New Survey Explores How Carriers Support Agency Growth Strategies

June 12, 2013

Carriers can be instrumental in helping agencies grow through referrals, expanded coverages, and clear business line or geographic expansion planning

Despite the challenges facing the industry and the broader economy, two thirds of independent agents report that their firms grew premiums in 2012 over 2011.

This is one of the findings in a new survey of more than 1,000 agents and brokers just released by Channel Harvest Research.

The annual survey of agents on their attitudes regarding carriers — on a wide range of issues — is sponsored by Insurance Journal.

Almost 50 percent said they grew by more than 5 percent, and another 20 percent grew by less than 5 percent. Only one in seven respondents reported that their agencies’ revenues dropped in 2012.

When asked what drove the revenue growth, more than half of agents attributed it to referrals. Another 10 percent cited increasing coverages to existing customers as the primary strategy. And almost one in 10 agents planned to drive growth primarily through geographic expansion or offering new product offerings.

Word-of-mouth recommendations and actively soliciting referrals from both existing customers and acquaintances are long-established methods to grow revenue at agencies, but now approximately half of agents also are using social media to generate referrals and promote additional coverages to existing customers.

“Carriers are instrumental in helping independent agents go after their growth goals, whether that is achieved through increased referrals or the other leading strategies,” says Steve Craig, Channel Harvest’s research director. “Whether it is by helping them getting up and running on Facebook or providing sales training for new products and coverages, agents often look to carriers for ways to better promote quality policies.

“Carriers that roll out new products and coverages that are supported by specific sales training and materials are much more likely to have agents take advantage and sell these to your joint customers,” Craig added.

About the Survey

The study, “2013 Survey of Agent-Carrier Relationships,” is the sixth in a series examining independent agents’ views on marketplace issues. The survey is sponsored by Insurance Journal and conducted by Channel Harvest Research.

The survey instrument covers more than 90 separate questions. Quantitative survey results are presented in a variety of formats, including importance rankings of specific-carrier attributes, ratings of specific companies on attributes, industry issues, and open-ended agency comments about what breaks out superior carriers from the pack. The report explores differences between agents focused on personal and commercial lines. Carriers can purchase the data set to further explore cross tabs.

For information on obtaining the survey report, contact John Campbell at john@channelharvest.com or (202) 363-2069, or visit www.channelharvest.com.

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