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Mobile apps from indie agents. Real-time processing—not only of personal-lines business, but also of midsize commercial accounts. Social media as a marketing essential. Cloud computing. The past 12 months saw a number of game-changing tech trends that are rapidly altering how agents and brokers do business.

Though these latest tools have hardly achieved 100-percent penetration, they have become the norm for a growing roster of producers. Real-time technology use, for example, is definitely on the rise—and for agents competing for personal business against direct carriers, such instant quoting capability is a do-or-die issue.

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