Insurance carriers’ slow pace in adopting digital technology is hampering agents’ push to do the same, according to a new industry survey from the Insurance Digital Revolution Initiative.
The IDR initiative is an industry campaign pushing for greater adoption of digital technology organized by the Agents Council for Technology (ACT) within the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA), the Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) and the Associations & User Groups Information Exchange (AUGIE).
“Communication between carriers and agents is crucial” to promoting the adoption of digital technology, AUGIE director Cal Durland said in prepared remarks.
Durland noted a number of carriers still don’t provide digital technology to agents such as claims, eDocs and Messages download options, all of which could help independent agents become more efficient and competitive.
“AUGIE continues to encourage agents to contact their carrier partners, ask them to offer this connectivity, and explain how this not only improves their agency’s workflow and their collective clients’ experience, but also saves the carrier time and money,” Durland added.
Approximately 55 percent of agents participating in the IDR survey said carriers could do more to back their digital initiative, including the addition of more download of commercial lines and commission statements, assistance in training staff, and support for e-signature technology.
Agents also took issue with the technology carriers have developed for agencies and customers to use. According to the survey, just 4 percent of agents said carriers’ customer-facing technology is excellent. Nearly half rated the carrier technology as average.
The IDR survey also promotes the idea that the productivity benefits of digital tools such as claims download, eDocs and Messages can only be realized if most or all carriers offer them to agents.
Right now, just 47 percent of agents use claims download, and 35 percent said they rely on eDocs and Messsages. They said, however, that more carriers offering these technologies would promote a similar tech growth among agencies.
The survey was conducted electronically among agents in the United States between January and February 2018. According to the IDR, 1,970 independent agents took part.