Agents View Carrier Consistency of Product, Price Critical in Relationship

Nearly half of independent insurance agents and brokers believe it is most important to their carrier relationships that companies are consistent in product and pricing in the marketplace, a new study co-sponsored by Insurance Journal shows.

That consistency is the highest-ranked relationship attribute in the research — and it appears to have more value to independent agents than in the past. In the study, consistency was the most frequently rated “critical” factor for personal lines agents in their selection of carriers.

While commercial lines agents highly value underwriting flexibility and local underwriting and management teams, the study found that personal lines agents are more interested in factors related to brand and compensation.

These are some of the findings in the new survey “2011 Survey of Agent-Carrier Relationships,” conducted by Channel Harvest Research and sponsored by Insurance Journal, which surveyed more than 1,500 agents and brokers in all 50 states and explored various aspects of their relationships with the carriers they represent.

The Channel Harvest Research study queried principals and producers on a variety of carrier performance factors when choosing which to rely on for most of their business. These include, for example, quality of claims service, marketing support, and financial strength and rating.

And the study examines other key issues and opportunities agents face, such as cross selling/upselling and remarketing, and agency perpetuation.

The survey instrument covered some 100 separate questions. Quantitative survey results are presented in various formats, including importance rankings of specific carrier attributes, industry issues, and open-ended agency comments about what breaks out superior companies from the rest the pack.

The Channel Harvest Research study “2011 Survey of Agent-Carrier Relationships,” is the fourth in a series addressing agents’ views on issues in the insurance marketplace as well as ratings of carriers on important factors. For more information on obtaining the survey report, contact John Campbell at john@channelharvest.com or 202-363-2069.