Listening to Jeff Bezos

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

I’d like to quote the founder and CEO of one of the world’s largest and most valuable companies:

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two – because you can build a business strategy around things that are stable in time.”

There is a great deal of angst in the insurance business over what the future will be like.  Many even worry about the survival of the local independent agent as a species!  Perhaps this is why people who work in our industry are headed for the exits in unprecedented numbers (60% will “retire” in the next 7 years according to one estimate).  I’m not one of those.

I think Bezos’ second question ought to make all of us stop and think.  Here is what I believe will not change in our industry over the next ten years:

  • People will still need insurance because fires, tornadoes, hail and accidents aren’t going away.
  • Insurance companies will still need to sell it (and they aren’t going to be replaced by tech startups).
  • People will still need advice and want to get it from someone they trust (and not an algorithm).
  • People will still want to pay as little as possible for what they need.
  • People will want increasingly to deal with insurance, as everything else, when convenient to them.

I’m as bullish on insurance as Bezos is on groceries!  I believe that agents are still going to be needed and that customers will still want great service, low prices, choices and someone to put them back together again after a disaster.

How all of that gets delivered is going to change, and we need to continually evolve our businesses as new technology and changing customer demands require it.  But we’ll still be here.

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