Satisfied Independent Agents Are Growth Engines for P/C Carriers: J.D. Power

Despite the growth of both technology-based and direct-to-customer sales channels in the property/casualty (P/C) insurance industry, independent agents still control the lion’s share of P/C premiums and represent a significant growth engine for insurers that get the independent agent satisfaction formula right.

That’s the key finding of the inaugural J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Independent Insurance Agent Satisfaction Study.

The new study, which was developed in alliance with the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA), evaluates the independent P/C insurance agent’s business outlook, management strategy and overall satisfaction with personal lines and commercial lines insurers in the United States.

“Independent agents have continually found ways to stay relevant to customers in spite of the push toward digital and direct channel solutions,” said Tom Super, director, Property/Casualty Insurance Practice at J.D. Power. “Insurers that embrace the critical role independent agents play and work to find ways to partner with them have a significant opportunity to increase overall sales volume through improved customer acquisition and retention.”

Following are several findings of the study:

“The partnership between Trusted Choice independent insurance agents and insurers has never been more important,” said Bob Rusbuldt, IIABA president and CEO. “Competition is keen and growing, and carriers need to work with their agents in new and innovative ways. Agents also recognize the need to ensure they are doing business the way consumers want to do business, now and in the future. Carriers that understand their independent agency distribution force, work with their agents as true partners and provide resources to help address their needs are going to the be winners in the marketplace.”

Study Rankings

Auto-Owners Insurance earned the top score among personal lines, with an overall satisfaction score of 795. Auto-Owners Insurance is followed by Safeco (742) and Travelers (700). Liberty Mutual performed highest among commercial lines, with an overall satisfaction score of 714, followed by The Hartford with 710 and Travelers with 705.

The J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Independent Insurance Agent Satisfaction Study surveyed 1,380 P/C insurance independent agents for a total of 1,424 evaluations of personal lines insurers and 1,217 evaluations of commercial lines insurers that they had placed policies with in the prior 12 months. The study was fielded from September through November 2017.

Study Rankings
Overall Customer Care Index Ranking Power Circle Ratings
(Based on a 1,000-point scale) for Consumers:
Agents’ Overall Satisfaction Ranking of Personal Lines Insurers
Auto-Owners Insurance 795 5
Safeco 742 4
Travelers 700 3
Progressive 696 3
Industry Average 696
The Hartford 619 2
Metlife 617 2
Agents’ Overall Satisfaction Ranking of Commercial Lines Insurers
Liberty Mutual 714 5
The Hartford 710 5
Travelers 705 5
Chubb 695 3
CNA Financial Corporation 693 3
Industry Average 686
Zurich 668 3
AIG 585 2

Power Circle Ratings Legend
5 – Among the best
4 – Better than most
3 – About average
2 – The rest