Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the masses came online in December. It’s called ChatGPT. You can communicate with it at openai.com. It gives impressive answers to hard questions in seconds. Many think it will put Google search out of business. Maybe put schools out of business. AI is coming like a wrecking ball for repetitive, commodity work.
What about insurance agents? I was going to share my thoughts, but then it hit me.
Why not just ask AI?
So I did.
What are the relative competitive strengths of artificial intelligence versus insurance agents?
Strengths of AI:
- 24/7 availability: AI systems can operate around the clock, without breaks or holidays.
- Speed: AI can process large amounts of data and make decisions quickly.
- Consistency: AI systems follow pre-defined rules and make decisions in a consistent manner, reducing the possibility of human error.
- Cost-effectiveness: AI systems can automate many routine tasks, reducing costs and freeing up human agents to focus on more complex tasks.
Strengths of insurance agents:
- Personalization: Insurance agents can provide personalized service, tailoring their advice to the specific needs of their clients.
- Empathy: Insurance agents can understand and empathize with their clients, providing emotional support and building trust.
- Experience: Insurance agents have deep knowledge of the insurance industry and can offer insights and advice that AI systems may not be able to provide.
- Relationships: Insurance agents can build long-term relationships with clients, which can lead to repeat business and referrals.
Do you understand what just happened? AI literally told you how to compete with it and win.
And it believes that you have some advantages. Let’s break them down.
In the near future, AI might score a C+ or B- on personalizing insurance on a large scale. But you’ll score an A+ at the individual level.
For AI to personalize financial advice, it needs repeatable rules and conditions. But you, the agent, can look at a unique case and sort out the best path forward. Your ability to think about someone’s unique past and design their unique future makes you valuable.
AI says you win here, too, because you can provide emotional support and build trust. Customers can feel that you care about them. And they can sense that you have their best interest at heart.
That means you’ll be willing to go the extra mile to understand their needs and wants, their fears and challenges, and their ideal outcomes and opportunities.
AI will not sense those things. It will just follow the protocol.
You’ve got skin in the game, and AI knows this. Many of your customers are people you know, love, and care about. And you’ve learned a lot along the way about how people consume the products you sell.
You know things like:
- What products ended up solving important problems the best?
- What products were customers glad they bought years later?
- What products had the biggest positive impact in their lives?
- What mistakes do you need to avoid, and what’s the impact if you don’t?
By definition, interaction with AI is transactional. Ask a question, get an answer. Maybe it’s right.
But with you they get a relationship. They know you. They’ve known you for a long time. Maybe you were their parent’s agent. Maybe you know their kids.
These relationships produce peace of mind for the customer. For you, they generate:
- recurring revenue for more years
- repeat purchases
- word of mouth
- other forms of goodwill.
Game over. You win.
If you’re running a business based on deep customer relationships of trust, where your experience and your empathy allow you to personalize product portfolios and the customer experience, you win.
If you’re purely transactional, well…
If you haven’t already started building great relationships with your customers, consider the shade tree metaphor:
“The best time to plant a shade tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.”
Don’t play the transaction game with AI. Beat it at the relationship game instead.