The insurance landscape is continuously changing. My dad started his agency with Farmers Insurance back in the early 1980's. Through the 80's and 90's, captive agents really made a killing in personal lines, and commercial lines was dominated by the independent channel. Commissions were high, products were more company specific, and the brand of an insurance company truly mattered.
Over time, I’ve seen that the brand matters, but really only on two fronts: claims service, and price. If a company has those two items going for them, they are likely to succeed. There is a lot of administrative and “behind-the-scenes” action from the carrier to make that happen (ie: customer-friendly policy language and appointing good agents ensures smooth claims. Profitable books help maintain solid prices), though if a company can make those two things happen, a consumer will likely give them a serious look.
Innovation in one sphere will often influence another unintentionally. For example, when Edison created the light bulb, electricity quickly became standard in many homes, which then decreased the need for kerosene.
Did Edison mean to disrupt the kerosene industry? I doubt it, though I could be wrong. My guess would be that he wanted to create a product, and was thrilled that he had invented something that would change the lives of people all over the globe. Still, it had a major impact on a completely different industry.
We can apply that to Tesla and the self-driving car. Tesla has not only created some pretty slick cars, but is soon going to be offering self-driving cars to consumers. As an insurance agent, there are lots of questions, like who will cover the liability, and how?
These are good questions. I’ll give my opinion on these points, which can change based on more information. Don’t judge me if it’s 2030 and I was way off. With that nice little disclaimer, let’s dive in:
IHT is a multi-state insurance agency with dozens of branches across the eastern and central United States.