The agents have spoken.
In one of the most comprehensive studies of independent agents in the U.S. ever completed, NU, the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) and Flaspöhler, part of NMG Consulting, joined forces to conduct the 2017 Independent Agent Survey — a project whose findings provide revealing insight into the demographics, books of business and industry challenges of independent Property & Casualty insurance agents, as well as their most highly rated carriers.
Flaspöhler has long conducted an annual study of agents on behalf of key P&C carriers, who use the results to help them best meet agent needs. This year’s expanded questionnaire — crafted by Flaspöhler, P&C carriers, PIA and NU — was distributed to NU’s proprietary lists of independent agents nationwide as well as PIA’s national membership (in return for the exclusive right to publish highlights of the study findings), resulting in a reliable and scientifically sound database.
One recurring theme resounded throughout the comments made by agents: Better and increased communication with their carrier partners is greatly desired. Others expressed concern — and frustration — over reduced commissions and profit-sharing. “Companies are not as agent-sensitive as they were years ago,” said one respondent. “The relationship is no longer a give and take; more of take-it-or-leave-it,” said another. One more cited the “slippery slope of paying less commission while asking the agency to perform more tasks.”
The findings were a stark reminder that the relationship between insurers and independent agents is just that: a relationship, one that requires regular maintenance. In the pages that follow, we provide unprecedented perspective on agents’ needs and desires, including their favorite P&C insurers with which to do business in a variety of lines and their top-rated carriers overall.