Nationwide said it will complete an 18-month transition on July 1 to operate as a fully independent agency carrier.

With that milestone date, more than 99 percent of the company’s formerly captive agents will transition to Nationwide’s independent agency channel and continue partnering with the company.

The company first announced the transition to a fully independent model in 2018. Over the last two years, new written premiums driven by independent agents has increased 35 percent, the insurer said. While Nationwide has worked with independent agents since 1929, the company said it has more than 11,000 independent agents across the country that sell personal lines, commercial lines, agribusiness, excess and surplus, and financial services products and services.

Nationwide said that it made progress on the transition despite having to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve made tremendous progress in transforming our business to meet the needs of independent agents and set our former exclusive agents up for success within the independent agent model,” Mark Berven, president & COO, Nationwide Property and Casualty, said in prepared remarks.

In focusing on the switch to an all-independent agent system, Nationwide said it accelerated a variety of investments in both its personal and commercial lines businesses to enable the speed, ease, price stability and competitiveness that independent agents demand.

Those investments include redesigning and simplifying Nationwide’s digital operations and pricing/underwriting improvements on the personal lines side. For commercial lines, the focus is on streamlining acquisition costs, accelerating small market underwriting, expanding mid-market capabilities, optimizing servicing, enhancing claims effectiveness and modernizing technology, Berven said.

Source: Nationwide