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What Does 2021 Hold For Client Engagement?

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The pandemic brought many changes in 2020 that no one could have predicted.

Now, as we look toward 2021, we recognize some important trends that emerged during the pandemic, that we predict will still be relevant in the future.

1. Virtual meetings are here to stay.

Trust is critical for selling life and annuities and many agents worried that they wouldn’t be able to achieve the same personal connection with clients in a virtual setting in 2020.

(Related: PUNCH Up Your Virtual Networking Meetings)

That concern was unfounded.

It turns out that clients have no problem, and some even prefer the convenience of engaging with their agents via video conference. In 2021, this trend shows no signs of slowing. Agents and clients will continue to embrace virtual meetings out of convenience, not necessity, and in-person meetings won’t return to their pre-pandemic frequency.

2. The digital land grab is on.

Customers have moved more toward the digital channel for every shopping experience, and looking for insurance is no different. When a potential customer looks online for information on this important decision, what pops up first will be what leads them to an agent. Agents that have the largest digital footprint (websites, podcasts, social media, webinars, blogs, etc.) will be easy for consumers to find online when they start doing their research.

Beyond having the largest digital footprint, agents who regularly share relevant, valuable and informative content on the nuances of life insurance and annuities options, naturally establish themselves as subject matter experts and will be seen by potential customers as a trusted source for information once they are ready to reach out for a virtual meeting.

3. Insurance agents will go mobile in 2021.

Clients are on their mobile devices all day and agents should be as well. In 2021, all marketing and communication systems must be mobile-first and readily accessible by agents in office and in an out-of-office mobile environment as well. Even after this pandemic ends, mobile will remain critical for reaching potential clients.

(Related: Clients Using Apps to Reach Advisors Happier Than Other Investors: J.D. Power)

Text messages (SMS and MMS) are an easy place to start, but are only the beginning. With the growth of mobile and the effectiveness of mobile as a marketing channel, mobile is essential for agents who want to business wherever clients are.

4. Retirement, M&A, and poaching will be up.

Selling annuities is hard work. Add all the changes above, and we expect to see some agents opt to rather than learn new digital forms of client communication. In addition, larger firms are going to snap up successful independent agents who they see building a name for themselves online. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity among the larger firms to strengthen their offerings and grow their business will continue, setting the industry on a path to find any advantage in the face of a recession.

5. The future is bright.

2020 has shown insurance agents that digital content, and the dissemination of that content, is only becoming more critical. After a year where the industry learned how to engage effectively, remotely, now is the time to take the lessons learned and incorporate them into practice for the year ahead. Being able to adapt to changes shows clients that their agent understands their needs and that they are in capable hands for the future.

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

Dave Christensen (Image: FMG Suite)Dave Christensen is the chief product and technology officer at FMG Suite, a company that helps financial professionals with digital marketing.

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