A new study from analytics firm JD Power says that independent insurance agents have never been more satisfied with their carrier partners.
The firm said, according to its 2022 US Independent Agent Satisfaction Study, that overall agent satisfaction with insurers of both personal lines and commercial lines has reached an all-time high. It said that commercial lines satisfaction achieved a significant 16-point increase (on a 1,000-point scale) from 2021.
For the 2022 US Independent Agent Satisfaction Study, JD Power says it surveyed a number of P&C insurance independent agents, resulting in 4,670 evaluations of personal and commercial lines insurers with which agents had placed policies during the prior 12 months. The study was fielded from May through July 2022. It did not give any other details on how the survey was conducted.
Stephen Crewdson, senior director for insurance business intelligence at JD Power, said: “The past two years have been tough for insurance agents, particularly in the commercial lines space where many businesses have been struggling. What we’re seeing now in the data is the normalization of the marketplace and a return to more frequent and more positive interactions between agents and carriers.”
He added: “Importantly, we’re also seeing trends that suggest the changes made since the pandemic—such as increased digital engagement and updates to legacy systems with new platforms and portals—are having a positive effect on the agent/carrier relationship.”
According to JD Power, the study also found that:
- Overall satisfaction among personal lines agents was 757, up 7 points from 2021, while overall satisfaction among commercial lines agents was 756, up a significant 16 points from a year ago. The largest gains in satisfaction with commercial lines were in product offerings and risk appetite; support and communication; quoting; and commission.
- The use of digital channels for interaction with carriers increased 22 percentage points this year, while in-person interaction increased 8 percentage points. Overall satisfaction was highest when agents interacted via digital channels.
- Digital carrier platforms and web portals, which have been widely updated by the industry during the past few years, can have a positive effect on agent satisfaction—but only if they are fully integrated. Complete seamless integration between carrier portals and agency management systems drives a substantial boost in agent satisfaction, but incomplete or inconsistent integration had a negative effect on satisfaction. Just 51% of personal lines agents and 46% of commercial lines agents said they had seamless integration with carrier portals.
- Agents with the highest levels of satisfaction fell into the relationship tenure sweet spot of 2-10 years. Agents who had been working with carriers for both shorter and longer periods of time were less satisfied overall, suggesting that carriers need to refine their approaches to newer as well as more-seasoned agents.
The study also found that Erie Insurance ranked highest among insurers of personal lines, with a score of 838 while Auto-Owners Insurance (817) ranked second and The Hanover (805) ranked third. JD Power also said that Auto-Owners Insurance ranked highest among insurers of commercial lines with a score of 836, Cincinnati Insurance (812) ranked second, and The Hartford (794) ranked third.