At a time when many insurance carriers are centralizing their underwriting models and interacting more through technology, a recent survey has found that agency small commercial customer service representatives and account managers still find direct access to local underwriters critical to doing their jobs quickly and efficiently.
The survey, commissioned by Massachusetts-based The Hanover Insurance Group Inc., ranked access to local underwriters and as the single most important consideration in building relationships with an insurance provider.
Fully 98 percent of customer service representatives rated underwriter access as very important (71 percent) or important (27 percent).
The Hanover commissioned the study to better understand the needs of small commercial customer service representatives and provide insights to how the company can further support this critical agency role.
In addition, the study found underwriter visits and calls to the agent to be the most effective means of communication between CSRs and carriers, compared with emails, company newsletters, internet postings and other electronic means of communications.
The study also concluded that customer service representatives believe underwriters understand their role within the agency more than any other carrier representative, with 94 percent stating that underwriters understand what they do.
The Hanover recently announced enhancements to its small commercial operating model, which included the redeployment of small commercial underwriters in the field.
The study was conducted by The Pert Group, an independent consulting and research firm. Results for this survey are based on online interviews conducted in late 2011 among small commercial customer service representatives.
Source: The Hanover Insurance Group Inc.
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