Much like most (if not all) industries, the insurance industry changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the COVID-19 pandemic was a health crisis, it posed a very real threat to people’s lives. This crisis suddenly made them think about their mortality and their future. They started feeling the need to secure their future at all costs. But even if more people are interested in getting insured, the industry is still facing a downward spiral.
S&P Global reported that global insurance markets, which include the ever-developing life insurance sector, will likely shrink in the future and experience declines in the return on equity. This will mostly be attributed to the slow recovery of the economy.
Thus, insurance agents are forced to face and even accept this gloomy outlook. But this doesn’t mean that they stopped working and addressing the needs of their customers. These are the things that insurance agents focused on during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Facing the Spread of Panic Buying
As mentioned earlier, the health crisis made the public suddenly think about securing their future. Thus, they sought after life insurance policies, leading to the rise in the sales of them. As CNBC reported, life insurance was experiencing “something of a renaissance.” This is because, before the pandemic, sales of life insurance were dwindling down.
But just between March and May 2020, there was a 50% rise in the Google Search traffic for “life insurance.” More people are eager to know how life insurance can help families. For example, Northwestern Mutual, one of the biggest sellers of life insurance in the United States, stated that they’ve experienced a 15% rise in sales between April and September. Because of this sudden interest in life insurance, many insurance agents jumped at the chance to sell to more customers.
It’s important to remember S&P Global’s report, though. Although there’s a rise in sales, the high mortality rates caused by the pandemic also affect the insurance industry. This meant that there might be higher payouts one after another on life insurance policies.
Keeping Communication with Customers
Having steady communication with customers is essential to insurance agents. They must always know how their customers are doing. If they’re terminally sick or have contracted the coronavirus, then they might have to expect a payout on life insurance policies.
But because social distancing is a must, it’s not like insurance agents could easily meet with their customers in their office or make house calls. This is why insurance agents have started utilizing different communication platforms more. Now, it’s more common to meet with customers via Zoom or Google Meet.
But there are many insurance agents that also go above and beyond for their customers. They also turn to social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter just to stay connected. This way, they get to constantly update their customers to any changes in the business. Life insurance involves a lot of money from both parties so it’s imperative that they are in constant communication.
Even if the communication is a simple check by asking “How are you?” certainly went a long way for the insurance agents and their customers.
Taking a Gender-sensitive Response to Insurance Needs
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a sister organization of the World Bank, partnered with the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) to launch the gender-sensitive response to COVID-19 and the insurance industry. This response is influenced by the IFC’s 2015 report called “SheforShield.” According to this report, women’s socioeconomic status has been improving. So, by 2030, they will make up a $1.7 trillion opportunity for insurance companies.
Given the rise in life insurance sales, it’s crucial now more than ever to focus more on catering to women’s insurance needs. Many insurance agents have started doing this already. For example, they’ve started focusing on digitizing their services to make them more accessible to the public, including more women. Payments of premiums and claims are also part of this digitizing initiative. Another way that insurance agents are doing this is through communication. Not only are they keeping in touch with their existing customers. But they’ve also started exerting more effort in reaching more women. Part of this communication is directing the women to resources that can help with the challenges they face in their families and careers.
Being an insurance agent in difficult times such as a pandemic has many challenges. But it’s clear that insurance agents are doing the best they can to adapt and reach more customers. They’re able to cater to their needs and make their services more accessible online. The pandemic isn’t over yet. But with the initiatives they’re taking now, it seems that they may be able to surpass more challenges that could come their way.