Despite near constant disruption from the twin forces of digital transformation and economic uncertainty, independent insurance agents have never been more satisfied with their carrier partners.
According to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Independent Agent Satisfaction Study, overall agent satisfaction with insurers of both personal lines and commercial lines has reached an all-time high. Commercial lines satisfaction achieved a significant 16-point increase (on a 1,000-point scale) from 2021.
Auto-Owners Insurance ranked highest for independent agent satisfaction among insurers of commercial lines and second for personal lines, where Erie Insurance ranked highest and The Hanover was third.
Cincinnati Insurance and The Hartford ranked second and third, respectively, in commercial lines (see charts below).
The study, which was previously known as the J.D. Power U.S. Independent Agent Performance and Satisfaction Study, was developed in alliance with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA). It evaluates the evolving role of independent agents in P&C insurance distribution, general business outlook, management strategy and overall satisfaction with personal lines and commercial lines insurers in the United States.
“The past two years have been tough for insurance agents, particularly in the commercial lines space where many businesses have been struggling,” said Stephen Crewdson, senior director, insurance business intelligence at J.D. Power. “What we’re seeing now in the data is the normalization of the marketplace and a return to more frequent and more positive interactions between agents and carriers. Importantly, we’re also seeing trends that suggest the changes made since the pandemic—such as increased digital engagement and updates to legacy systems with new platforms and portals—are having a positive effect on the agent/carrier relationship.”
Following are key findings of the 2022 study:
- Agent satisfaction reaches all-time high: Overall satisfaction among personal lines agents is 757, up 7 points from 2021, while overall satisfaction among commercial lines agents is 756, up a significant 16 points from a year ago. The largest gains in satisfaction with commercial lines are in product offerings and risk appetite; support and communication; quoting; and commission.
- Engagement increases, led by digital: The use of digital channels for interaction with carriers increases 22 percentage points this year, while in-person interaction increases 8 percentage points. Overall satisfaction is highest when agents interact via digital channels.
- Seamless portal integration drives higher satisfaction scores: Digital carrier platforms and web portals, which have been widely updated by the industry during the past few years, can have a positive effect on agent satisfaction—but only if they are fully integrated. Complete seamless integration between carrier portals and agency management systems drives a substantial boost in agent satisfaction, but incomplete or inconsistent integration has a negative effect on satisfaction. Just 51% of personal lines agents and 46% of commercial lines agents say they have seamless integration with carrier portals.
- Keeping the relationship fresh: Agents with the highest levels of satisfaction fall into the relationship tenure sweet spot of 2-10 years. Agents who have been working with carriers for both shorter and longer periods of time are less satisfied overall, suggesting that carriers need to refine their approaches to newer as well as more seasoned agents.
For the 2022 U.S. Independent Agent Satisfaction Study, P&C insurance independent agents were surveyed, which resulted in 4,670 evaluations of personal and commercial lines insurers with which agents had placed policies during the prior 12 months. The study was fielded from May through July 2022.
Source: J.D. Power
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