Independent P&C Producer Survey: Technology, Services, and Other Drivers of Carrier Choice: Celent

Boston, MA, USA, February 3, 2005 — Repeating many of the themes they voiced a year ago, independent property/casualty producers in a new Celent survey stressed technology, underwriting relationships, field service, and speed as critical drivers of carrier choice.

“Commoditization is a big factor for many lines of business,” says senior analyst Craig Weber, author of the report. “As it becomes harder to differentiate on product and price, carriers will have to look at speed and service as their ticket to generating producer loyalty.”

Weber notes that last year�s three top drivers were repeated this year (see table below), while a redefined category of “field service” was also highly ranked. “We believe that technology is consistently recognized as such a strong factor because it enables all the other factors,” Weber says. “Producers often talk about their favorite carriers in terms of the way they handle specific, everyday tasks, like generating quotes and checking commissions.”

Table 1: Reasons For Favorite Carrier Status Q: Which is your favorite carrier, and why?
Rank Topic Comment Example 2004 Percentage 2003 Percentage
1 Technology It’s easy to generate quotes online. 27% 24%
2 Underwriting relationship I can really work well with my underwriter at Carrier X. 18% 14%
3 Field service They’re easy to reach, and they do what they say they will do. 14% N/A
4 Speed They usually turn policies around in a hurry. 11% 14%
5 Product Carrier X offers the coverages that my client need. 9% 15%
6 Philosophy They know what business they are in and don’t try to be all things to all people. 8% 9%

Source: Celent 2004 Producer Survey

Table 1: Reasons For Favorite Carrier Status Q: Which is your favorite carrier, and why?
Rank Topic Comment Example 2004 Percentage 2003 Percentage
7 Price They might not win on price, but they’re always in the ballpark. 7% 9%
8 Policyholder service They’re great with claims. 3% 7%
9 Compensation They pay great commissions. 3% 5%
10 Brand strength It’s easy to sell that AAA rating. 1% 2%

Source: Celent 2004 Producer Survey

The report, based on a survey administered to independent producers in November 2004, also provides detailed insights on a variety of specific technology and service issues. Key findings discussed include:

  • How “carrier concentration” (i.e., producer willingness to place business with few carriers) varies by lines of business.

  • The impact of new business cycle time on placement rates.

  • How “old-school” tools like telephone and fax are still used by most producers to perform everyday tasks.

  • How producers are willing to use a mix of proprietary and non-proprietary tools to data-enter applications.

  • How producers rank typical distribution technology initiatives, such as agency management system upload capability, proprietary agent portals, and online producer tools.

This 49-page report contains 17 figures and 11 tables. A table of contents is available online.

Contact info@celent.com for more information about the report.

About Celent

Celent’s service offering falls into two categories, consulting and research, each of which is dedicated to technology in the financial services industry. We help banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies use IT to enter new markets in the shortest possible timeframes. All of our services are geared towards facilitating better informed, faster decision making. For more information visit www.celent.com.