Independent agents and brokers who work primarily in personal lines believe competitive pricing, carrier technology and customer service will be more important in five years than they are now. The sentiment is quite different in commercial lines, where agents say underwriting will be more important.
There is one similarity: Both personal and commercial agents agree there will be more concern about competitive pricing than anything else in 2022. (See chart below.)
This year’s edition of the Channel Harvest Research report reveals not only how agents feel about carriers right now, but it also offers important clues about the future of agency-carrier relationships.
More Important in 5 Years
|Personal Lines||Commercial Lines|
|Competitive pricing||65%||Competitive pricing||60%|
|Carrier technology||61%||Underwriting flexibility||59%|
|Customer service||57%||Underwriting response||55%|
|Agency compensation||55%||Underwriting appetite||54%|
|Underwriting flexibility||51%||Carrier technology||54%|
|Underwriting appetite||50%||Underwriting expertise||50%|
The 10th anniversary issue of the study, Agents’ Views on How Carriers Can Compete & Win, examines agents’ views on property/casualty carriers and marketplace issues. More than 2,000 agents provided opinions for the survey, which was sponsored by Insurance Journal.
“There’s a healthy tension between agents and carriers in that they may not always agree on what’s most important,” said Regis Coccia, research director of Channel Harvest. “What’s particularly interesting is the expectation that ‘all things underwriting’ will dominate discussions and interactions in commercial lines—everything from flexibility and responsiveness to risk appetite.”
As for current perceptions, the survey first asked agents which attributes are most important to them when evaluating a carrier. Then they were queried on how their top carriers are performing on those attributes.
“We saw a somewhat larger gap between expectation and performance in commercial lines,” said Coccia. “Commercial carriers tend to receive lower scores from agents than personal lines companies. For example, 95 percent of agents told us they expect their top carrier to excel in underwriting appetite and flexibility, yet only 57 percent felt their top one was better than average.”
Some 2,100 agency personnel working in personal and commercial lines responded to this year’s survey, co-sponsored by Insurance Journal and conducted in March and April. Respondents ranging from principals to producers to CSRs answered nearly 200 questions about personal lines and commercial lines carriers.
For more information and to purchase the 50-plus-page report as well as accompanying raw data, contact Bob Fritze, Channel Harvest sales director, at 201.213.5447 or email@example.com.