Half of Insurance Agencies Lack a Digital Strategy, Applied Systems Survey Finds

July 23, 2020

A little more than half (51%) of independent insurance agencies and brokerages say they have some sort of digital strategy in place, with larger firms more likely than smaller to have one.

That’s according to insurance technology company Applied Systems that conducted an online survey of 700 agencies and brokerages in the U.S. and Canada to measure the degree of technology adoption and calculate a digital technology score for each.

While 51% said they have some sort of digital strategy, the average digital technology adoption score is 44%– nearly the same as in 2019 – revealing that there remain areas where agencies have yet to deploy digital technology, according to the 2020 Applied Digital Agency and Brokerage survey.

The survey questions examined what Applied Systems sees as five core competencies of a digital agency and brokerage: management system capabilities, mobility, insurer connectivity, analytics and cloud software. Agencies scoring 80% or higher across all core competencies were considered to be digital agencies or brokerages, having adopted most of the key drivers of digital transformation.

Agencies have moved into digital more in personal than commercial and they have continued to increase their use of mobile apps, according to the survey results

Other survey findings include:

  • Foundational management system: Ninety-five percent of agencies and brokerages have a management system.
  • Mobile: Thirty-three percent of agencies and brokerages use client self-service portals, which represents a 50% increase year over year. Similarly, adoption of client mobile apps also increased 50% year over year to 27% versus 18% in 2019. For all regions combined, 52% of agencies and brokerages have extended mobile technology to their employees.
  • Insurer connectivity: Personal lines remains the most widely adopted at 84%. Claims download experienced the greatest growth at 60% versus 57% in 2019.
  • Analytics: Adoption of analytics software is growing but remains lower compared to other tools. Only 29% of agencies and brokerages reported using data analytics applications, which is a 26% increase year over year.
  • Cloud: Up 9% year over year, 71% of agencies and brokerages choose to host their software in the cloud, and it continues to be the top choice among agencies and brokerages for software hosting.

Taylor Rhodes, chief executive officer, Applied Systems, said that when his firm began the survey, it couldn’t have predicted the impacts the pandemic would have. “While the survey results show positive progress toward technology adoption, I expect the current environment will further accelerate adoption of technology, enabling agencies and brokerages to operate remotely and create connected customer experiences as they build their digital path forward,” he said.

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