansion is mostly happening in just one area of the market – health insurance – and comes at the cost of eating into the potential market share of other industry sectors. It’s still entirely possible to make a comfortable living selling life insurance or disability coverage in 2016, but it may take some extra hustle to pull it off.
Insurance Providers Cutting Out the Middle Man (aka, the Insurance Agent)
The insurance industry used to have a stable system through which its products were sold to consumers: Insurance providers created different levels of coverage plans, and then sold them through insurance agents, who were the main point of contact with customers. As has happened with many industries, though, the internet is throwing the old ways of doing things out of whack. Rather than continue to go through the middle men (aka, the insurance agents who market and sell insurance to consumers on the providers’ behalf), insurance companies are now going to consumers directly, selling them insurance coverage through their websites.
Consumers Are More Educated, and Skeptical, Than Ever
Insurance agents are salespeople – at the end of the day, their job is to sell a product. Every insurance agent knows that, and, more importantly, every potential customer knows that, too. Overcoming customer skepticism is a part of every salesperson’s job, but, as information about insurance becomes more easily available to everyday consumers, that part of the job is going to get harder for insurance agents. The more customers know about a product, the less likely they are to be willing to take what a salesperson says at face value, even when that salesperson is giving them good advice and providing expert insight that only comes from years of experience.
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