Eighty percent of insurance and financial advisors have a website, but fewer than half of advisors surveyed said they use additional data storage and analytics technologies, a recent survey found.
The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) survey reveals opportunities for advisors to expand technology adoptions to make their business more efficient. Technology is crucial for insurance agents competing with other advisors and financial planners for consumer assets.
At the moment, insurance and financial advisors appear to be more comfortable using technology to maintain a market presence — websites and social media, for example — than they are at conducting “deep-dive” analytics into client needs, NAIFA’s Technology Survey found.
For example, only 37 percent of survey respondents use a customer relationship management (CRM) system, while 30 percent use modeling and simulation software for financial planning. Another 28 percent store documents and data on the Internet cloud, 17 percent use analytics software and 23 percent use video and virtual-conference tools, NAIFA’s online survey found.
NAIFA, based in Falls Church, Va., advocates on behalf of more than 40,000 insurance and financial advisor members located around the country.
A modern database system accessible from anywhere at any time is a requirement in today’s technology-saturated environment, said Ryan Pinney, vice president of sales and marketing with Pinney Insurance in Roseville, Calif.
A CRM system has to be electronic, accessible from anywhere and by different people who can make changes from wherever people sign into the system, he explained.
How modern NAIFA members appear with regard to technology depends on perspective.
If you are a millennial working for Google, NAIFA advisors remain stuck in the stone age. If you are a member of the Greatest Generation, fought in World War II and attended college on the GI Bill, you’d likely consider NAIFA advisors part of the technology mainstream.
Advisors Aware of Technology’s Benefits
Still, whether advisors have been in business for two years or for 20, advisors can’t ignore how recent innovations have altered the storage, analytics and communications landscape, writes NAIFA CEO Kevin M. Mayeux, in a February blog post.
New systems “transform the way you and your colleagues communicate, manage information, prospect for new business, and build client relationships,” he wrote.
Insurance and financial advisors seem to be aware of the benefits of new technologies despite issues around compliance and integration, which often delay implementation schedules.
While only 37 percent of respondents said they have a CRM system, another 30 percent said they are looking into buying one for their business. However, 23 percent of respondents said they do not use a CRM system and have no need for one.
Insurance and financial advisors report a similar story with cloud-based technology.
While only 28 percent of respondents said they use cloud-based services such as Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive, 33 percent report they use cloud-based services in a more limited capacity, the survey found.
In addition, 38 percent said they didn’t think their business would benefit from cloud-based technology — or knew nothing about it.
Many NAIFA members know that, of course, but for older advisors who prefer to rely on an assistant to keep track of paper files and client appointments, Pinney has some news for advisors who want to sell him their book of business.
If the advisor shows his or her records to Pinney by pointing to a filing cabinet, “the conversation is pretty much over,” he said.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at email@example.com.
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