When I began my career as a journalist covering the insurance industry back in 1981, many of my early stories reported on dire warnings in a series of studies and expert pronouncements predicting the imminent demise of the independent agent, supposedly doomed to eventually go the way of the milk man and buggy whip makers. Over the past 36 years, I’ve heard the same apocalyptic buzz from time to time about the precarious viability of insurance intermediaries, most recently premised on the notion that the proliferation of digitization, comparison quote sites, direct selling by insurers, artificial intelligence and a host of other technological innovations may pose an existential threat to agents....
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