Agent Satisfaction

By | October 18, 2021

Despite independent agents having long driven the lion’s share of property/casualty (P&C) insurance industry revenue, many have been feeling neglected by carriers who have had their sights set on the direct-to-consumer market for the past several years.

That’s changing, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Independent Agent Performance and Satisfaction Study, which found that agent satisfaction with carriers has surged as industry shifts have placed a renewed focus on the independent agent channel.

Agent satisfaction has reached an all-time high since 2018–with the overall satisfaction scores among personal lines and commercial lines agents jumping 54 points over the four-year period, the study revealed.

For personal lines agents, the overall 2021 satisfaction score, measured on a 1,000-point scale, reached 750, up 18 points since 2020; for commercial lines, the 2021 overall score came in at 740, scaling up 29 points from a year ago.

In a media statement, J.D. Power said that latest year-over-year gains in satisfaction with quoting, support and communications and servicing helped to drive up the overall scores.

“During the past year, some of the industry’s most notable acquisitions and operating model investments have thrust the independent agent channel back to the forefront, resulting in improved agent-carrier relations,” said Tom Super, head of property and casualty insurance intelligence at J.D. Power, in a statement.

Compare that to what J.D. Power said back in 2019, when the firm headlined its media statement with the title, “Insurers Come Up Short for Independent Agents Despite Critical Role Agents Play in Driving Business,” and reported that overall independent agent satisfaction scores of 735 for personal lines insurers and 720 for commercial were “among the lowest overall satisfaction scores in any business study currently conducted by J.D. Power, lagging even financial advisors (737).”

This year’s study revealed that overall satisfaction is significantly higher among agents servicing multiple lines of business, such as health, life and group benefits, than among those who only offer P/C policies. Agents servicing multiple lines also report receiving increased flexibility and support from their carriers.

There were some outliers, the study said, notably, both the largest commercial agents (those with more than $500,000 in direct-written premiums) and the agents with the smallest books of business (under $15,000 in direct-written premiums) showed a decline in satisfaction. Issues at both ends of the spectrum involve communication challenges as accounts grow more complex and as agents require more hands-on training and support.

For the 2021 U.S. Independent Agent Performance and Satisfaction Study, P&C insurance independent agents were surveyed, which resulted in 3,102 evaluations of personal and commercial lines insurers with which agents had placed policies during the prior 12 months. The study was fielded from April through July 2021.

Topics Agencies

About Andrea Wells

Andrea Wells is a veteran insurance editor and Editor-in-Chief of Insurance Journal Magazine. More from Andrea Wells

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Insurance Journal West October 18, 2021
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