Carrier relationships are more helpful than technology in all areas of service that agents deliver to customers, but carriers are least helpful in both relationships and technology when they’re taking care of claimants, according to the Deep Customer Connections /Insurance Journal Independent Agent survey.

When else can agents use more help?

Executive Summary

Although agents rate technology for claims servicing and for prospecting as the weakest areas of technology support they get from carriers, they're not necessarily looking for better technology, according to results a survey conducted by Deep Customer Connections and Wells Media's Insurance Journal for Carrier Management. Relationships investments matter more in these and other areas, the agents say. For a full report on the DCC/IJ survey findings, see related articles:

When they’re looking for new customers, the survey reveals.

In assessing carriers’ performance in helping them with prospecting and lead-generation activities, agents gave carrier technology an average rating of 5.3 out of a possible high score of 7 points. Among four activities DCC/IJ asked about—prospecting, writing policies, servicing policies and supporting policyholders with claims—the 5.3 score for technology was the second lowest. Only the overall technology score for claims service was lower, at 5.0.

Agents generally said their relationships with carrier personnel are more helpful than carrier technology as they scope out new customers, with nearly 500 respondents giving carrier relationships an average score of 5.7 for this activity. Better scores for relationships than technology scores in the prospecting area were a consistent theme for all respondent categories—young and old, CSR and principal, and across lines of business and agency sizes. Agency principals find carrier technology in this area especially disappointing, giving it an average score of 5.1.

One noteworthy trend in helpfulness scores for prospecting activities relates to agency size: As agencies get larger, the gap between technology and relationship helpfulness scores widens. The 65 respondents from agencies with 200 or more employees scored technology helpfulness for prospecting a 5.2 out of 7, while the helpfulness of carrier relationships for this presale activity category scored 6.2—a 1.0 point difference.

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