As personal lines become more commoditized, identifying newopportunities and rounding out accounts is critical for agencygrowth. The pace of change has been relentless and even innovativeagencies are struggling to remain competitive. In the smallindependent agency sector, sales and customer relationship management (CRM)systems are quickly becoming one of the most essentialtechnologies that directly impact the success of the business.

Independent market squeeze

In a commoditized market where consumers view all insurance products as thesame, cost of coverage all too often becomes the determiningfactor in selecting an insurance carrier. The continued pressure ofdecreasing margins on personal lines is forcing carriers tore-examine commissions paid out to the independent agent. As aresult of this domino effect, top-line margins for some independentagents — particularly those in personal lines— are getting squeezed.

Smaller agencies are perhaps most at risk, effectively stuckbetween a rock and a hard place. They have the least amount ofleverage to negotiate terms with carriers, and they have the lowestlevel of capabilities and capital to invest in technologicalefficiencies that would lead to growth.

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