Policy Works blog | Commercial lines bliss

Here Come the Millennials

Written by Crystal O'Hara | Nov 29, 2016 9:27:09 PM

According to millenialmarketing.com,  millennials are 2.5 times more likely to be an early adopter of technology than other generations. Being a millennial myself, allow me to speak on our behalf when I say, “that’s how we’ve always done things” is a business acumen we do not subscribe to. And here’s why.

We’ve always had technology

Millennials are not nostalgic when it comes to “old ways” of doing business. We don’t know what life was like before computers. We see value in new technology and we’re usually one of the first groups to try it.

If your brokerage is upgrading an antiquated broker management system (BMS), it is in your best interest to use every inch of that system. When I hear brokers say, “it’s a great system for policy issuance, that’s about it,” I want to know why they aren’t taking full advantage of the whole package. To me, the subtext in comments like this lead to one conclusion—lack of training.

Training is NOT a waste of time or money

Allow me add a disclaimer: “The wrong training is a waste of time and money.”

Prior generations at your brokerage probably had the bulk of their computer training in the 80s and 90s, anything after that was self taught. As computer functionality expanded, types of training expanded as well.

Baby Boomers were the technology pioneers. Twenty-five years ago, Microsoft Office training (Word, Excel and Outlook) was primarily offered to clerical staff because writing letters and memos were still the norm. At the time, this was the right training delivered to the right people. Producers and marketers had very little or no computer training.

Fast forward twenty-five years and many brokerages are paperless or very close to being paperless. Email has replaced memos and the PDF replaced the letter. Everyone sends emails and texts, especially marketers and producers.

The one constant that remains though, is the on-going need for training. Before staff are sent off to yet another mysterious training session, make sure they know:

  • Why they’re there. This is important if new software is being implemented. They need to know why changes are taking place.
  • What is the format? Onsite, on-demand or Internet training.
  • Who is delivering the training? Is it in-house or external?
  • What are the expectations? How long will it take until everyone is up-to-speed?

On-demand training is a great way to train new and existing staff because it’s segmented—they only need to enroll in the sessions that are applicable to them. Compared to onsite training where everyone learns a little bit of everything, it’s not only cost effective, it’s time effective too. On-demand training is done in short sessions over a specified period of time. That allows staff to spend part of the day doing their regular roles compared to onsite training where an entire commercial lines team may be away from the office for two days or more.

The right training, delivered to the right people by the right people is a win-win-win situation.

We don’t keep it all in our heads

When was the last time you saw a millennial without a cell phone or some type of mobile device glued to their hand? Our entire universe is on our mobile device. We don’t know phone numbers by heart and we don’t have land lines either.

That is why standards, procedures and workflows are not kept in our heads either. Paper user guides and manuals were replaced by online help and search engines ages ago, at least the last 5-10 years (eternity!).

Baby Boomers can argue that “keeping it in your head” means never having to worry when the power goes out or the Internet is down, they’ll still know what to do. What happens when the person possessing all that knowledge leaves the company or passes away? It’s gone forever, even a reboot can’t retrieve that precious data.

A state-of-the art BMS ensures all information is entered in the system the same way, and people can access it easily.  A well documented workflow that is easily accessible is a life saver in the event of the unexpected and in commercial lines, expecting the unexpected is how we roll.

Where the millennials plan take commercial lines will indoctrinate even greater change compared to that made in the 80s and 90s. Even now, we’re seeing significant change in technology, the economy and the way our insured’s consume data. This has not only impacted brokerages, but also the people that have chosen to refuse change or be very slow to conform.