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A world without agents?

2012

Imagine a world without insurance agents

It is hard to picture, but some in the European insurance market believe that maturing markets will negate the need for human contact to sell insurance products in coming years. They see other competitors such as banks and direct sellers and technology such as smart phones and comparison websites as making both salaried and self-employed insurance agents obsolete.

We at Roland Berger believe that while these trends are real, the need for agents will continue to exist. Insurance is much more than a simple commodity. Selling it requires a level of trust and support that only an agent can provide. While technology is certainly a game changer in the industry, companies that can combine the human touch with cutting edge applications will be best poised to capture market share in future. Customers need a higher level of service getting advice from agents who understand their daily lives and can help them sort through the ever growing options of complex insurance products.

To better understand trends in the industry, Roland Berger in cooperation with EFMA collaborated with insurers from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. These are representative markets where salaried and self-employed agents, both of which share common characteristics, remain key distribution players. The experience of these companies reveals how major industry players are navigating coming trends.

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