Embrace Challenges. Seize Opportunities.

Embrace Challenges Seize Opportunities Article Image

The unique conditions of the last few years presented our industry with several unexpected challenges and, in some cases, strategic opportunities. Odds are, we’re not done yet. We expect 2024 to have its fair share of twists, turns and curveballs.

The good news is with every challenge comes an opportunity. We all have the chance to evolve with—and even help shape—the insurance industry next year and beyond. A lot of changes will happen. What matters is how we respond.

New and Persistent Challenges

The greatest challenge for BGAs and IMOs in 2024 will be friction. Specifically, the friction in the sales process for life insurance, annuities and wealth management products.

Consumers in our industry don’t want to buy. They want to be sold. Even in what may prove to be a challenging year for BGAs, you can find ways to deliver that sales process consumers are looking for. An experiential environment that reduces friction but still manages to create trust between advisor and client.

A significant portion of this industry continues to use paper processes. Paper is an extremely coarse interaction you have with the client. It’s more like sandpaper roughing up what could otherwise be a smooth experience. If you think about any other industry, from P&C to banking, most industries in the world have moved away from paper.

What really is challenging to brokers right now, is being able to interact with their clientele in a way that meets their expectations—quickly, efficiently and digitally. That doesn’t involve slow and erroneous paper processes. Brokers need to be empowered to respond to skyrocketing client expectations. To offer a sales experience on par with what they get from other industries.

And, this will all need to be accomplished in an increasingly strict regulatory environment. It’s counterintuitive, but the very technology we rely on to improve our sales processes invites more rules and regulations into the equation. We’re seeing this with the expansion of some rules coming out of the government. They are trying to change the way annuities are documented. And, while we already have this wonderful process for illustrating and creating audit trails, they want more.

Real struggles are coming down the pipe, with rules and regulations becoming more stringent. With these added consumer protections, we need to ensure that the consumer is part of the conversation when it comes time to adapt our processes in response.

Create your Own Opportunities

With all these challenges encroaching, there is still opportunity to be successful for firms with the vision to see it.

Imagine if your firm is the one who eliminates that friction in the sales process. What if you could provide a single pane of glass? A centralized, end-to-end digital experience? The contract sold and executed fully within one platform. You don’t have to jump around from system to system. Or worse, to paper.

You manage every part of the sale in that one system, which allows other opportunities such as instant issue sales. That’s something Hexure has offered through multiple carriers on our platform. And it looks a lot more like the modern sales experience clients expect.

Now, that won’t be the same for annuities. Annuity sales are more about building and maintaining that client relationship as a trusted financial advisor. But you can still include the client in the conversation.

You can even find opportunities with the increased regulations. It is an opportunity to better inform and educate the consumers of these products. A chance to build trust with your clients.

Trust is an inextricable part of sales in our industry. You might consider yourself a savvy investor, but nobody is going to drop $100,000 on an annuity using a mobile app. That’s just not going to happen. We all want to have that experience that when we hand over our money, we trust it is going into good hands.

What we at Hexure are working on is finding ways to, yes, enable clients to interact with this industry the way that they want. But keeping those guardrails in place so it’s still a very safe and secure world. We think that’s accomplished through education and visualization. Providing the visualization tools that help clients see what their investment looks like over time. And does it in a clear and understandable way.

Taking the Long View

I believe that this industry is going through a transformation. No one knows exactly where it’s going. But, we can be there asking the right questions. We can all be doing things today to prepare for the long term.

That philosophy is driving what Hexure is doing to help our clients prepare for the future. More specifically, we’re…

  • Doubling down on our promise of providing an end-to-end digital sales process. Consumers expect it, which means advisors need it.
  • Focusing on our roadmap to deliver curated experiences for every persona interacting with our platform—vendor, carrier, distributor, advisor.
  • Using embedded APIs and an open-architecture strategy to avoid building a walled garden. We want to make the industry more efficient by breaking down barriers between systems. Legacy systems. Competing vendors. We don’t care. We want efficiency for carriers and distributors, and seamless experiences for advisors and consumers.
  • Continuing to scale the benefits we deliver by bringing more features and functionality into the fold. The perfect example is our recent acquisition of Vive, which further enhances our ability to provide a single, comprehensive distribution platform.
  • Further enabling firms to empower their advisors with a true multi-carrier sales solution for all lines of business.

A Bright Future

The last few years have brought their challenges, and 2024 will be no different. Don’t let that stop you from being optimistic about the future. Take the steps today that will make you more resilient tomorrow, and you can find opportunities in any situation.

Article by Laird Rixford, CEO, Hexure

This article was first published on BrokerWorld.

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