Little Changes in Agent Satisfaction With Companies

NU Online News Service, Feb. 27, 1:33 p.m. EST

Agent satisfaction with their carrier partners shows little change from last year and regional carriers would appear to be doing a better job with agents than the national carriers, according to an agent’s association survey.

Last week, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York released the results of its Report on Carrier Performance for 2012.

Overall carrier satisfaction with personal lines carriers was almost unchanged, with a slight drop of 0.6 points to 74.6 from last year.

On the commercial lines side, satisfaction increased by 1 point to 75.8.

The survey involved more than 281 respondents from 256 agencies. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percent.

“What this means is that agent-company relations are constantly evolving as the marketplace changes,” says Kathy Weinheimer, IIABNY’s senior vice president of industry relations and education in a statement.

On the personal lines side, national carriers had an overall score of 71.8, a decline of only .01 point from the year before, and remained at the bottom of the satisfaction list when compared to super regional and regional carriers.

Where last year there was little difference in satisfaction between super regional and regional carriers, this year the regional carriers came out on top with a score of 79.1, up 0.1 points from last year, while super-regionals scored 76.8, a drop of 2.5 points.

On the commercial lines side, national carriers saw the most improvement with a score of 73.4, improving by 2.1 points. However, super-regionals and regionals still outshined the national carriers with scores of 78.7 and 77.2, respectively.

Super-regional carriers saw a slight decrease in their score on a year-to-year basis dropping 0.1 point while regional carriers improved 0.3 points.

The survey consisted of six component factors:

• Underwriters are empowered, responsive and consistent.

• Technology and documentation are easy to use.

• Keeps its promise, treats me, my agency and my customers with honesty and fairness.

• Treats our relationship as a real partnership.

• Field and office personnel have a relationship with me and my customers, and they are very responsive.

• Profit sharing and commission arrangements are fair.

Of the six, “Keeps its promise…,” had the highest score with 75.7 for personal lines and 76.4 for commercial. For personal lines, that was a slight drop of 0.6 points, but an improvement for commercial lines of 0.3 points.

“Profit sharing and commission arrangements are fair,” received the lowest score of 69.1 for personal and 70.9 for commercial. That score was a 1.7 point improvement over the period year for commercial, but 0.7 point drop for personal lines carriers.

In the area of technology and documentation, commercial lines were unchanged with a score of 73.5. Personal lines hedged off slightly with a score of 73.4, down 0.6 points.

While not releasing the individual scores for companies, the IIABNY did honor the companies with the best overall individual scores during a ceremony in late January.

Of the commercial lines carriers, The Harford received the national carrier award, while NGM Insurance Co. won for super-regional. Sterling Insurance Co. took the regional award.

On the personal lines side, Kemper Preferred took the national carrier award; Preferred Mutual Insurance Co. the super-regional honor, and Sterling Insurance Co. the regional award. 

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