The Role of Brick-and-Mortar Insurance Locations in the Digital-First Era

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November 24, 2021

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Insurance is going digital, and it’s changing how insurers do business. Younger generations are increasingly looking for personalized, data-driven insurance solutions, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated that demand. To remain relevant, insurance agencies will need to ensure that they offer a robust set of online services.

Levvel’s 2021 Insurance Consumer Report describes the current shift driven by technology in the insurance industry. In this article, we discuss what those trends mean for brick-and-mortar insurance agencies.

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Levvel's 2021 Insurance Consumer Report is here.

This report explores how insurers can adapt their business to meet evolving consumer demands in the digital age and serves as a modernization guide for senior leadership, insurance product developers, agents, and claims specialists.

Brick-and-Mortar Locations Are Still Relevant for Older Populations

According to Levvel’s research, brick-and-mortar branches continue to be important for some consumers—especially Baby Boomers and Gen X consumers. These generations rank the presence of a physical location in their top three factors that influence insurance purchasing decisions. However, for Millennials, brick-and-mortar stores are much less important.

Overall, traffic to physical locations is dwindling. About half of insurance consumers have not visited a physical insurance branch in the past two years—or have never been. More and more consumers prefer the convenience of purchasing insurance online and communicating with agents remotely.

The Role of Agents Is Evolving

While consumers are increasingly inclined to purchase insurance products online or with a mobile app, insurance agents continue to play an important role in helping consumers understand and purchase insurance products. Over half of the insurance consumers that participated in Levvel’s research expressed the desire to speak to an agent a few times a year or more.

But an insurance agent’s role is evolving. Consumers prefer to make use of agents to perform more complex tasks like changing coverage or making a claim. Agents are becoming less important for quick, seamless tasks like educating consumers about insurance products or receiving payments. While Baby Boomers and Gen X consumers are still more likely to purchase insurance through an agent, Millennials are more likely to purchase through mobile apps.

Demand for Online Services Is Increasing

The demand for online services is increasing, especially among younger generations. According to Levvel’s research, when Millennials are looking for insurance, the top three characteristics that they look for are digital: a self-service platform, a mobile app, and chat-based support.

Consumers are especially open to using online services for simple tasks like making payments. However, most—over 60%—still want to be able to talk to an employee on the phone or in-person when completing more complex tasks like filing an insurance claim or making coverage changes.

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The Role of Physical Locations in the Digital-First Era

So where does that leave an insurance company with brick-and-mortar locations? Here are some of the main takeaways:

  1. Slow down the expansion of brick-and-mortar insurance locations. Demand for brick-and-mortar locations is declining, but physical locations are still important for some consumers. Insurance agencies may benefit from maintaining their current physical branches while slowing down plans to expand into new physical locations.
  2. A hybrid approach is now critical. Consumers are increasingly seeking digital platforms to purchase insurance products. Agencies would be wise to consider scaling up their digital infrastructure to improve the delivery of their online services.
  3. Maintain insurance agents, and put them online. Agents continue to provide value to insurance consumers, but they’re best used for providing more complex solutions or helping consumers understand products. Agencies may benefit from making agents available through new digital formats, such as through chat.

Millennials increasingly prefer online services for their convenience. Insurers can future-proof their business by investing in their digital services today. This will help ensure that Millennial consumers have access to the services they need in the format that they prefer.

For more insights on the changing nature of insurance, read the full 2021 Insurance Consumer Report by Levvel.

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Levvel

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