The insurance industry welcomes change and innovation. Newer technologies, processes, strategies, companies, and personalities can easily enter the market. Even with innovation at the forefront of this industry, there is one never-changing constant—HUMANS.
The insurance industry embraces and needs a human touch across every touchpoint. The industry has experts helping customers understand and find ideal policies every day. The saying “people do business with people” is beyond just a saying for insurance professionals.
Insurance agents are humans, and they bring human decisions based on knowledge, experience, and logic. They are key players in decision-making. Similarly, emotions and gut feelings are just as important as logic and knowledge for agents. The ability to “read the room” is an important trait to possess in insurance. This trait can help agents influence prospects and clients and become a successful agent.
What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?
Simply put, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and manage emotions in oneself and others. With the newer generation entering the workforce, it’s garnering more importance.
Daniel Goleman, the best-selling author of “Emotional Intelligence” sees it as the competencies in the following areas:
- Empathy and social awareness
- Relationship management
It focuses on how well you observe and understand emotions internally and externally, and how you use this to manage your relationships. But how does EI impact insurance agents
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Insurance is a People Business
Successful agents can influence prospects to buy their services and continue using them. This requires adeptness at interpersonal communication and relationship building. Clients need to like you and want to be around you long enough for you share your offer.
Despite the technological innovations, the business, at its core, remains a people business. Relationships matter. And clear, proactive communication, trust and loyalty are vital for success. Your behavior and emotional state when you meet clients will greatly affect how they feel about you.
A high level of EI plays a key role during a loss. Filing a claim can be a stressful and emotional time for a company. While the company is trying to get back on its feet, empathy is critical to reassure and comfort clients.
Having the ability to read and react to emotions also benefits anyone present. For example, if you’re excited, confident, calm, comfortable or curious, you will draw people towards you. If you’re asking good questions and taking people in, you’ll learn more about how to negotiate and how to collaborate.
Conversely, if you’re anxious, scared, stressed or desperate, people will likely turn tail and run. The results will be similar to a bull in a China shop. Things will break!
Emotionally intelligent people can effectively manage their emotions. It’s tough for insurance agents to have an off day. It could result in losses and damage reputations as well. Being around potential customers and talking about claims multiple times can create a stressful environment.
As psychologists say, a little stress is important in our day-to-day lives. It helps us better evaluate our emotions and how best we can deal with difficult situations. Meeting a client frustrated by how their claim was handled, losing a big client, or even failing to get a new prospect on board is a normal occurrence. Being emotionally intelligent can help you recognize your emotional state and deal with your emotions effectively.
It also helps you observe and understand a prospect’s body language, what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. Being able to react to how your prospects will appear positively and react to you better as well.
Drives Diversity and Innovation
Emotional intelligence drives empathy and the ability to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds and experiences. This naturally supports diversity and inclusion. The increase in empathy and communication also creates a more diverse workplace culture.
A diverse workplace also means that old cultural biases—mostly gender biases—become irrational and have no place at work. It creates an environment for more women to excel as agents and enter senior leadership roles in insurance.
Greater diversity also drives greater creativity. Being able to express new ideas is just as important as technical skills to foster creativity. Listening to others’ ideas, complaints and perspectives can create newer opportunities and ways to solve a problem. The insurance industry is constantly under pressure to innovate, and practicing emotional skills can help companies and insurance professionals move forward.
A report from the Australia-based Emotional Intelligence Institute stated that “Emotional recognition and expression, emotional management and understanding emotions of others were positively related to the ability to be innovative and creative in the workplace.” In a competitive market where innovation is central to companies remaining in the fold, employees play a key role on behalf of the organization.
Emotional intelligence isn’t an overnight achievement. It requires practice every now and then, so you can attract clients and create stronger business relationships. Agents with high “emotional intelligence” can achieve worthy goals and develop their skills to be even more in demand.
February 12th, 2023 · 7 mins read
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