Press Release (ePRNews.com) - SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Apr 27, 2021 - Fintech startup SafeButler surveyed and interviewed insurance agents around the country to gather insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their businesses. The sentiments of these agents had a common theme: their love for people being at the heart of what they do.
The coronavirus impacted small businesses everywhere, including insurance agencies. The survey found that over 58% of agents reported a drop in revenue; many of these agents also applied for the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for financial support. But it wasn’t just agents struggling — everyone was. 75% of agents saw customers cancelling their policies.
According to Statista, U.S. unemployment rates peaked in April 2020 at 14.7%, exceeding the worst levels of job loss seen during the Great Recession. But the numbers represent something deeper: the human experiences behind them. When choosing between adequate coverage and putting food on the table, there isn’t much wiggle room.
“I felt much empathy and sympathy,” said Rob Mokry, a Farmers Insurance agent in Santa Rosa, CA, when asked how it felt to see customers cut down or get rid of their policies. “As an agent and a business owner, I always want to take care of them the best I can.”
Although many insurance companies issued refunds to provide relief, agents had to find a way to retain their customers. Mokry, who has been in the industry for 10 years, set his slogan as “An agency that treats you like family.” During the pandemic, he called his older clients who had been isolated to keep them company. He even helped some of them get COVID-19 vaccines.
Alongside the challenges of the pandemic, the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence in insurtech presents new obstacles to brick-and-mortar agencies. 33% of agents surveyed reported shifting to digital marketing during the pandemic. But can genuine human care be coded?
“When people were going through a hard time, I called the carriers asking, ‘Can we get an extension? Can you waive a late fee…to give them more flexibility,'” said Ronald Zambetti, owner of Zambetti Insurance in Independence, Ohio. After a series of storms caused damages in his area, Zambetti called all of his customers in the affected regions to check on them.
Despite the hardships brought on by COVID-19, both Zambetti and Mokry reported building stronger relationships with their customers over the past year. What Zambetti, Mokry and SafeButler have in common is people at the heart of the work. The best business practices in insurance aren’t rooted in sales tactics — it’s about helping people protect what they care about.
SafeButler is on a mission to help consumers effortlessly shop for insurance. It offers free and instant renters and life insurance comparison services, as well as connections for auto and homeowner insurance. For more information, visit www.safebutler.com