E-Learning: Online Training for Field Agents
Celent estimates that usage of e-learning tools by insurers for field agent communication and education will nearly double to 90% by 2006.
Computer-based training, or CBT, has long been used to train insurance carriers' employees and agents. More recently, insurers have been actively focused on utilizing Web-based tools to communicate with and educate their agents. In a new report, "E-Learning: Online Training for Field Agents," Celent examines the best practices for selecting and implementing Web-based collaboration tools for use with field agents, as well as potential cost savings, ROI, and a short list of vendors.
"As the number of life insurance agents in the workforce continues to drop substantially, keeping agents happy becomes increasingly important," says Chad Hersh, a senior analyst in Celent's insurance group and author of the report. "By collaborating with agents online to help design new agent software applications, providing training in a way that is respectful of agents' time, and educating agents on more products than might otherwise be possible, carriers create a win-win situation for themselves and their agents."
Celent research indicates that 78% of independent agents are using online learning tools supplied by one or more of their carriers. This suggests that agents are certainly willing and able to use these tools. The tools are also easy to implement and relatively inexpensive. Celent expects that their use by carriers will nearly double, from a current 50% to 90% by 2006.
Four vendors of online tools for communication and collaboration are profiled in the report. Market leaders WebEx, Microsoft (formerly PlaceWare), and Raindance are included, as well as Brainshark, a vendor focused on distribution channels in financial services.
Celent believes that carriers who do not use e-learning tools are leaving money on the table. These tools offer outstanding opportunities to achieve strongly positive ROI with minimal payback periods. Celent further believes that failing to correctly leverage these tools will result in a negative ROI, as evidenced by the included case study.