Episode 108 — The Digital Broker Podcast

Virtual Meetings: Here to Stay


On this episode of The Digital Broker, Ryan Deeds examines the emergence of virtual meetings. By listening to this episode, you will learn:

  • How social distancing and quarantines are reshaping the insurance industry’s conferencing scene.
  • How virtual meetings compare with in-person meetings.
  • Why virtual meetings are worth your time even if you prefer in-person meetings.

In-person meetings are fundamental to the insurance industry, and not just when dealing with customers. We have a thriving social scene, which has only gotten bigger since the advent of Insurtech. Insurance agents and brokers love to go to conferences, walk the show floors, talk to other specialists, and, yes, imbibe a drink or two at the cocktail mixers. Sadly, the outbreak of COVID-19 has arrested much of this activity. Quarantines and social distancing measures have kept insurance agents and brokers at home, isolated from one another. Collaboration tools have helped employees stay connected, but many of us are eager to be in each other's presence again.

At the time of this episode, the world appears to be moving past the first, big wave of the outbreak. Some agencies are beginning to go back to the office, and that’s a good thing—but it would be a mistake to think that everything is about to go back to the way things used to be. Travel will continue to be restricted, and strong social distancing measures are likely to remain in effect for a while. At the very least, this will continue to limit in-person meetings and conferences, whereas virtual meetings and conferences will flourish.

If you prefer in-person meetings to virtual ones, that’s fine, but there have been some really great virtual conferences, webinars, and online product presentations during the quarantine period, and if you’re not keeping up with them, you’re missing out. Furthermore, virtual meetings have a lot going for them that in-person meetings do not. Think of all the time you would put into traveling to a live conference: the packing, the flying, the settling into the hotel. (Now double all of that for the trip back home.) On the other hand, you could do several virtual meetings, anywhere the world, in a single day, without having to leave your house or office. Yes, you give up something by not being in other people’s presence, such as the bonding and the good old-fashioned fun. But it would be wrong to ignore that virtual meetings are practical, convenient, and cost-effective.

That’s why virtual meetings aren’t going anywhere. They will continue to grow and co-exist alongside in-person meetings, which are also ineradicable. You can look forward to more virtual meetings and conferences being available in the months ahead. If you neglect them because you’re just too partial to in-person meetings, you aren’t just cutting yourself off from some really great learning and networking opportunities; you are also cutting yourself off from the opportunity to master these remote learning tools in ways that can benefit your organization. Imagine being able to put together and host your own virtual meetings for your customers, no matter where they are in the world. Over time, your customers will expect this, because they will see other agencies do it. Can yours?

We are thrilled to see the insurance industry beginning to move past the COVID-19 crisis while continuing to be careful and responsible. But in their haste to put this crisis behind them, agencies should not overlook opportunities to keep growing, learning, and becoming fluent in new technologies. Those who take virtual conferencing seriously will have a long-term advantage, because virtual meetings are here to stay.

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