A new study by JD Power found that changes in the industry have led to a renewed focus on independent agent channels, increasing the satisfaction of independent agents with careers.
JD Power 2021 US Independent Agent Performance and Satisfaction StudyDeveloped through partnerships with independent insurance agents and brokers in the United States, assesses the role of independent agents in asset-casualty insurance distribution, general business outlook, management strategies, and overall satisfaction of private and commercial line insurers in the United States.
Tom Super, head of P&C Insurance Intelligence at JD Power, said, “Over the past year, the most significant acquisitions in the industry and investments in operating models have brought independent agent channels to the forefront, improving agent-career relationships.” “While carriers still have a long way to go, independent agent satisfaction with carriers has reached all-time highs, with many agents citing better communication with carriers, improved servicing levels and higher satisfaction with digital tools.”
Key findings from the study include:
- Agent satisfaction is the highest of all time. The overall satisfaction score among personal line agents was 750 (on a 1,000-point scale), 18 points higher than last year. Overall satisfaction among commercial line agents was 740, which is 29 points higher than last year. Growth was driven by satisfaction with quotes, support and communication, and servicing.
- Overall satisfaction was significantly higher among agents serving multiple lines of business – such as health, life and group benefits – than those who only offer P&C policies. Agents serving multiple lines have reported increased flexibility and support from their carriers.
- Although overall satisfaction increased in 2021, some were external. Agent satisfaction has declined with both the largest commercial agents (those over সরাসরি 500,000 in direct written premiums) and the smallest books of business (less than $ 5,000 in direct written premiums). In both cases, agents report communication challenges because the accounts become more complex and agents need more training and assistance.
- The only interactive channels that have not seen a decline in usage in 2021 are digital chat (12% usage) and mobile apps (11% usage). Although usage rates for these channels were low, overall satisfaction for user agents was significantly higher.
Among private line insurers, Erie Insurance ranks highest in overall satisfaction with a score of 757.