Agents Need Insurers’ Support to Deal with Customer Expectations for Real-Time Service

Novarica survey of 150 agents highlights surprising disruptor: Email

Toronto, ON (Jan. 27, 2016) – While mobile and social media get all the buzz, the biggest disruptor in insurance distribution and service in the past few years may be email, according to a new survey of 150 agents published by research and advisory firm Novarica.

“Email has drastically increased the demand from customers for immediate responses,” commented one agent participant in the study.

The report – Agent/Broker Survey: What Agents Really Want, available for purchase online – covers topics ranging from technology preferences to how agents attract and serve new clients, to what they like and don’t like about the service they get from their top carriers.

Agents' oOpinions: importance of tools

In addition to citing the disruptive influence of email, other key findings of the report include:

  • Portals are critical; mobile less so. Agents reported heavy use of agent portals, ranking them as even more important for conducting business than agency management systems. Mobile tools, on the other hand, are not ranked as highly important-for now.
  • After product, agents care most about relationships and ease of doing business. These categories were mentioned most frequently as carrier differentiators from an agent’s perspective-both for better and for worse.
  • Agents hate product limitations, bad service, poor tools, complexity, and unexpected change. These topics came up again and again as the worst thing about carriers.

“Insurance agents are facing a world of changed customer expectations, and they need support from their carriers to keep up,” said Martina Conlon, Senior Vice President of Research and Consulting at Novarica and lead author of the report. “While lots of discussions focuses on social and mobile, agents still need better support for basic functions: appetite indication, application submission, and service. Carriers need to understand the customer pressures their agents are facing, and respond with high-performance, easy to use systems. At the same time, they need to minimize complexity and disruptive change for their agents.”

About the Report

Agents and brokers continue to play a key role in the distribution and servicing of insurance products. As carriers have seen shifts in customers’ needs and expectations over the past few years, many agents and brokers have been in a position to closely observe and reflect on these changes—a perspective shaped by both personal consumer interactions and broader community engagement.

At the same time, changing demographics and advances in technology have brought a new set of expectations and challenges to the agent-carrier relationship as well. This report discusses agents’ and brokers’ relationships with their customers, their carriers, and their industry as a whole.

This report is based on a survey of 150 agents and brokers from 43 US states about their processes, pain points and opinions of carriers.

About Novarica

Novarica helps more than 80 insurers make better decisions about technology projects and strategy through retained advisory services, published research, and strategy consulting. Its clients include more than 80 property/casualty and life/annuity insurers. Its knowledge base covers trends, benchmarks, best practices, case studies, and vendor solutions. Leveraging the expertise of its senior team and of nearly 400 CIO Research Council members, Novarica provides clients with the ability to make faster, better, more informed decisions. Its consulting services focus on vendor selection, custom benchmarking, project checkpoints, and IT strategy.

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SOURCE: Novarica