Despite the grim outlook forecasted for U.S. agents in a 2013 report by McKinsey & Company, both captive and independent agents remain a viable segment of carrier distribution channels.

Executive Summary

Carrier Management spoke to executives from Allstate and Safeco, who offered their perspectives on the changing distribution landscape. What they see: Captive and independent agents remain viable insurance distribution channels—though they may need to focus more on advisory services and become customer advocates.

Even with the influx of direct sale insurers via online and mobile platforms, many of which offer lower premiums and advanced self-service tools, statistics suggest both captive and independent agent distribution channels are doing very well, exhibiting double-digit growth.

While carriers continue to establish direct channels, agency models reported double-digit growth in personal auto premiums last year, according to the 2017 Market Share Report issued by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. And according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, flat auto insurance sales have led carriers to increasingly rely on agents, finding that communication is critical in maintaining customer satisfaction.

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