A stalled economy, combined with rapidly changing technology, has created a variety of challenges for the insurance industry – particularly the independent agent distribution channel. To better understand some of the key issues facing independent agents, IVANS recently conducted a survey that included 515 respondents from insurance agencies across the U.S. that deal with personal, commercial and specialty lines of business.
With intense competition among insurers, fueled by the lingering soft market, consumers know they can often reduce their premiums if they comparison shop. This is especially true with personal lines and small commercial lines of business, where some agents fear commoditization is happening due to consumers focusing more on price than on the type of coverage they are buying.
More than 43 percent of the agents surveyed indicated that customers shopping around for quotes, primarily on the Internet, was the most threatening issue to their bottom line. Rapid response is critical and highlights the need for increased workflow automation, so agents can reply to their customers’ needs immediately and provide more consultative value to the sales cycle.