Insurance agent Independent agents that are more satisfied with the service they receive from insurers are more likely to recommend that carrier and place a greater number of products with that insurer.

What do independent insurance agents want from carriers? Positive support, effective communication and straightforward quotes, according to the latest J.D. Power satisfaction study.

The second annual “U.S. Independent Insurance Agent Satisfaction Study,” developed by J.D. Power, in alliance with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (Big “I”), evaluates the independent P&C insurance agent’s business outlook, management strategy, and overall satisfaction with personal lines and commercial lines insurers in the United States.

Related: It may be time to trim your carrier relationships

It confirms that the more satisfied independent insurance agents are with a carrier, the more business they will conduct with that carrier. But unfortunately, it also finds that carriers aren’t in a position to take advantage of this, because overall agent satisfaction with the service they receive from insurers is among the lowest of business relationships measured by J.D. Power.

‘Ease of doing business’ is a must for carriers

“A strong partnership between Trusted Choice independent insurance agents and their carriers is critical to achieving a great consumer experience,” said Bob Rusbuldt, president & CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. “Carriers that focus on ease of doing business achieve high satisfaction scores from agents. Ultimately, carriers that invest in their agent platforms benefit from a distribution force that has more time to spend providing value-added service to customers rather than back-end administrative tasks.”

Following are key findings of the 2019 study:

  • Independent agent satisfaction with carriers linked to placement rate: There is a strong relationship between higher levels of independent agent satisfaction and a greater number of business relationships with insurers. Likewise, independent agents that are more satisfied with the service they receive from insurers are more likely to recommend that carrier and place a greater number of products with that insurer.
  • Independent agents cite low satisfaction with carriers: Overall independent agent satisfaction with personal lines insurers is 733 (on a 1,000-point scale). For commercial lines, that score falls to 720. These are among the lowest overall satisfaction scores in any business study currently conducted by J.D. Power, lagging even financial advisors (737).
  • Support/communication and quoting are keys to agent satisfaction: As the most important factors in determining agent satisfaction, the support/communication factor in personal lines and the quoting factor in commercial lines are key areas for insurers to focus to increase satisfaction.

Personal lines rankings

Auto-Owners Insurance ranks highest among personal lines for the second straight year, with an overall satisfaction score of 800. Progressive (762) ranks second while Safeco and Travelers rank third in a tie with 737.

Here’s a list of the other top eight personal lines insurers:

Commercial lines rankings

Liberty Mutual performs highest among commercial lines for the second straight year, with an overall satisfaction score of 749. Chubb and The Hartford rank second in a tie with 720.

Here’s a list of the other top eight commercial lines insurers:

The J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Independent Insurance Agent Satisfaction Study surveyed 1,466 P&C insurance independent agents for a total of 1,561 evaluations of personal lines insurers and 1,193 evaluations of commercial lines insurers that they had placed policies with in the prior 12 months. The study was fielded from September through November 2018.

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