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Insurance agents look to the future in a collection of research reports
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Insurance agents look to the future in a collection of research reports

Insurance agents, do you know what your peer group thinks about the industry's prospects for the future? A not-to-be missed online "digital bonus" edition of Insurance Journal offers an in-depth perspective in Agent's Viewpoints (PDF), encompassing articles,  videos and podcasts. We offer a breakdown of the contents and our view of some key take-aways.

On Carriers

These articles feature findings from recent national surveys of independent agents conducted by Channel Harvest Research. The studies examine agents’ views on property/casualty carriers as well as marketplace issues.

  • Independent Agents Seek Business Opportunities with Carriers
  • What Makes Agents Switch Carriers?
  • What Insurance Agents Want from Carriers: Different Types of Education (video)
  •  

    On Customers

    Kevin Brandt, director of operations for Trusted Choice and Bill Wilson, director of the Virtual University at the Big “I” offer perspectives on how the customer relationship and purchase decisions are changing and why.

    • Marketers Have Lost Control of Insurance Buying Process
    • Google Dupes Insurance Buyers: Big ‘I’ Leader (podcast)
    •  

      On Agency Management

      This section reports on various industry research studies Insurance Journal, Risk Communities LLC, Channel Harvest Research and ReSourcePro on issues related to agency management.

      • Shopping for E&O Coverage
      • High-Growth Agencies Build Businesses Differently
      • How Agents View Agency Aggregators
      • The Agency Producer Activity Gap and How to Close It (podcast)
      •  

        On Technology

        The technology section encompasses results from research reports by Accenture, Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC) and Vertafore.

        • Independent Agents See Carriers’ Online Sales As Major Threat
        • Agencies Using Technology More Enjoy More Growth
        • Young Agents Rate Flexibility, Career Growth Over Technology
        •  

          On The Future

          The technology section encompasses results from several recent research reports including Channel Harvest, Insurance Journal and Vertafore.

          • Understanding Diversity Is Key to Agency Growth
          • Large Agencies More Optimistic About Future Growth
          • Agents to Walmart, Overstock:‘We Aren’t Dead or Dying; We are Evolving’
          •  

            Key take-aways:

            • 69% of independent agents reported higher revenue in 2014 than in 2013
            • One way agents hope to grow their business is by adding new carriers (74%) yet only one in five agents surveyed were “very interested” or “somewhat interested” in adding new products
            • Social media training is one of the educational tools agents said they were seeking from insurers
            • Today’s insureds and prospects care more about what other parties have to say than they do about what an insurer or agency has to say about its products and services
            • One of the most important services that independent agents provide is claim advocacy
            • The challenge in online selling is not about search, which is Google’s strength, but about closing the deal
            • Premiums for agency E&O insurance are rising, with 56% percent of surveyed agencies reporting  increases. Agencies have lots of choices if they decide to shop around
            • High growth firms are known in their niche, with built-in connections and networks. They used social media, publishing and expert speaker and interviews at a very high level. They used research to find new market trends, to launch new products and services and to better understand the needs of their clients.
            • 26% of agents surveyed belong to an aggregator, with agencies ranging in size from fewer than 10 agency members to having more than 100. Most respondents say the aggregator provides “some” (38%) or “a lot” (50%) of added value.
            • Agency producers are not spending enough of their time on the sales-related activities, instead spending more time on administration and client service.
            • Agencies that use technology in sales and marketing and managing customer relationships sell up to 43% more policies per producer than agencies that rely less heavily on technology. The gap is widening.
            • Work/life balance rated as the most important work attribute to millennials (78%), followed by enjoyment of work (66%).
            • 70% of large agencies ($10 million+ in revenue) reported high optimism about future growth, while just 25% of small agencies(less than $1 million in revenue) shared that optimism.
            •  

               

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