In the summer of 1993, I was about to turn nine and cared about just three activities:
1) Going to horse camp;
2) Singing Taylor Dayne songs into a Barbie-turned-microphone at my grandma’s house; and
3) Watching “Jurassic Park” so many times I could (um, can…) recite entire scenes by heart.
My mom and dad — who are clearly movie fans first, responsible parents second — had no qualms about taking me and my then 6-year-old sister to a film featuring lifelike dinosaurs ripping into people … and I’m really glad they didn’t. Because even though it gave me nightmares about a T-Rex eating our family dog, “Jurassic Park” is still easily one of my favorite movies ever.
It felt appropriate, then, to honor the film’s 20th anniversary by attending a screening at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science this week, followed by a question-and-answer session with Joe Sertich, the museum’s paleontologist. Yet, somewhere between raptor attacks and questions about bird DNA vs. frog DNA, I started thinking about another species in danger of extinction — the insurance agent.
There’s no shortage of research and anecdotes out there on the declining relevance of life insurance producers. Sales that used to take place over a series of kitchen-table meetings with a professional can now — for many people — be completed alone, in a matter of minutes, using Google and a quote aggregator website
But if “Jurassic Park” taught us anything, it’s that even if the technology’s there, it doesn’t mean we should use it. Sure, there’s a big difference between technology that could potentially leave you dramatically underinsured and technology that could leave your body parts scattered around a theme park outhouse. Either way, though, your client ends up in danger.
I’m as Internet-reliant as any Millennial — I used YouTube to teach myself how to caulk a leaky window; my solution to just about everything is “Google it” — but I also know the Internet is full of misinformation, shady scams and “experts” who will confirm your opinion on just about anything as solid, science-backed fact. (Think the Earth is actually flat, for example? You’re not alone
.) When you’re dealing with a complex topic with a lot of variables — like insurance coverage can be for many — it makes sense to deal with an expert you know and trust instead.
Jurassic Park’s fate probably would have been much different had John Hammond talked to Alan Grant, a paleontologist, and Ian Malcolm, an expert in chaos theory, before he stocked the theme park gift shop. Similarly, I could have skipped the museum event and read one of the many articles about the science behind “Jurassic Park” on the Internet (like this one
, which attempts to explain genetics while misspelling every other word), but hearing answers from an actual paleontologist seemed a lot more credible.
Of course, this doesn’t mean insurance agents don’t have to adapt to technological changes — or that technology won’t evolve to correct these shortcomings. After all, my mom used to be a travel agent — notice the past tense?
It does mean agents, for now, still have a chance. Figure out what you’re offering clients that a web search can’t — and then make sure they know about it.
Originally published on LifeHealthPro.com