Gen Y Weighs in on Panel Discussion During Second Day of Annual Conference

This morning’s keynote session included a dynamic panel of Gen Y agents who discussed with conference attendees their views on the industry, how they use technology, and their thoughts on social media applications. The panel consisted of Eric Harnden, Agencyport Software; Val Feeney, Andrew G Gordon Insurance; John Spinnato, Sumner and Sumner Insurance Agency; and Amy Millard, Hearsay Social.

Social media was a large topic of conversation. Millard pointed out that “insurance agents have been selling socially since the beginning of time,” so it’s of no surprise that social media is playing a large role in how carriers and agents build and sell their business.

Harnden stated that 50 percent of those insured under the age of 40 are using Facebook and/or Twitter to communicate with their agents. He also pointed out that those older than 40 do not seem to be connected or interested in using social media as an insurance resource.

What has worked best for these young agents in regards to social media?

  • Creating a business page on Facebook rather than using a personal page
  • Keeping content simple (e.g. “Five ways to save on premiums”)
  • Incorporating a mix of insurance content and personal content
  • Using video to showcase customers who have had good claims experiences
  • Keeping on eye out for social media connections who have recently become engaged, married, purchased a car or had a baby and following up with them about insurance needs


In terms of how carriers are responding to negative social media feedback, Millard acknowledged that negative comments should not be deleted. Things like profanity and scrubbing can be automated to not post, but to leave the negative comments for consumers to observe. Consumers like to see that a company responds to complaints, even if it is a simple, “Let me get back to you with a direct message.” Millard stated that consumers would not consider a social media site legitimate if all they see is positive feedback.

Insurance sales are changing today via the use of social media. Overall, these young agents view technology as an efficient means for generating new business, particularly Facebook.

Have you incorporated social media as a prospecting tool for your business? If so, what have you found to be successful?

In addition to the topic of social media, the audience asked many questions of the panel about how they interact with their carriers. Below is a snapshot of what they shared with the group:

  • Agents did not do any uploads or bridging
  • Agents used AMS360 and had frustration with the platform
  • Comparative raters were used to some degree, but end up always manually keying in data
  • Frustration with Agent Portals
  • Dissatisfaction with carriers that require supplemental forms after submission only to go to another location on a website to find it (American Commerce and Safeco were mentioned as two carriers that present a smooth, efficient process for agents)
  • Do not like the idea of carriers interacting directly with their insured clients via social media
  • Poorly formatted quotes that do not look professional in presentation

How do you best interact with your carriers? Are there things you wish could be more streamlined?

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