All Eyes on 2021
With the new year upon us and so many learnings from 2020, BTV brought together its 13 BrokerTech Ventures (BTV) Agency Partners to ask for their predictions around what’s in store for 2021. What they said might surprise you.
Leveraging BrokerTech Ventures as a convening platform bringing brokers, insurance companies, insurtechs and investors, BTV shares a representative a lens in forward-leaning thoughts for the broader insurance community.
The question: The insurance industry is positioned uniquely in 2021, with both challenge and opportunity, headwinds and tailwinds. Please offer us your greatest prediction for 2021, and what is ahead for our industry.
Andrew Barrengos, Woodruff Sawyer, Chairman & CEO: “I think 2021 will ultimately be a year of real progress. As effective vaccines are approved and distributed, organizations will have the opportunity to accelerate through their priorities based on their learnings and pivots in 2020.”
Brian Hetherington, ABD, Chairman: “The headwinds will include capacity for P&C (particularly Private Client in certain states, public company D&O), a confluence of solutions for employee benefits that seem overwhelming, increasing litigation/legal costs on many segments of the industry, and what I expect to be a very challenging economy in Q1 2021. The tailwinds include a solid profitable year for many brokers, the increased efficiency through use of technology in the service and underwriting community, and an economy that should bounce back after the vaccines are out.”
Mike Heffernan, Heffernan Group, President & CEO: “Technology will continue to be available and prevalent, helping to improve the client experience and efficiencies within the industry.”
Keith Schuler, InterWest Insurance Services, President & CEO: “We are entering into both rate and capacity market crisis. Communication with clients and prospects getting out in front of the issues this will create is paramount.”
Sarah Walsh, PayneWest Insurance Inc., COO: “After 2020 I hesitate to make ANY predictions for next year other than to say we’ll surely have more challenges and opportunities, headwinds and tailwinds. Others will too, and the beauty of our industry is that we’ll be there, like we always are, to help and guide people and businesses in good times and bad. Technology will continue to play an ever-increasing role, but after a year of limited human contact, the importance of connecting with clients, colleagues and communities can’t be over-stated.”
Mike Tiagwad, Conner Strong & Buckelew, CEO: “Accelerated brokerage consolidation.”
Robert Cohen, IMA Financial Group, Chairman and CEO: “Those firms who have continued to invest will reap great rewards in 2021 and beyond!”
Jon Loftin, MJ Insurance, President & COO: “2021 will demonstrate the resilience and innovation of the industry with very significant acceleration of the digital transformation and talent strategies across the entire value chain.”
Dan Horton, The Horton Group, CEO: “The ‘lines in the sand’ have been drawn regarding how we engage with our clients and colleagues, how we use technology, and the geographies in which we operate. These things were many years in the making, but due to the speed and magnitude at which everyone was up-ended due to COVID, that will accelerate post-pandemic into 2021 and beyond. That’s either a headwind or a tailwind – depending on your perspective.”
Mike Mitchell, Graham Company, Vice Chairman: “A hangover from COVID will adversely affect the economy and the hard market will persist in the P&C side of our business. This creates challenges for the brokerage industry. However, for the strong, professional brokers these uncertain, changing times create great opportunities for us all. As they say, if it were easy, anybody could do it.”
Mike Hylant, Hylant, CEO: “I would suggest that by the end of 2021 the staffing and work remote model for the insurance industry will look very different than pre COVID-19. We have learned how to pull technology forward to maximize efficiencies while working away from the office environment. This will continue to evolve in 2021 with a focus on continuing to exceed customer expectations and maintaining company culture.”
Dan Keough, Holmes Murphy, Chairman & CEO: “Consolidation of the insurance brokers continues, but not limited to private brokers. I predict more consolidation in the top 10 between public and private equity backed brokers.”
Mike Victorson, M3, CEO: “2021 will be the largest ‘return to work’ endeavor in the history of our economy – and our industry is poised to bring tech, analytics, smarts and advice to help business navigate these unchartered waters. And for some extra fun, the P&C industry is in the middle of the hardest pricing, terms, conditions and reinsurance market in over 15 years. Thank goodness for brokers!”
Susan Hatten is the chief operating officer of BrokerTech Ventures.