Innovative carriers are operational. They have a deep understanding of their customers. The major P&C insurance companies know that 98% of insurance agents consider ease of doing business to be of critical importance to their investment decision. We help them understand how effectively they meet the needs of their agents and how they stack up against their competition.
Agents regularly tell us how specific carriers can improve the ease of doing business to help them increase their customer base. A key step in this process is getting a competitive quote quickly with coverage that properly protects their customers. Therefore, unsurprisingly, many of the business facility reviews that we see from agents focus on the quote process.
Agents who comment on the quote-to-show process fall into two main categories: those who want self-service and those who want full service.
Meeting the needs of self-service agents
Agents who want self-service say they need efficient, user-friendly technology and responsive subscription. Here is an example.
“Let’s quote things ourselves. I’ve been waiting for a week for a mechanic’s quote that I should be able to do myself in 10 minutes or less.
The experience described in this quote goes beyond the desire for more efficient technology. They also need carrier underwriters to respond quickly during the quote process. The agent wouldn’t necessarily need self-service if the carrier was responsive.
When agents comment on their desire for self-service, they often also express a desire to access underwriting decision makers quickly and efficiently. We frequently see comments like these: “Help / help with quotes. Find a way to write business. Technology is a tool, not a replacement for human interaction and decision making.
Here is a description of the experience self-service agents are looking for. In this quote, the agent describes a carrier that frequently attracts its best deals: “… Insurance company – easy to use and accurate pricing system… and underwriting team available. “
Meeting the needs of full-service agents
Not all agents want self-service.
Another group of agents values a full service experience over self-service. They want to send in a request and let the carriers do the work. Here is a quote from one of those agents.
“Accept ACORD emails and losses; comes back to me quickly.
“Do less work for me. While many believe that being able to quote and speak from the office is essential, I prefer the other way around. I don’t have time to do my job and that of others. I like to submit to a carrier for a quote option.
What these agents have in common
Even though these agents express a desire for different service experiences, their desire stems from a singular need and the fact that many carriers do not meet their needs. They share a common desire to be effective and efficient in their work and in the service of their clients. However, their different past experiences and current circumstances lead them to different conclusions about how best to achieve this.
Opportunities for insurance companies
Some agents want self-service because they can’t rely on their carriers to be as responsive and precise as their customers expect. Others want full service because they can’t predict which carriers will be able to meet their customers’ needs. Some carriers provide very inconsistent communications about their risk, coverage and price appetites. This means that agents who want to serve their customers well have to request quotes from many different carriers. This is a very laborious proposition for a self-service agent.
Carriers who are responsive in their underwriting and have a clear and stable subscription appetite will attract the best deals from their agents. This is true whether the agent prefers self-service or full service.
Innovative companies have the opportunity to disrupt their competitors by better meeting the needs of agents during the listing process. The best carriers are already looking at this opportunity. They are one step ahead of the rest.
Jason Bogart is the CEO of Deep Customer Connections, a provider of research and advisory services to help P&C insurers grow by making it easier for their agents to do business with them. Bogart was previously Senior Vice President of Branch Operations at EMC Insurance Companies as well as President and Vice President of EMC National Life Insurance Company. Earlier in his career with Travelers, Bogart’s roles included underwriting business lines as well as selling life insurance, investments, personal and business lines.
This article was originally published by Deep Customer Connections and is republished here with permission.