What Agents Want for Future Growth: Channel Harvest Survey

Most independent insurance agents are interested in adding new carriers to those they place business with – but very few independent agents are interested in adding new products to the selection of products and services that they offer customers.

This is one of the findings of a recent national survey of independent insurance agents conducted by Channel Harvest Research. The study, “Key Success Factors in Agent/Carrier Relationships,” is the eighth in a series examining agents’ views on property/casualty carriers and various marketplace issues. More than 2,200 agents provided their responses for the survey, which was sponsored by Insurance Journal.

Agencies Are Growing – and Want to Grow Further

2014 was a good year for independent agents: Fully 51 percent of agents report that their agencies’ revenue grew by 5 percent or more, and another 19 percent saw an increase of under 5 percent. Just 7 percent of agents report a decrease in agency revenue.

Agencies also grew in terms of the carriers with which they place business. About half (48 percent) of agents report that their firms added new carriers in 2014. And most agents hope to follow up this growth by adding even more new carriers in 2015: Nearly three in 10 are “very interested,” and 42 percent “somewhat interested,” in adding new carriers. Only 29 percent of agents are “somewhat interested” or “very uninterested” in working with new carriers.

The full Channel Harvest report identifies which subgroups of agents are more or less interested than agents as a whole in adding new carriers. These subgroups are good targets/lesser opportunities for carrier-to-agent marketing because they are more or less likely than their independent agent colleagues to bring on new carriers.

Most Agencies Don’t Want to Expand Beyond P/C

Agents’ interest in adding new carriers isn’t matched by their interest in adding new products beyond property/casualty coverages. The Channel Harvest survey asked agents how interested they are in adding each of 10 new products – and, as the chart below shows, their interest is minimal. Many agents already offer some of these products, however.

Interested Not Interested Already Offer
Pet health insurance 19% 68% 14%
Life insurance 16% 19% 65%
Travel insurance 16% 63% 20%
Retirement planning 14% 62% 25%
Estate planning 13% 69% 19%
Vision insurance 13% 50% 36%
Dental insurance 13% 46% 41%
Employee benefits 13% 47% 40%
Financial planning 13% 65% 22%
Health insurance 12% 40% 48%

The Channel Harvest report examines other ways that carriers might capitalize on agents’ interest in adding new markets. In particular, the report explores the appeal of carrier assistance in niche marketing, communications, annual planning, and other insurance marketplace issues.

For more information on obtaining the survey report, contact John Campbell, principal of Channel Harvest, at john@channelharvest.com.