A third of agents would like carriers to provide both agent and customer portals to help them build their book of business. Less time spent on manual processes leaves agents more opportunity to focus on customer service – including providing better advice and forming close relationships with clients.
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According to the survey, agents prefer to work with carriers with user-friendly agent and customer portals, multi-channel capabilities and automated technology as a standard.
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Agents in the U.S. place more importance on price than those in the U.K. (65% and 48% of agents, respectively), but cost savings aren’t how agents are differentiating themselves. In terms of importance, user-friendly portals, being able to access information from any device and automation ranked above having the best commission rates when it comes to choosing a carrier.
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For 30% of agents, a carrier being first-to-market (FTM) with new products and features is an important consideration. According to the survey report, “Not only that, but this number grows exponentially in line with how many carriers they partner with altogether. Companies that work with 5 or more carriers will consider those who are FTM with new products twice as much as those who work with just 3 or 4 carriers.”
All agents surveyed agreed it is important to quote, bind and deliver policies digitally, but they don’t view all of these online capabilities equally. The ability to pay premiums online ranked highest of online elements (50%) followed by the ability to file a claim (43%).
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Making it simple for customers to view and manage policies on a single platform – presenting customers a more unified experience – can go a long way to making a carrier a preferred provider.
A recent survey from Socotra showed 99% of insurance agents are looking for ways to stand out amongst the competition, and many of them believe relationships are the key to achieving this – even more important than who has the best rates.
The top ways producers said they differentiate themselves from their direct competition included:
- Their advice/ consultative approach (37%)
- Their relationships with customers (34%)
- Better rates (27%)
- Quality and fast service (26%)
- Better coverage (25%)
- Offering a large variety of insurance products (23%)
“100% of the agents and brokers surveyed said it was important to be able to quote, bind, and deliver policies online. This was remarkably consistent. Our survey respondents also prioritized paying premiums and filing claims online, suggesting these features are now necessary for carriers expecting to attract and retain the best producers,” Dan Woods, Socotra’s founder and CEO, said in a release.
Technology also plays a large part in how agents select carriers, and the top digital tools agents said were essential for a carrier to gain their interest included a user-friendly agent portal (54%), a self-service customer portal (50%), digital claims processing (42%) and online quoting and binding capabilities (22%).
In the slideshow above, we’ll look at the top attributes agents and brokers look for when selecting carriers according to the Socotra survey.