Prioritizing technology investments to enhance the broker/agent experience and improve customer service offers insurance carriers competitive advantage, according to a new survey of U.S. agents and UK brokers.

Specifically, the report states insurers that offer a better user (UX) experience for agents and brokers and their customers, providing combined convenience and transparency with the ability “to quote, bind and deliver a policy online, will have a greater advantage over those who do not.”

Agents and brokers seek more automation and simplified workflows through their digital connection to carriers and customers, the report suggested, emphasizing speed to market of new products and investment in technology drive better agent/carrier partnerships.

Although respondents indicated commission rates are important, they are not key drivers in the agent/carrier relationship.

The new report, “Becoming the Preferred Provider: What Insurance Producers Want from Insurers, 2023,” was published earlier this year by Socotra, a next-generation core platform provider for modern insurers.

The survey, conducted by Global Survey Research, comprised responses from 100 full-time employees from insurance agents, independent agents and insurance brokers in the U.S. and UK, all of whom hold senior positions of vice president or higher.

All respondents worked with tier two to five insurance carriers with up to $5 billion in direct written premiums.

“One hundred percent of the agents and brokers surveyed said it was important to be able to quote, bind, and deliver policies online. This was remarkably consistent. Our survey respondents also prioritized paying premiums and filing claims online, suggesting these features are now necessary for carriers expecting to attract and retain the best producers,” said Dan Woods, Socotra’s founder and CEO.

Agents rate the most essential technologies as a user-friendly agent portal (54 percent); a user-friendly customer portal (50 percent); and the ability to offer digital claims processing (42 percent).

The statistics, the report noted, shed light on evolving customer expectations, highlighting the need for insurance carriers to prioritize investments in UX to meet the demands of their agents and policyholders.

“Failing to do so puts carriers at risk of falling behind their competitors and potentially losing valuable customers,” the report stated.

Carriers must provide a seamless digital experience through user-friendly portals and efficient claims processing, enhancing the overall customer experience and ensuring long-term success in the industry, the report added.

Those surveyed said that if a carrier has its own modern portal with easy to integrate APIs, it will make it easier for agents to partner with them.

Placing approximately 62 percent of all property/casualty business in the U.S. (according to the Big I’s 2022 Market Share report), and around 67 percent of all P/C business in the UK, agents and brokers remain a vital distribution channel for insurers, Socotra said in a media statement.

The report also finds that being first to market with new products and features is an important consideration for 30 percent of agents when they are deciding which carriers to work with—a figure that rises for agents that work with five or more carriers.

The report suggested that taking proactive measures to enhance both agent and customer experiences offers an opportunity for insurers to gain an edge over their competition to become agents’ and brokers’ preferred carriers.