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It would appear reports of the demise of the independent agent have been greatly exaggerated: A new survey shows the independent-agency system is growing again and is financially healthier than it has been in the past several years.

Future One—a collaboration of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) and a coalition of insurance carriers that distribute through independent agents—announced the release of its biannual Agency Universe Study for 2012, showing that the number of independent agencies has grown to 38,500, up from 37,500 reported in the surveys from 2006 to 2010. (The number of agencies reached 44,000 in 1996 before declining in subsequent surveys.)

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