Four years ago, a survey of independent agents revealed many were fed up doing business in a Tower of Babel. Forty-eight percent said proprietary carrier systems was their top interface challenge, with 29 percent citing duplicate data entry. Unfortunately, virtually nothing has changed in this department, agents say.

I wish I could report that carriers have wised up to how shortsighted and self-defeating it is to hold agents hostage by erecting automation systems that cannot be accessed in a standard format. That agents are no longer forced to waste time and money navigating a multitude of proprietary carrier Web sites when shopping risks and servicing accounts, to their clients’ detriment.

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