Question: What is the greatest threat and the greatest opportunity for brokerage general agencies today, and why?
“The threat is a combination of three trends: The industry is at a 50-year low of insurance adoption by consumers, the population is aging and so are producers, and too many insurance companies are chasing too few dollars. These are threats because the industry has not responded, even though our financial markets have changed dramatically since the financial crisis. We are doing things the same way, and it needs an overhaul. For example, our process for applying for life insurance is antiquated and broken. Technology needs to be applied to improve it. The opportunity is, we can change. For example, we can change the application process so it doesn’t take eight to 10 weeks to get insured; it could take minutes. This will allow producers to serve clients on a more cost-effective basis. This is especially important for customers in the mid-market and those looking for small face amount policies. Somebody has to do this, and it’s a huge opportunity.”
—Jim Sorebo, president, CEO and solutionist, Four Seasons Financial Group, Marlton, N.J.
“The threat to brokerage is lack of new advisors entering the business, along with the consolidation that is going on among firms. This will hurt growth in the business going forward. The opportunity in brokerage is education and learning new marketing skills. We have to get out of the old methods and do more with technology and process improvement.”
—Gary Bleetstein, principal, Agent Support Group, New York City
“The threat is regulation, for those who are not equipped to change with the times (and the regulations). And the opportunity is also regulation — for those who are here and going to be here in the future, if they decide to change with the times going forward.”
—Rick Muzik, M3 Financial, Grosse Pointe, Mich.