Nort Salz, CEO of Deep Customer Connections, has been surveying agents on behalf of individual P/C insurance carrier clients for years. Recently, as he tallied up responses from a broader survey—of nearly 500 agents who are readers of Insurance Journal—he expressed some frustration with the findings.

“Do carriers not really hear and understand?” he asked rhetorically as he reviewed 311 write-in comments to a survey seeking agents’ views of their relationships with carrier personnel and 307 comments about the usefulness of carrier technology.

Executive Summary

Carrier-agency relationships matter more than technology to agents, according to a survey conducted by Deep Customer Connections and Wells Media's Insurance Journal for Carrier Management. This article highlights some of the write-in comments from agents who were asked to score the helpfulness of carrier technology and relationships in four aspects of their day-to-day activities. For a full report on the DCC/IJ survey findings, see related articles:

“The comments—both about relationship and technology—could have come from any of our surveys. It appears that agents have the same messages for carriers regardless of what is asked,” he said.

“Are the messages not clear to carriers? Is there something that blocks them from ‘getting it?’ Are there competing needs and issues that deafen them to agents’ messages?”

(Editor’s Note: This article focuses on the comment section of a survey conducted by DCC on behalf of Carrier Management. For full survey results, click on the links to related articles in the Executive Summary above.)

Salz summed up the agents’ concerns about carrier relationships with three underlying themes: ineffective direct contact, lack of alignment and competency issues (lack of people skills and sales skills).

A full 174 comments expressed a desire for better direct contact between carrier and agent, with commenters complaining about slow response times from carriers—or no response at all. “Hard to establish close working relationships since too many individuals hide behind email,” one agent said in a representative comment in this category. “Voicemail, voicemail, voicemail, with many times calls not returned,” another said, reporting that same situation with emails.

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