Future Ready: Trends in Personal Insurance Distribution
April 28, 2021 | Webinar
Customer expectations are evolving. Are you keeping up? In this installment of the “Wednesdays with Woodward” webinar series, Loree Toedman and Jay Gauthier from Travelers’ Personal Insurance team shared their philosophies on meeting customers where they are, giving them what they need and serving them how they want. They explored business trends that have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic; provided insights for insurance leaders and others on staying connected and getting ahead in a digital world; and took stock of emerging strategies in consumer marketing, customer service, operations, sales and more.
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Slide, Wednesdays with Woodward (registered trademark), A Webinar Series. Future Ready: Trends in Personal Insurance Distribution. Logos for Big I New York, Travelers Institute, Travelers, Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Colorado, and Big I Connecticut. A woman appears on a video call at the top right corner of the slideshow
Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Joan Woodward, and I'm honored to lead the Travelers Institute, which is the public policy educational arm of Travelers. Today's program is part of our Wednesdays with Woodward webinar series, a series we started last year to help us explore those really important issues impacting us in our personal and professional lives during these uncertain times. So we're really pleased you're here with us, and we hope you'll stay engaged with us. You can join our mailing list by emailing email@example.com, connect with me directly on LinkedIn, or watch past webinars on travelersinstitute.org.
Slide, Connect, LinkedIn, Joan Kois Woodward. Hashtag, Wednesdays with Woodward
So before we get started today, I'd like to share our disclaimer about today's program.
Slide, About Travelers Institute Webinars. Wednesdays with Woodward is an educational webinar series presented by the Travelers Institute, the public policy division of Travelers. This program is offered for informational and educational purposes only. You should consult with your financial, legal, insurance or other advisors about any practices suggested by this program. Please note that this session is being recorded and may be used as Travelers deems appropriate.
So let's get right to it. We are thrilled with the overwhelming response we've had for our topic today, Trends in Personal Insurance Distribution. The landscape is really evolving, and we all know that, especially in the last 14 months or so. Distributor consolidation continues rapidly, and the pandemic has changed the way we all do business. And then most importantly, consumer expectations are evolving.
So how do insurance carriers and agency partners not only keep pace with this, but get ahead? We want you not just to simply survive, we want you to thrive. So how can we all ensure that we're really future ready?
Slide, Speakers. Pictures of Joan Woodward, Executive Vice President, Public Policy; President Travelers Institute, Travelers, HOST, Loree Toedman, Senior Vice President, Field Sales Personal Insurance, Travelers, Jay Gauthier, Chief Marketing Officer, Head of Direct Sales, Personal Insurance, Travelers
We have two really fantastic speakers with us today to help break it all down and make sense of the latest trends and emerging strategies for your businesses. So first, we have Loree Toedman, who is Travelers' Senior Vice President of Personal Insurance, Field Sales. Loree oversees eight regional sales teams and supports 13,000 independent agents.
She also brings 20 years of experience in field sales management and another 10 in direct agency experience. And if you don't know this about Loree, she started out in her father's insurance agency. So also joining us today is Jay Gauthier, who serves as Travelers' Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Direct Markets for Personal Insurance. Jay brings a deep knowledge of business development, strategy, marketing and technology. He has it all. And prior to joining Travelers, he served as a General Manager for Global Marketing Operations at Microsoft.
I also want to recognize our partners for today's event--three fantastic independent insurance agency associations. So a special thank you to the Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Colorado, the Big I of New York, and of course, the Big I of Connecticut. And welcome to all other Big I members from across the country joining us today. We will start with an opening presentation by Jay and Loree, and followed by a moderated discussion with me and the two of them.
And then we're really going to get to your questions. So the Q&A part of our Wednesdays with Woodward sessions are the most interesting, to hear what's on your mind and what's affecting your businesses. So don't wait to submit your questions, go ahead and put them in the Q&A function at the bottom of your screen there. If you don't want me to read your name, click anonymously. Otherwise I might read your name. So with that introduction, again, thanks for joining us. It's going to be a fascinating 45 minutes. So Loree, I'm going to turn it right over to you.
Loree joins the video call. Slide, Wednesdays with Woodward. April 28, 2021
Thanks, Joan. And thanks again for having Jay and myself. We're pretty excited to be part of your series. We typically get to speak a couple times a year together externally, so we're excited to do that again today. We thought we'd really focus the conversation in three areas. We want to talk to you a little bit today about what we're seeing in the changing environment as well as the changing consumer. Talk to you a little bit more about agent readiness. And then end up talking about, from a strategic standpoint, how are we thinking about what we need to do at Travelers to make sure that we're future ready and that we provide the tools and investments to help our agents be future ready? So with that, I'll kick it over to Jay to start the conversation.
Jay joins the call. Slide, Changing Environment & Consumer
Well, thanks, Laurie. And good afternoon, everyone. I'm Jay Gauthier, and I'm here to talk to you about what we're learning about consumer behavior and how it drives the decisions that they make with regards to insurance. And what it means for distribution. Travelers spends a lot of time understanding the consumer dynamics, behaviors, and needs as it relates to insurance and the way they choose to interact with the Travelers brand, learn about our offerings, connect with agents and brokers, quote and purchase coverage, file claims, and service their policies.
What we're learning is no surprise. Digital has clearly accelerated the pace of change and our agenda of those things I just mentioned. Digital has changed consumer expectations forever. And specifically, if you look at this slide, you'll understand why.
Slide, Today's Culture, a picture of a group of people holding smartphones, a list: The pace of change has accelerated and created new norms. We are always connected. We share personal data for mutual value. We expect immediate gratification.
Number one, consumers are always connected--to their devices, to each other, to the companies they buy from. And even the smartphones and the smart cars that they use today.
Number two, consumers are willing to share personal data for mutual value. Think about this in terms of social media and entertainment. The health and driving data that they share in exchange for discounts on goods and insurance. And they're doing it in multiple ways, from the watches they wear, the apps they use, and the sensors and devices installed in their homes. And lastly, consumers expect immediate gratification from the digital devices they use. Google is probably the best example, where knowing anything is as simple as the click of a button. And it's true for the products that they want, the companies that they want to interact with, the services they want to buy, and it's no different for insurance. And moving on.
Slide, Changing Consumer Profile, a list of four generations: Gen 2, Born 1997-2012, 8-23 years old, 67 million, True Digital Natives; Millennials, Born 1981-1996, 24-39 years old, 72 million, Early Adapters; Gen X, Born 1965-1980, 40-55 years old, 65 million, Digitally Adapted; Bay Boomers, Born 1946-1964, 56-74 year old, 70 Million, Digital Rookie with pictures of people.
What I want to talk about is the changing consumer profile and the associated consumer generational cohorts that we track at Travelers. In marketing, we segment the market into four generational cohorts, from Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. Understanding the characteristics of these general cohorts are important for a number of reasons. Number one, it drives our marketing messaging and value proposition as the company. Number two, it drives how we think about insurance distribution.
Three, it drives how we prioritize capability, and specifically the digital capabilities that we're building for agents, for brokers, and those customers that choose to purchase direct. And finally, number four, how that digital capability becomes pervasive in how we communicate, how we interact with agents and brokers, how we interact with customers, and ultimately how we support our channels in interacting with prospects and consumers. Now specific to the generational cohorts, I'd like to go deep on a few, specifically Gen Z and millennials. And I want you to know what we care about, what they care about, and why they matter.
Number one, young generations continue to delay typical milestones, such as marriage and home-buying. This is particularly true among millennials and Gen Z. For example, we've seen that the average age for a first marriage increases from 23 versus 21 for men. And for women, to the age of 30 in 2018. We are seeing that Gen Z is trending towards getting their licenses earlier than millennials. But due to ride hailing services like Lyft, they're delaying car purchases until they enter the workforce.
Finally, we can expect to see customers initiating insurance shopping at a later age, but with less firsthand experience, reinforcing the need for agents to act as advisors in the purchase process and the decision-making around insurance. And let's face it, millennials and Gen Z have really been dealt a tough hand, between high student debt, high home prices, stricter lending standards, the financial crisis, and now the fact that they've had to live a significant percentage of their adult life on Earth managing through a pandemic. It's not surprising we're seeing delays in these traditional milestones.
Still, Gen Z are just as optimistic as millennials in wanting to buy a home someday. In fact, Gen Z actually prefers the idea of home ownership versus millennials, who really care more about experiences than owning assets. So what that means is the highly pragmatic nature of the Gen Z cohort means that they really care about the financial decisions that they're going to make. And that's going to translate into a heavy reliance on independent agents for advice on how to protect those investments they care about. And moving on.
Slide, Digital Ecosystems Influence Consumer Decisions, a list of websites: YouTube, Tripadvisor
Mr. COOPER, Investopedia, nerdwallet, Intuit mint. Quote: “Reviews are almost always the first thing that I look at. . . I don’t trust all of them, but it gives a general idea on how people think of the product.” Source: Enterprise Market Research 2010.
Independent agents have their work cut out for them at the same time. Adoption of digital sources for financial advice is unprecedented. So even though independent agents are in a great position in terms of the advice that they can provide these generational cohorts, more and more younger insurance buyers rely on the types of sites that I call financial responsibility sites to make sound decisions on mortgages, car loans, credit cards, investments, and ultimately, insurance. If you look at the companies on the right, this represents a really great example of the sites that have become leading influencers at helping younger buyers make better decisions.
YouTube is teaching us how to do things. It's teaching us how to cook things. It's teaching us many things that we didn't know how to do. So you can understand how the reliance on a site like this has become predominant in today's society. Companies like Tripadvisor has given us sound advice on where to eat our food and where to stay when we go on vacation. Mr. Cooper has provided a sound advice on how to get a loan and how to think about applying for a mortgage, refinancing a home and saving for that. It's so important first purchase, clearly transcending into what's important about insurance.
And these three sites at the bottom--Investopedia, NerdWallet, and Intuit Mint have become super important--in some cases to Gen Z, almost as important as financial investment sites like Fidelity, to making sound insurance choices around what they need for the things they care about. In fact, these sites have become so important that one that I'll mention without mentioning their name actually delivers about 80,000 unique insurance leads to the industry every single month.
So think about that influential power and how independent agents need to not only get in front of the digital revolution, but also figure out how to integrate themselves into the value propositions that are offered by these sites. Because the reviews and information that they're providing is pervasive, and helping these younger generations make decisions of influence and make decisions around insurance all day long. So moving on.
Slide, Embrace Technology, 44 percent of Gen Z are likely to say if their agent doesn’t embrace tech, they’ll find a new one. Millennials and Gen Z are more self-directed, especially post-purchase, than prior generations. Insurance Task Self-Service Preference. Shows Four bar graphs. First graph: Add/change driver or vehicle- 41 percent Gen Z, 38 percent Millennials, 34 percent Gen X, 22 percent Boomer. Second Graph: Get claim status- 32 percent Gen Z, 27 percent Millennials, 26 percent Gen X, 15 percent Boomer. Third Graph: File a claim-26 percent Gen Z, 22 percent Millennials, 18 percent Gen X, 12 percent, Boomer. Fourth Graph: Resolve a question-15 percent Gen Z, 12 percent Millennials, 10 percent Gen X, 6 percent, Boomer. Source: Enterprise Market Research Proprietary Survey, August 2020
And just so you understand the criticality of this and you understand the criticality of how consumers feel about their decision-making, you can see it evidenced in this data. Not only are they embracing technology, but the younger the cohort, the more apt they are to actually depend on digital engagement and digital solutions to ultimately make that decision, whether it's adding, changing a driver on a vehicle, initiating a claim, getting status on that claim, or resolving a question around the policies they own, the younger the generation, the more self-directed they are to turn to digital sources for those answers. So that's why it's so important that we continue to support our independent agents with digital solutions and digital access that enable them to essentially get to these markets and enable these markets to get to them.
Now I'd like to turn it back to Loree, who's going to talk to you about what we're doing in support of readying our digital agents. Loree?
Loree appears. Slide, Agent Readiness
Jay, great backdrop on the consumer and the environment that we're all dealing with today. So I do want to jump into some agent readiness. So moving forward.
Slide, Agents Want a Variety of Technology and Digital Support from Carrier in a Post Covid-19 Environment, Especially for Personal Lines. Personal Insurance Importance of Support from Carrier (Highest Importance), a bar graph showing, 59 percent Assistance with online business tools. 53 percent Helping Improve/update agency technology. 53 percent Offering self-service options for your clients. 50 percent Providing digital marketing resources. Source: Enterprise Market Research Proprietary Survey, November 2020
We did some research late last year with enterprise marketing research. And we wanted to understand how future ready agents really are and what kind of support they're looking for from their carriers. So what you'll see here is going from left to right, you'll see from the percent that they believe is most critical to their success and what they need from carriers.
Almost 60% of the agents out there today are saying they need assistance with online business tools from their carriers. 53% in both the second and third spot say they need help improving and updating agency technology and offering self-service options for their clients, which isn't a surprise, realizing that a lot of agents and consumers had trouble reaching out and communicating during that period. And then fourth on the list, and surprisingly still at 50%, agents say they need help from the carriers in providing digital marketing resources.
So that's pretty interesting when you compare that to some of the sentiment we heard from customers during the same period post-COVID, the number one thing that customers were asking for was the ability to have constant communication. So when you think of providing digital marketing, the more an agent can stay in touch with the consumer, the better off they're going to be. When you think of the second thing that was most important to customers, consumers, it was ability to self-service. So again, this very much aligns with consumer expectations, agent expectations of carriers. So we thought that was an interesting footnote to add.
Slide, Future Ready Assessment Results, a bullet point list: Consumer Marketing. Consultative Sales,
Customer Service. Agency Operations.
Moving forward, I wanted to jump into a deeper dive we decided to take. So as we're looking at the sentiment for consumers, we're looking at the sentiment from our agents, we decided that not every agent was in the same place, and that we wanted to put together an assessment tool where an agency owner, a personal lines manager, a CSR could literally sit down and evaluate how future ready they thought that the agency was. And the interesting conversations and where you get a chance to compare everybody's responses to see from an agency principal to a CSR how ready they think the agency is.
But what was interesting in this is that we literally provided some opportunities as they answered each of the assessment questions. So whether they thought they were doing very well from an assessment standpoint, we'd offer a couple more things that might help them be even better. All the way to the folks that literally were just getting started and trying to understand what future readiness meant. Those, we were able to provide some very, very robust places for them to start thinking about readiness.
We focused the assessment on these four different topics. Consumer marketing, which we've already heard about, is something critical. We want to stay in touch with consumers. Consultative sales, which is the key for the independent agency channel. Now that's our ace in the hole. That's something we do in this channel that nobody else does. Customer service--obviously something critical for us to understand how we're serving our customers. And last, agency operations.
Slide, Future Ready Assessment Results Continued. Additional bullet point lists appear on the slide: Agent responses indicate areas of strength upon which we can build… Capturing customer emails. Using social media to connect with others. Selling on personalized solutions versus price. …But also demonstrate opportunity for improvement. Providing new business quotes immediately. Actively discussing telematic discounts. Allowing Customer simple self-service.
So moving forward, I'll give you a view of where agents thought that they were in a pretty good stronghold, and within on the right-hand side, you'll see the opportunities for improvement. So let me take you through the left-hand side. So where agents assess themselves as being very much future ready is the area of capturing customer emails. We know how critical that has become as well as cellphones for texting capabilities. That's become more and more prevalent for us to communicate with our customers, both from a carrier and from an agency side. And I would tell you that certainly we at Travelers, we're seeing that capture rate just jump incredibly.
The second thing that agents thought that they were doing pretty well was using social media to connect with others. And I know a lot of carriers, including Travelers, have done a lot of work to provide those capabilities for agents. Lastly, all about selling on personalized solutions versus price. And again, without a doubt, that's how we differentiate ourselves as a distribution channel. Literally personalizing the needs that the customer needs to have versus just selling on price. So those are the things that our agents thought that they were doing pretty well.
When we look over to the right-hand side, this is certainly where the opportunities popped up. The first one is the ability to provide new business quotes immediately. And certainly we see that as a big challenge for a lot of agents, because as you think back to what Jay was talking about, in a 24 by seven world, when somebody wants a quote, they want it right then and there. They don't want to wait till 8 or 9 o'clock the next morning to get it. So how do we position our agents and ourselves to be in a position that we can give those quotes instantaneously when the customer's looking for it?
Secondly, agents think they need to improve in discussing telematics discounts. And we're going to have a pretty robust conversation about that, because we truly believe telematics is the foundation for how independent agents are going to totally compete against a direct to consumer world. So we'll spend some more time on that one. But certainly some agents are more comfortable with it. We do know that 50% of the time if you just ask the customer if they want the telematics discount, they'll probably take it. So we'll jump back to that one.
And then finally, allowing customers simple self-service. Agencies have come to realize that there's a lot of tasks that a consumer can do that actually frees up time within the agency to actually sell more or provide other services they may need to do for the client. So some pretty good feedback that we got, I think, that's really helping us formulate what we need to do.
Slide, a quote from Brad Berrong, Ed Berrong Insurance Agency, Weatherford, Oklahoma “Loree, I physically grimaced as I was answering many of these questions. This is an effective, well-thought idea generator. Thank you for providing this to assist your agencies into becoming better partners in this changing world.”
Moving forward, I did want to just share a quote, because I probably got, I want to say hundreds, but I know I got several quotes across the United States as we rolled out this assessment tool from agents.
And I just wanted to highlight what Brad had said, a successful agency in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Now, Brad reached out and said, "Loree was physically grimacing as I was answering many of these questions. This has really been an effective, well-thought out idea generator. Thank you for providing this to assist your agencies into becoming better partners in a changing world." And again, I would tell you that from our best agencies to our agencies just getting started with investing in future readiness, this was the sentiment I heard. So thanks to Brad for sharing that and allowing me to share it with you today.
Slide, Future Ready
Moving forward. I want to jump into the conversation about future ready.
Slide, Our Strategies Build Future Readiness, a list of three strategies: Meet Customers Where They Are. Expansive Engagement. Be there wherever, whenever and however consumers consider Insurance by enabling better and more ways to purchase it. Give Customers What They Need. Compelling Offerings. Provide broadly competitive offerings by balancing segmentation with customer and distributor experience. Serve Customers How They Want. Intuitive Experiences. Create and maintain an emotional attachment to the Travelers brand by providing simplified, digital-first, omni-channel customer experiences.
So as we move on, I wanted to talk a little bit about our strategies now and the investments that we're making at Travelers to ensure our agents are ready. So from a Travelers standpoint, as we think about the strategies we need to have in place to ensure success, not only to be your carrier of choice but to ensure that you're successful, we look at it threefold.
We know we have to meet customers where they are, we know we have to give customers what they need, and we know we have to serve them how they want. This is an expectation across any industry. So these are areas from a strategic standpoint that we continue to invest in and build on. So if I take you back to meet customers where they are, we call that expansive engagement. That's really our distribution strategy. We know we have to be there whenever, wherever, and however customers consider insurance by enabling better and more ways to purchase it.
So think about this from the standpoint of almost intercepting the customer before they start thinking about insurance. So let's pretend you're out looking for a new car. You're on a website, you're looking at different cars. You see one you like. You're starting to get more and more information about it. We'd love to have Travelers, ABC Agency pop up and say, why not get an insurance quote? Think about it as buying it all at the same time.
So we want to intercept them, quite frankly, before they start thinking about even purchasing insurance. When we move over to giving customers what they need, we call this compelling offerings. And our strategy here--it's really our product strategy. To think about how we can provide broadly competitive products and offerings by balancing our segmentation, but always thinking about the customer and distributor experience. So we have to make it easier for the customer to write our products, and we have to make it easier for our agency partners to write the business with us.
And then lastly, when you look over at the last piece of the strategy, it's about serving customers how they want. We call this intuitive experiences. So think about this as the customer-agent experience. We have to create and maintain an emotional attachment to our brand, just like other carriers you're doing, by providing simplified, digital-first, omnichannel experiences. So however the customer comes to us initially, they may want to do business in a different channel. We have to think about how we make sure that those experiences are all the same and all very intuitive for the customer.
Slide, Tailored Experience for our Customers and Agents, a list and pictures of apps on smartphones and screenshots of websites: MyTravelers (registered trademark) Mobile App. Digital Quote Proposal. Digital Marketing Tools
So moving forward, I want to start talking about some of the investments that we're making. And think about this more as how we're giving agencies capabilities to actually enhance the experience versus replacing the agent. A company our size with the amount of volume we have with our independent agents--this isn't even anything about replacing the agents, it's about enhancing your experience so that you can draw the customer to your agency. So on the left-hand side, you're going to see our mobile app. This is our second edition of the Traveler's mobile app. This is our self-service capability.
What I love about this tool--and you can see it right off the bat--is the capability like any other industry and you're in the middle of trying to buy something and you get a hiccup or a glitch, right there we put the agency's name and the capability to just click and call the agent if you have any questions. So many people think that they understand insurance, they can get in, they can do the self-service. But we all know that questions are going to come up, and they're going to need your trusted advice.
The other thing I love about this is the ability to make a payment from wherever you are. Again, taking away all this calls at the company that the agency get. it's so much easier just to jump in here, find out what my premium is, and pay it. And trust me, I have an independent agent with all my Traveler's business in Denver, but there's a lot of this stuff that I'm not going to bother them with. I'm going to do it myself.
The other one is I just refinanced my home. Why would I need to call my agent to change my mortgage? I want them selling business and being successful so they can take on more customers like me. My very favorite investment that we've made is our digital quote proposal. And I can tell you, this was just absolutely killer for us during the first few weeks of the pandemic. This was a capability that we designed with our agency partners about a year ago. And literally, it gives us and our agents the capability, if you're talking to someone on the phone, if you're emailing something back and forth, you're texting, it now gives you the capability to actually send that quote to the customer, while you're talking to them or when you're done.
Again, you'll see very prominent here is as they receive that from an email or text, they have the capability again to either email, click and email their agent, or click and call their agent. But what's been really neat about this product is 20% of the time, we see customers add an additional product. They may have asked for an auto quote, but they end up asking for more information and actually then purchasing a homeowner's policy as well.
There's actually a 45% lift in Intellidrive when they'd use the digital quota. And we actually see better close rates than we typically see in an agent when the digital quote proposal is used. We absolutely saw this usage spike during the first few weeks when everyone was scrambling to figure out how to communicate back and forth. Then on the far right, you see the investments that we're making in digital marketing tools. And this is what Jay and his team do for us. They've been tremendous partners, giving us all the assets that we need to help you not only stay in contact with your customer 24 by 7, but also giving you the capability to have content that you can consistently communicate them, educate them about things they need to do to protect their home, to be a safe driver.
And additionally, we provide tools that agents can actually take to help improve functions within their agency. And we just happen to highlight a search engine optimization class that you could actually take to help you improve your own website.
Slide Tailored Experience for our Customers and Agents continued, a list and pictures of smartphones and websites: Virtual Inspection. Intellidrive (registered trademark) app. Agent Locator.
Moving on. Three more I wanted to share with you. The first is the virtual inspection. We have found this to be a significant hit with our consumers and the customers. They can literally, instead of us having to send someone out to inspect the property when you write the business with us, they can go online. And we show them on the left-hand side all the different angles we need to have their picture of the property taken. Then they just upload them and send them to us. Saves a lot of time.
And what we find, quite frankly, is people are pretty proud of their home and they want to take pictures, they want to take nice pictures and send them and share them. The other advantage of these virtual inspections is at the time of loss. And we had this with auto as well. If you're an EFT customer, you could literally show us pictures of your automobile damage, pictures of your home damage. We can adjust the claim and literally then deposit the claim amount into your checking account.
Intellidrive--I could probably spend the rest of this time talking about Intellidrive. But for now, I'll just tell you that this is an investment we're really, really excited about, especially coming out of COVID and people were concerned about the insurance premiums they were paying with the limited amount of time they were driving. Again, this is an update to the first rollout of our Intellidrive. We learned so much from our agents on what their expectations were with this product. We were able to add Distraction, which I know Joan has a tremendous passion for.
But literally giving us the capability to have the customer literally see what they're doing, how they're rated over a 90-day period. We're really, really excited about the future of this product, especially with the Distraction added. We've seen our take-up rates increase about 10 points. So I think agents are getting more and more comfortable. I think they like the Distraction. We know that distraction is a huge driver, especially during the pandemic of the severity of accidents we're seeing.
And then lastly, when I take you over to the Agent Locator, this is something Jay's team again really helped us with. We're really excited about what we're seeing from the ability to share information with our agents. So if someone comes out to travelers.com and wants a quote, they can choose to get the quote from an agent. With this tool, we're able to get them to an agent within the proximity. And I'll tell you, we certainly weigh this on agents that are writing new business and are great partners with us. Because their names are going to appear at the top.
But the success we've seen has been tremendous. About 50% of the quotes that our agents get through the Agent Locator, they're actually sending a quote to a customer. Again, we'd love to see that higher. But again, some of it's a 24 by 7. Some customers want that quote immediately. But 50% of the time, agents are providing a quote. And what's even more exciting is we're getting to about 7% of these leads. And we know agents are always looking for lead flow.
About 7% of the time, we're actually issuing the policy with Travelers. So that's really, really exciting, because we look at that as an entree into multiple policies, then the agency can write with the customer. So as you can imagine, we're pretty excited about some of these investments.
Slide, Travelers is Winning Together with Agents and Customers
And as we move forward and before I turn it over to Jay to give you a little sneak preview, we feel tremendous about the feedback we've gotten from our agencies in the investments we're making.
As Joan said at the very beginning, we're not looking for our agents to survive right now. We think this is an opportunity for us to thrive, and we want to take advantage of this window of opportunity. So with that, back to you, Jay.
Well, thanks, Loree. And your excitement around this topic is just extremely infectious. And Loree went through a number of the great examples. But at the end of the day, we're really trying to bring a world class platform to our agents and brokers. And there's a lot there. Loree talked about quote applications and self-service tools and apps. She talked about our world class Toolkit Plus platform, which we think is one of the best in the industry. I'm going to stand by that statement.
We have made a tremendous investment for the IA channel to really be a force in digital and to really be a force in light of everything going on in our industry. So what we've compiled here is many of the leading capabilities that we have built and delivered to agents and to help agents succeed in a digital-enabled world. To really put agents in a position where they can be seen as trusted advisors. Where they can help customers not only read positive reviews, but write positive reviews. And access the products and the services available from Travelers. And the list just goes on. So with that, let's have a look and roll the video.
A video plays. Text, Travelers
We Enable Our Agents to be Future Ready
Digital Quote Proposal. An app appears on a smartphone. Text, Your insurance quote is here!
Agent Training. Future Ready Self-Assessment Tool
Be a Change Agent Campaign. A man and woman appear in superhero outfits with capes
Text, Driving Digital and Social Media Presence. Increase S E O. Posts appear on a Twitter feed
Text, Drive positive online reviews. A feedback page on a website
Text, Enhance social media presence. A screenshot of a website
Text, Meeting Consumers with Relevant Content and Solutions
Toolkit Plus Digital. Two line graphs: Agent Usage Over 10K. 10 Million Consumer Impressions.
Text, Helpful Home Safety Tips. Screenshots and a video of safety tips
Special Customer Offers. A screenshot of a discount offer
Text, Being the Future Ready Trusted Advisor
Sell Telematics. An advertisement for IntelliDrive
Text, Promote 24 7 Self Service App. Apps appear on smartphones
Text, Offer Self Inspection. A model of a house morphs into a picture of the house
Text, Perform Annual Coverage Reviews. Screenshots of an email and a website
Text, Travelers is Winning Together with Agents and Customers
Jay reappears on the video call. Slide, Helping Agents Be Future Ready. Text, Be the undeniable choice for the customer and an indispensable partner for our distributors
Moving on. We've got one more set of messages here. So I'm just going to turn it back to Loree.
We did want to finish by just letting how we think about both the customer and our agency partner. And this is a north star that we talk about throughout Travelers and certainly fits as we think about being future ready. But we absolutely want to be the undeniable choice for the customer and an indispensable partner for all of you. And that's why you see the investments that we have made and the contributions that were certainly focused on to ensure that our agents are very, very successful coming out of this pandemic. So think of us as that indispensable partner. And now, Joan, I think it's back to you.
Joan, Loree and Jay appear on the screen
OK, terrific. Well, that was just a great overview of what you're working on and what you're up to in personal insurance. So let me just kick it off. I have a number of questions and encourage our agents on the line to submit your questions in the Q&A function. There's a bunch that have come in already. We're going to get to as many as we can. And the ones we can't get to today, we're going to identify you if you leave your name, and we'll get back to you. How's that sound?
OK, so Loree, to you first. We see lots of data that market share for independent insurance agents is flat, right. While the direct to consumer market is growing. What are we doing to ensure that our agents are successful here during this DTC almost explosion, but it is certainly on the rise?
Right. No, that's a great to great point you're making, Joan. And I've been in the business 30 some years. And I think I've seen market share for the independent agency go from anywhere to mid-30s to low 30s, but we're always somewhere in there. But to your point, we have definitely seen an explosion with the captive-- or excuse me, with a direct to consumer channel. Customers are choosing that channel. They're going there to quote, they're going there to issue.
One of the maybe a little more troubling facts that I see right now is that in 2018, the direct to consumer channel actually surpassed the independent agency channel in market share in auto. So that was a little difficult for me to swallow as someone that spent their entire career in this channel. But the good news is, it's when you look at overall personal insurance share, we still have an advantage in our channel because of the homeowners marketplace. Independent agents are being very, very successful there.
Most of this, a lot of the share gain for the direct to consumer customers has come at the expense of the captive channel. I think many of us have seen captive producers and agency owners leaving there. They move to the independent agency channel, which has actually helped us maintain that share. But additionally, we've seen captive companies. There's been a big one recently that actually converted their entire sales force to an independent agency channel, again, helping the independent agency channels maintain that share.
But we certainly can't just sit here and expect that direct to consumer is going to just stop. It's not going to. There's a lot of upward trajectory there. So that's why it's so important for us to make the investment so the customer feels that digital experience. That experience they're getting what these direct to consumer companies. But the one thing we know that consumers want is a competitive price. To your point, is we start to think how we ensure that agents are successful right now, we know that they have to work hard to optimize that quote. To make sure it is the most competitive quote that they can put out there from any of their carriers.
And I know from a Travelers standpoint, the biggest thing you can do is quote Intellidrive. At least ask the customer if they want it, because you can get close to a 30% discount there. So that's how you begin to compete. You begin to compete by leveraging these digital assets. And going back to what Jay talked about, I'm pretty bullish on Gen Z. When you look at some of the stats there, this is a generation that wants a trusted advisor. They just want it differently than the baby boomers did. They want their trusted advisor to be there for a text, for an email, whenever they want advice. So I'm pretty excited about how independent agents can monopolize and really take advantage of this generation.
OK. So Jay, we're going to go right to you. You run this business for us. You run our DTC business, and you've done a lot of learning and testing of different things in the marketplace. So what are those learnings that you've had, that you've seen in the DTC marketplace? How can we kind of shift and help our independent agents knowing what you know about the consumer demands in the DTC space?
Yes, absolutely, Joan, and a really terrific question. Look, I have the pleasure of running the direct to consumer business at Travelers. It's our job to find consumer shoppers and to get them to engage with our brand and to figure out what channel they're best suited for, and then to direct them to that channel with urgency, you know. And we generate millions of quotes every year. And what we want our agents to understand is that many of digital assets that you saw in that video and many of the assets that Loree talked about actually started their life in the direct to consumer channel.
We learn a lot and we optimize and tune those assets. And once they become optimized and they've proven themselves as assets that can actually stimulate buyer behavior and stimulate consumer behavior and actually lead to a quote and lead to business, they find their way into Toolkit Plus. So that is an aggressively curated set of digital capabilities that have all cut their teeth inside of the direct to consumer business.
So what agents really need to know is once they get to Toolkit Plus is they're proven, they work. And if agents engage those assets and we're thrilled that more than 40% of Travelers agents actively engage Toolkit Plus on a monthly basis for everything from the SEO tactics that Loree shared with you and learning how to be, have a major direct presence locally, to driving engaging social media assets, to leveraging video and integrated campaigns, and just out there in the street fight with the direct riders is our objective. So we think having that DTC learning and the analytics behind those programs supporting our independent agents really brings the company's distribution strategy together as one.
Great. Great. Well, thank you for doing all that market research for us and helping to apply it to the independent agent channel. OK, Loree, back to you. So telematics is huge in our industry in the auto space. Talk to us about the role that you see telematics in the future, and where do we stand? I know a couple of states. I've already got some Q&A coming in saying their state insurance commissioners has not yet approved this technology in the states. But where do we stand, and do you see more and more consumers and carriers are going to rely on this data?
Yeah, this is a topic that we're all pretty passionate about at Travelers. Especially being such a large independent agency channel, we see so much upward opportunity for us to gain some market share by agents and certainly carriers leveraging telematics. This one is such a key conversation right now coming out of the pandemic, because consumers saw their cars sitting there, especially the first six months. Their car is just sitting there. They continue to pay premiums. They didn't understand why they were driving less mileage. They should be paying the same amount for insurance.
So again, I'll go back to a statement I made earlier. We do know that 50% of consumers out there are very interested in telematics. They want to control the premium that they pay for their insurance. Today, where we stand, is we base all of ours on driving behaviors. So think acceleration, think braking, think time of day, think of speed. And obviously, distraction that we talked about earlier.
There have been some pioneers in the industry that have tried to raid on a pay per mile basis. There's been some different successes that we've seen, but it hasn't really taken off yet. We tend to stand back and think about more strategically what telematics is going to look like in the industry. So you think of the OEMs, the car manufacturers today, they're building in connected car capabilities. There's cars you buy today that when you buy it, you have to sign that you're going to release this personal data to the manufacturers. So the data is going to be there in how consumers drive the car.
That and pay-as-you-drive, like I mentioned, we have the ability to pick up mileage, we have certified mileage in some states that we can monitor and actually see how many miles customers are driving. But we're looking at this holistically. How do we take this great telematics product that we have today, look at connected car data capabilities, and think about continuing to investigate what we may need to do from a pay-as-you-drive standpoint. So actively pursuing all of that-- pretty exciting. And truly believe that the more we can get agents engaged now, the better off we're going to be when we have the data coming from other areas.
OK, excellent. All right, Jay, back to you. So let's talk about this elephant in the room, right. What is going on with Insurtech and Insurtech companies that are just hell bent on disrupting the insurance marketplace. What's up with private equity companies putting so much money into these Insurtech companies, and how should our independent agents be thinking about it?
Absolutely, Joan. So I'll give you a couple of facts and figures to help you understand how unprecedented the level of investment in Insurtech really is. In 2020, a record of $7.1 billion was invested in Insurtech in the United States. That represented a 12% increase over 2019 in terms of overall cash invested. But it represented a 20% increase in overall deal flow from 2019. What was really interesting about that investment in 2020 is it spanned 377 deals, which is an average of about $18, $19 million per Insurtech startup.
This is a lot of capital. This lets a company do a lot of things before they either get purchased, flame out, and leave a wake of technology behind them, which is what many believe is actually going to happen and much to the benefit of the industry and a benefit to like major carriers like Travelers. As I said, the amount of investment is unprecedented. These companies seek to simplify insurance. They seek to simplify the journey for consumers.
And by you know any measure, many of these companies have actually done a really good job of this. But what they don't understand is that the journey is really the hard part. What many of these companies are starting to realize is the fundamentals of insurance, which include elements of underwriting servicing the customer, servicing policies, filing claims, following up on claims, reducing expense, and improving the efficiency of a really low margin business is overstated, generally overstated. And because of that, many of these companies are, frankly, just not going to make it and become very aggressive targets for you know, major carriers that have the wherewithal and the insight and the ability to consume them.
This is something we spend a lot of time talking about at Travelers and doing things about. We acquired an Insurtech company not so long ago, InsuraMatch which is a digital agency with significant capability. We believe that capability is going to be a benefit to our independent agent channel. And although Loree can't talk about the specifics of that yet, we're very excited about what we plan to do in 2021 with regards to how it's going to help further digitize the independent agent channel and how we're going to bring that together. So we spend a lot of time-- Loree, I, the members of the distribution team, you know, the leadership team at Travelers-- just paying very close attention to what's going on in this space.
Great. Well, we'll look forward to hearing more about InsuraMatch in this year for our agents and how that can help them. A lot of questions coming in from the audience about Gen Z. So Jay, we're going to go back to this just for a minute, and then we're going to open it up to lots more questions from the audience. But two questions, really. How can we capture the Gen Z population as new customers? But also maybe more importantly or as is important is, how can we attract them and retain them as employees?
Because a lot of us didn't start out graduating college and thinking we're going to get into insurance. But it's a very competitive marketplace for employers to attract these young folks into our industry. So give us some tips. You've done a lot of market research around Gen Z and their thinking. And Loree just said they're looking for a trusted advisor. They're not all just looking to do DTC. Or you can talk about that as well. But not only as customers, but as employees.
Yeah, exactly. So great question, Joan. And the first thing that we should probably talk about are the defining characteristics of the Gen Z cohort, right. And just to really understand why they're different. And so I'll share with you a couple of things. So these are listed as the general characteristics of the Gen Z population. First of all, look, diversity is their norm. So think about that as an employer. Think about that as being an employ-- what it's like to be an employee and think about the ideals of this particular generation.
They're our first native digital generation. So the rest of us are all adopters along a curve, right. Whether you're a millennial--you weren't born into this. You were born into it in the Gen Z cohort. And it's all you know. I read a funny thing about Gen Z, and it goes something like this--A Gen Z can type quicker than they can write, they can tweet quicker than they can speak, and they like, prefer a like status over an applause.
I mean, this tells you something about this particular group. And from a digital point of view, they are inherently multitaskers. They're better than any of us at figuring out how to do multiple things at the same time. So they're actually quite attractive to a workforce, right, and particularly in terms of working in integrated and cross-group teams and that sort of thing. So as an employer, I think Travelers, you know, should be looking at these characteristics and attributes of the Gen Z population and see how they can be extremely productive in driving our company's agenda forward.
As it relates to agents, this is the most pragmatic and financially minded cohort of individuals of anyone we've researched. So again, think about the slides that we looked at earlier in terms of the companies that are focused on financial responsibility. Shrewd consumers. They make very careful decisions about the brands that they follow, about what they expect in return, about the advice that they get.
So to Loree's point earlier, they actually line up quite nicely with the independent agent value proposition, because they're not going to make snap decisions regarding their financials. As we said earlier, they get dealt a tough hand. Many of them are still living at home. But they're saving money. And when they get out of the house, they're going to want to buy stuff. And ultimately, they're going to get married, they're going to buy a home.
They typically don't buy cars until they have jobs, right. They benefit from ride hailing services like Lyft and Uber, so they don't have to do what many of us had to do when we get out of college. So that's important. The other thing I'll say about them is that they're politically progressive, even those that are on the right. Social causes are super important to them. Companies that pay attention to social causes are super important to them. And particularly those causes that pertain to the environment.
So you're a company looking to attract Gen Z, these are the things that you need to pay attention to. But as a marketer, at my core, perhaps the most important thing about the Gen Z from a marketer's perspective is that they are an extremely serious, morally ethical generation. And so because they demand their brands-- they demand the brands that they love speak to them with honesty and the same level of seriousness that they use to interact with the world.
And so that's the message for the independent agent channel, right. They're looking for advice. It's about our opportunity to get independent agents to become more digital so that Gen Z can find them and can interact with them the way that they interact with the rest of the things they do in life.
So that's a great answer. Very insightful. Thank you for doing the research on Gen Z for us. OK, so we're going to get to more audience questions here. But some agents on the phone may not be already appointed by Travelers. And Loree, how would they get in touch with you or us if they wanted to explore that?
Probably the best way is through LinkedIn.
Slide, Connect, LinkedIn, L O R E E T O E D M A N
I think everyone can reach me there. We've got eight regional vice presidents and inside sales team with 260 people out there willing to help you any way they can. So reach out to me, and we'd certainly love to talk to anyone that might be interested in a Traveler's appointment.
OK, great, terrific. And there's Loree's name spelled correctly on LinkedIn there. Another question coming in from Jamie Chuzzler. So will the premium increase with telematics if a customer doesn't score well? What happens with a premium if their score is not good?
Pretty much what you'd expect. The premium would go up, which I think consumers realize that's going to happen. We certainly want to make sure that those that are driving safer get the credits. We start off with a credit for signing up. And then as I mentioned, you can get close to 30% in some states. Vary state by state into the--someone mentioned earlier, obviously, we don't have it in every single state yet, because there are some regulatory environments that have not allowed us to literally move it into that environment.
But I think it's pretty common sense, right. If you're a good driver, you're going to get a credit. If you're a bad driver, you're going to pay more. And I think most agents totally get that. And agents are pretty interested in making money and contingencies, so we'll let someone else take the bad drivers and we'll ride all the good ones.
Hey, Loree--Loree, something else to add that I think the agents will appreciate. Again, coming from the direct to consumer guy. There's a behavioral economic element at work with Intellidrive. Every one of us feel that we're great drivers. And because of that, the take-up rate is actually quite extensive. And when we compare an Intellidrive solution being offered--the Intellidrive product being offered to a customer, the take-up rate is actually higher than what you would typically see actuarially if you were to reduce the premium on the product by x%.
So the associated elasticity of that product relative to the price is actually quite attractive. And we believe that comes down to the behavioral economic condition associated with selection. So we love Intellidrive in DTC.
All right. Our next question from Michelle Wiley. When can we start using the app for the home inspections. You talked about taking pictures of your home. Is that available now? When is that coming on?
It's available in a handful of states right now. So we will continue to roll that out countrywide. Love to get it out as quickly as we can. We certainly like to pilot these in a handful of states to make sure it's running smoothly and all going well. But pretty excited about certainly the property piece of it with what we've seen so far. So very aggressive rollout schedule coming throughout the rest of this year.
OK, great. Another one coming in from Aaron Weston. If our agency hasn't taken the future ready assessment, are we able to access it somewhere online?
Absolutely. Reach out to your sales executive. If you happen to work with an inside sales executive, they'll get you the link. If not, reach out to me through LinkedIn, and we'll make sure you have it. I think you'll find it to be a very valuable tool regardless of the carriers that you do business with.
OK, I'm sure you've heard this question a number of times, and we got it here. But Rebecca Selly--I just looked up on agent locator and wondering how the agencies are listed. How do you get higher up on your list?
Write more business. The biggest thing. We certainly do it by agency volume. But one of the biggest parts of the algorithm is the amount of business that you've written. And quite honestly, then your capabilities for the 24 by 7. So if you're in a customer care center with us, that benefits you. Or if you have 24 by 7 capabilities in the agency, that will help you as well.
All right. Another one coming in from Troy Toomy. Can the client customize the app so the premium doesn't show to every driver on the policy. I'm referencing my teen driver. So is that possible on the app?
I don't believe that would be possible. I can double-check with our customer experience folks. But I believe today--and I'm just thinking about mine. I have my husband and myself on ours, and I can see all the vehicles. I don't believe we have the capability to do that.
OK. Someone asked a question about you mentioned you refinanced your mortgage, Loree. So thank you for sharing that with the world. That was nice of you. You mentioned something about doing something on the app to show that you refinanced your home.
Well, what I did was when I refinanced my home, I had to change the mortgage lender.
Move from one mortgage company to another. So I was able to literally go in and do that myself.
Excellent. All right, this one from Witt Hasty. Can you provide more detail on the digital proposal and how it works? Does this mean we can text it to customers directly from the quoting platform?
Absolutely, you can. Again, this is something that we don't have available in every single state. But where we do have it--all agents have the capability to leverage that. And again, I encourage you to reach out to your local sales executive, myself, your regional vice president. We'd be more than happy to make sure that all of your producers and CSRs in the agency know how to access the app and leverage it.
OK. Next question. The younger cohort tends to be riskier profile for auto insurance, given they're most apt to adopt the technologies like telematics and their cohorts. Has telematics helped us price the insured risk and this cohort in particular better?
I believe so, Joan. Again, we see this as a very responsible sort of cohort. I have a Gen Z of my own and a millennial of my own, and I can tell you there's a difference. And we are using the app not so much-- age is a factor. And even though that is one factor from an underwriting point of view, again, it's the driving behavior. So associate the driving behavior to the characteristics and behavior of the individual would lead you to believe that this is a really you know solid audience.
Excellent. All right, another one coming in. Have there been any developments on the learnings from your Amazon digital storefront then you rolled out a few years ago? What are the learnings there?
Great question. So I'll take that. We did a lot of work with Amazon. It was a pretty important strategic partnership. Just to point out, we were the first to actually create a digital-enabled offering on Amazon with regards to insurance. But we were the first ones in. And because we were the first ones in, we think that there were a lot of things that Amazon was trying to be careful with with regards to how they were positioned in the market and with the industry with regards to insurance.
And it enabled us to help consumers understand the importance of home telematics. How devices like the Echo product could integrate with insurance. And we've frankly seen other carriers follow suit with Amazon. So it is an unfinished tale, as far as I'm concerned. I think there are a lot of strategic decisions that Amazon needs to make in order for companies like Travelers and others to figure out how they can be productive in that marketplace.
All right. Another one coming in from Shaun Kelly. What are car manufacturers that are bundling insurance into leases? How are we thinking about that?
Well, we may have a split opinion. Loree, you've got a great partner in this space. Do you want to talk about dealer policy?
Yeah, I mean, we certainly see a lot of opportunities. You know, probably two years ago when we were talking about customers going in, leasing vehicles and having the insurance combined into their lease payment. It's a little bit different conversation today. And what we're now seeing is agents that are actually getting into that space, the ecosystems we were talking about earlier, intercepting the customer literally while they're in the auto dealership financing the vehicle, being able to provide a quote.
So we've seen it shift from the actual car manufacturer trying to build a premium in. We still have a handful of those out there, Jay, and I know you're very familiar with them. But we're starting to see the agents starting to play in that role. And I guess that gets us pretty excited about how the agents can capture that business right then and there.
Yeah, absolutely. What I will say is--and we wish dealer policy a lot of success in the market. But you need to really understand what's going on in the FNI world inside that dealership and the policies or the products that they're selling on top of the automobile. Most of those products are not highly regulated products, you know, that are limiting in terms of the way that they're priced. There is a lot of margin in the warranty and associated products. So for that reason, dealerships love those products. And they have a harder time with PNC insurance.
So I think Loree's right. I think the way this is going to work is OEMs are going to figure out how to integrate insurance, you know, into the automobile purchase. I think that's coming. The other thing that we're spending a lot of time talking to OEMs about is the value of the telematics data. So, you know, if we're able to figure out how to help them harness that data and not only connect it into what we're doing with Intellidrive, but to also figure out how then that connects to distribution, we can figure out a way to get independent agents deeply connected with those OEMs. So again, a vertical that we're spending a lot of time with, Joan.
Terrific. Well, we are at the top of the hour. I want to thank you so very much, Loree and Jay, for sharing your thoughts and time with us today. We had a number of questions about, is there going to be a replay available? And there will be a replay on this whole session available on the Travelers Institute website. You're also going to get an email next week from us with a replay link. So I'll have it right there to share with your folks in your offices.
Slide, Upcoming Webinars. Register: travelers institute dot org:
May 5 - Behind the Scenes at the Travelers Championship
Travelers’ Andy Bessette and Tournament Director Nathan Grube
May 12 – Small Business - Big Opportunity(registered trademark)
Travelers’ Eric Nordquist & The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Tom Sullivan
May 19 – The Data-Driven Enterprise: Transforming Business in the Digital Age
Travelers’ Eric Nordquist & The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Tom Sullivan
May 26 – The Future of Cities
The Partnership for New York City’s Kathryn Wylde & the Bay Area Council’s Jim Wunderman
But again, let me thank Loree and Jay very much for your time. And I also want to point out, we have a number of other Wednesday webinars coming up. In fact, we're going to do them every week coming up in the month of May. We have behind the scenes look at the Travelers Championship. It's a PGA Tour event. Third week of June. We have the tournament director, Nathan Grube, and Travelers' Andy Bessette joining us. We have a small business big opportunity on May 12. You're going to hear directly from the guy who runs our entire small business operation at Travelers, Eric Nordquist, and Tom Sullivan, who's really on the pulse of things in Washington, DC with regard to legislation to help small businesses.
And then we're going to talk about technology and artificial intelligence with Mojgan Lefebvre. She is our Chief Information Technology and Operations Officer at Travelers. She has a very big job running all tech and ops. And she's going to be joined by Tom Davenport, who is a guru of AI. And then we're going to talk about the future of cities. On May 26, we're going to talk about the future of New York, San Francisco, and other cities around the country in terms of what post-pandemic life will look like. So please join us for those webinars.
Travelersinstitute.org. You can join me on LinkedIn. And again, thank you all. Loree and Jay, thank you again. I appreciate everyone joining the session today. Stay safe, my friends. Wear your mask, and get your vaccine so we can all go back to normal. Thanks again.
Thank you, Joan.
Toedman, who serves as Senior Vice President of Personal Insurance Field Sales at Travelers, opened the session by expanding on three critical pillars of becoming “future ready” in today’s evolving business environment:
- Meet customers where they are. Toedman explained that in today’s marketplace, it is critical to enable more and better ways to purchase products that meet customers where they are. For insurance coverage, this could mean intercepting customers before they even begin to shop for a policy (e.g., when they are looking for a new car).
- Give customers what they need. She went on to discuss a product strategy of giving customers what they want by offering broadly competitive products that agency partners want to offer.
- Serve customers how they want. Lastly, she described creating an intuitive experience. “We have to create and maintain an emotional attachment to our brand by providing a simplified, digital-first, omni-channel customer experience,” she said.
“Knowing anything is as simple as the click of a button,” said Gauthier. “Customers also expect that from the products they want. It's no different for insurance.”
Gauthier, who serves as Travelers’ Chief Marketing Officer and Personal Insurance Head of Direct Markets, advised independent insurance agents and brokers to get out in front of the digital revolution, noting that younger generations in particular are more self-directed and look to digital sources for answers. He shared that these consumers are always connected to their devices, to each other and to the companies they buy from, and they expect immediate gratification.
Drawing on results of recent Travelers surveys, Toedman said that insurance agents and brokers reported feeling good about certain tech-driven capabilities, such as their current ability to capture customer emails, use social media to connect with customers and sell personalized solutions. Where agents and brokers want more assistance, she explained, is providing immediate business quotes, discussing telematics discounts and providing customer self-service options.
Leveraging Technology in Insurance
Toedman outlined several offerings available from Travelers that are helping agents address those areas and become “future-ready”:
- MyTravelers® Mobile App – Toedman discussed the MyTravelers® mobile app, which enables customer self-service, including the ability to make payments. It also makes the customer’s agent and their contact information easily accessible, helping facilitate the agent’s ongoing role as a trusted adviser.
- Digital Quote Proposal – Toedman also shared information about Travelers’ Digital Quote Proposal, which gives agents the ability to immediately text or email an insurance quote to a customer, even while they are speaking with them on the phone. “I can tell you this was just absolutely critical for us during the first few weeks of the pandemic, when everyone was scrambling to figure out how to communicate back and forth,” she said.
- Digital Marketing Tools – Gauthier outlined numerous digital marketing tools available to agents through Agent toolkitPlus that can be used to help reach customers. The content, including SEO tactics or ways to leverage video, often starts in Travelers’ direct-to-consumer business. “We learn a lot there, and then we optimize and tune those assets,” he said, describing the end result as a series of aggressively curated digital capabilities for agents. Personal Insurance agents can access these tools here.
- Virtual Inspection – Another capability is virtual inspection, which allows customers to upload claim photos. “This is a hit with customers,” Toedman said. “And if you’re an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) customer, we can adjust the claim and then deposit the claim amount directly to you.”
- IntelliDrive® – Toedman went on to discuss IntelliDrive, an auto insurance program that uses a smartphone app to monitor a customer’s driving performance (such as hard braking, acceleration or distraction). Safe driving habits can lead to savings on insurance premiums. “Customers can literally see what they're doing on the road and how they're rated over a 90-day period,” she said. “We’re really excited about this product.” Learn more
- Agent Locator – Lastly, she shared Travelers’ agent locator tool, which helps customers connect with agents in their area for insurance quotes. “About 50% of the inquiries that our agents get through the agent locator generate business,” she said, noting that the tool provides another way for customers to find strong matches with agents for multiple lines of business. Learn more
Toedman expressed optimism about opportunities in a rapidly changing marketplace. “We’re not looking for our agents to just survive right now; we think this is a chance for us to thrive and take advantage of this window of opportunity,” she said.
Presented by the Travelers Institute, Big I New York, Big I Connecticut and the Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Colorado.
Chief Marketing Officer & Head of Direct Markets, Personal Insurance, Travelers