OAKLAND, Calif., January 26, 2022—It’s the age of the new and improved intermediary. Consumers of all ages are looking for more information and service, and they’re turning to realtors, insurance agents and financial advisors to get it, according to a new survey from Agentero, a digital insurance network. Of those who have used a realtor, insurance agent, or financial services professional, more than three- quarters say they would use them again.
The survey highlights the importance of specialists today, whether consumers buy, sell, or rent a house, purchase insurance, or invest their money. Overall, 72% of consumers have used a realtor, 64% have worked with an insurance agent, and 40% have used a financial services professional. But even more people—and this is especially true for younger consumers—plan to use these services in the future.
Overall, 80% of Millennials and 71% of Gen Zs say they plan to use a realtor in the future. Most younger consumers would also consider using an insurance agent: 64% of Millennials and 54% of Gen Zs plan to work with an insurance agent. And when it comes to financial help, a total of 60% of Millennials and 57% of Gen Zs plan to seek out their support in the future.
“Real estate, insurance and investments are all hands-on services, with a lot at stake. The advice of the intermediaries is really critical to consumers making the right decisions. But it’s also something you need to experience to appreciate,” said Luis Pino, CEO of Agentero. “It’s clear that consumers—especially Millennials and Gen Zs—want a test drive when it comes to real estate, insurance and financial specialists. The challenge for the intermediaries: how do you get more consumers to try your services?”
Who Do You Trust? There Are Big Generational Differences
Agents still have work to do when it comes to building trust and understanding consumers. There are clear generational differences in whether or not they think their intermediaries are performing. Younger consumers are more suspicious that intermediaries have their best interests at heart. According to the survey, Gen Zs are more likely to question intermediaries’ motives. Overall, 37% of Gen Zs said they trust their realtors about half the time, while 32% trust their insurance agents and 30% their financial professionals the same amount.
Older consumers are more likely to trust professionals. The results for insurance agents are the most striking—79% of Baby Boomers, 67% of Gen X and 74% of Millennials trust their agents usually or always as compared to just half of Gen Zs. Trust in realtors is similar: 72% of Baby Boomers and Gen X and 68% of Millennials place confidence in their realtors always or usually, compared to less than half (49%) of Gen Zs. And financial professional results are split. A total of 80% of Baby Boomers and 72% of Gen X trust their financial professionals, compared to 55% of Millennials and Gen Zs.
In addition to trusting the intermediary, consumers also want them to understand their needs. This is especially true among younger consumers; Gen Zs report that they don't always feel like they are heard. Just over half of respondents say their intermediaries usually or always understand their needs, which is true for all three industries. Compare that to more than three-quarters of Baby Boomers and Gen X consumers who say their intermediaries listen and understand them.
“Agents need to understand how to communicate with all customers and demonstrate value in every interaction. This is especially true when it comes to Gen Zs. The survey highlights that more than half of the next generation of consumers say they plan to use agents in the future. Think about how much that number can grow once agents expand their ability to build trust and increase understanding. There’s so much value in delivering a great experience from end-to-end.” Pino said.
About the Survey: Agentero conducted its survey October 4-6, 2021 using SurveyMonkey's online platform. Results are based on a national sample of more than 1,000 consumers ages 18-75. The survey is designed to help understand the use of real estate agents, financial services professionals, and insurance agents among Gen Zs, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.